2011 Prediction Check: Fewer Food Trucks and Boutique Burgers, More Organic

Categories: The Critic
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As I dust off my trusty Ouija board in preparation for the Miami dining predictions of 2012, it seems only fair to look back on how I fared on my prognostications of one year ago. On quick glance, it might appear I did rather poorly. Upon deeper reflection, it still might seem as though I should get out of the prediction biz. Like immediately. But once you comb through the list a dozen or so times, as I have, and do so with a modicum of credulity, I think you'll agree that there are pearls of prescience nestled in the otherwise oysterish list. So let's take them one by one:

There will be fewer food trucks one year from now than there are today.
To quote the esteemed Governor of Texas: "Oops."

A major Miami food blog will go kablooey, and a couple of smaller ones will disappear as well.
Not sure if you noticed, but Paula Niño moved to Texas and her last post on Mango & Lime was July 29. So I nailed this one pretty good -- anyway, let's move on.

Three words: Fresh chick peas.
This may appear to be an incorrect prediction, but technically I never said that chick peas would gain in popularity; I was merely noting that "fresh chick peas" is three words. We'll just cancel this one out.

Big name chefs will continue their exodus from high-end hotels. Haute hotel restaurants will have a bad year in general (with a few exceptions).
OK, seriously now: Gorenstein left BLT Steak at the Betsy. Michael Psilakis left Eos in the Viceroy, Ferraro is no longer at Wish at The Hotel, DeLucie left the Royal at the Raleigh, Suley departed from Gotham Steak at the Fontainebleau, Pagano left STK in the Gansevoort, Philippe Chow moved from the Gansevoort altogether, Solea at the W South Beach closed, Acqua at the Four Seasons closed, as did Ago at the Shore Club and Emeril's at Loews Hotel. So there.

Quinoa will go another year without catching on in any mainstream sort of way.
Don't stop me now, I'm on a roll.

Organic, farm-to-fork sorts of eateries will continue to do well; the public will start making distinctions between the real deal and those peddling phony organic and fake farm-to-fork.
The first part is true, in that eateries serving local, organic, generally well-sourced food did well. I overestimated the public in the second part though.

Green, green, and more green. Eco-friendly plate ware, packaging...and vegetables will be shown more respect in restaurants, both as main courses and side plates.
This time I got the first part wrong, the second part right. So as I got each of these half-right, put them together and you've got an accurate glimpse into the future! (please hold your applause until I'm finished).

Bacon will continue to dominate. Pork belly will fade as a fad, but is now part of our national menu. Specialized, Wagyu-like breeds will be the next pork stars. Mangalitsa is already becoming popular. The Meishan pig from China is in the wings.
Did bacon dominate? That's debatable, though it sure remains popular. Pork belly did indeed fade as a fad. As for that Meishan pig: It is still in the wings, and might very well remain there until the day pigs can fly. It's too complicated to figure where I was right and wrong on this one, so let's keep going.

Boutique burger joints are so 2009. The best will remain. Others will not.
This was obviously a misprint; it should have read "Boutique burger joints are so 2011."

Home canning is being touted as a national trend for 2011, but it isn't going to happen here. Instead, making ice creams and sorbets at home will take off in popularity. Then again, maybe I'm just saying this because I just bought an ice cream machine.
This prediction turned out to be eerily on target. Canning did not happen here, and home made ice creams and sorbets have become extremely popular in our household.

Pickled vegetables are already showing up on local restaurant plates. This is a national trend that will take hold here. Expect things besides veggies to be pickled.
Pubbelly, Tudor House, Yardbird ... pickled vegetables have appeared on a wide array of local menus in the past year.

Pies are sweeping the nation, and insane sweet-toothers are abandoning cupcakes for their slice. Should reach Miami sometime in 2012.
So the jury is still out on this one.

Miami chefs will band together to produce cooperative late-night dinners in restaurants, after closing hours. And expect to see more underground, backyard, or Paradise Farms-like dinners helmed by chefs yearning for some shackle-free cooking.
I've got two words: Phuc Yea! Jeffrey Brana and wife Anna host Underground Dining dinners, and Cobaya and Paradise Farms dinners continue...but otherwise not as much movement as one would hope.

The value-driven Asian fad isn't over quite yet. Look for an all-Thai or all-Korean version next -- and for a big, corporate-driven noodle house.
Hey look, you think making predictions that actually come true is easy? Plus, the Asian fad did still have legs in 2011.

Somebody is going to open up a great donut shop this year. And no, that's not just wishful thinking.
As it turned out, it was wishful thinking. So sue me!

All right. You can applaud now.

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3 comments
Outsidethebox
Outsidethebox

Please will someone open a great homemade donut shop. I miss Seattle's Top Pot which have the most amazing cake donuts with names like Pink Feather Boa or Chocolate Sand. YUM!

Frodnesor
Frodnesor

Actually a better record than you're giving yourself credit for. But you may have overstated the big-name chef exodus from hotel restaurants thing. Yes, Gorenstein left BLT Steak, but he's going to the Raleigh. Speaking of which, yes, Delucie left the Raleigh, but it's being taken over by Gorenstein and Michael Schwartz. Yes, Solea closed, but The Dutch - with Andrew Carmellini - opened in its place. Yes, Acqua at the Four Seasons closed (with big name chef _____?), but Edge opened there. Yes, Pagano left STK, but other than appearing on a reality TV show, is he a "big name chef"? Plus we added Tudor House (Zakarian), DB Bistro (Boulud) (OK, a late 2010 opening, but still)...

You were absolutely right about quinoa.

Jim Heins
Jim Heins

Great job Lee. Keep up the great work and we look forward to reading your work in 2012! Jim Heins Latin Burger and Taco. 

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