Freeman said that this sweetened, vinegar-based beverage is an acquired taste, but added: “We’re predicting this to be the next kombucha.”
Under-the-radar Asian cuisines
Apart from Filipino cuisine, Freeman expects more modern takes on Southeast Asian cuisine and pan-Asian offerings, as well as Korean-influenced food. Pictured is Freshii’s Kimchii Bowl of brown rice, kimchi, edamame, carrots, purple cabbage, mushrooms, hard-boiled egg, sesame seeds, nori, teriyaki sauce and Sriracha sauce.
New American cuisine
Influences from all over the world affect American cuisine, and we’ll see those influences incorporated into traditional American dishes. “It starts with the basis of what American food is, and then blends out into flavors [from elsewhere],” he said. Pictured is Houlihan’s Korean chicken with gochujang sauce, charred pineapple brown rice, garlic green beans and pineapple relish.
Up-and-coming food city: Kansas City
Although Kansas City often flies under the radar of national food media, Freeman said the city is a hotbed of culinary activity. Although trends used to go invariably from the coasts inward, “Now what we’re seeing is an interesting concept of some of the trends starting in the middle of the country and going out,” he said.
Updates on ice cream
The latest ice cream varieties include flavors such as matcha soft serve, chef-crafted varieties, and new shapes, such as Thai rolled ice cream that is shaped on ice-cold “anti griddles.” Pictured is Coolhaus’ Reuben ice cream sandwich, which combines a marbled rye cookie and pastrami ice cream, and was introduced as a limited-time offer last year.
Jeffrey K. Morris
The cuisine of the Philippines is on many trend lists for 2017, and Andrew Freeman & Co. is no exception. Freeman said it’s a trend that’s overdue, considering that Filipinos make up the second-largest Asian population in the United States. Purple Patch in Washington, D.C., is ahead of the curve, offering Filipino-accented dishes such as fried red snapper with sweet red and green pepper, ginger soy sauce and jasmine rice.
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Beef tartare and tuna tartare are widespread, but Freeman noted new takes on diced, raw food, such as the bison tartare at Spoon & Stable in Minneapolis and beet tartare at The Oval Room in Washington, D.C.
Vegetables continue to take root
“The one vegetarian option on your menu … that’s not going to go anymore,” Freeman said. He noted many vegetable-forward entrées and new meatless proteins such as the Impossible Burger, which is made from grain but resembles meat, and is available at Nishi in New York City.
Modern takes on ethnic cuisine
Every city and many suburbs have mom-and-pop restaurants serving the foods of cultures outside the American mainstream. But the cuisines of India, Korea, the Middle East and elsewhere are increasingly getting modern treatments at places like the Indian restaurant Babu Ji in New York City, the Middle Eastern restaurant Mamnoon in Seattle or, pictured, Imperial Lamian, serving Chinese food in Chicago.
“Beer in general has increased in popularity every single year,” Freeman said, and as consumers seek new tastes, this food-friendly category is ripe for exploration.
Creative takes on coffee
Expect more nitro coffee, lattes served on draft and innovations such as coffee cocktails, almond milk lattes and even coffee lemonades, Freeman said. Pictured is a nitro cold brew at Vitality Bowls.
Ingredient of the year: Cannabis
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Freeman said he was going out on a limb with this one, but with California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada joining Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Washington, D.C., in legalizing marijuana, he expected to see it finding its way onto menus or infused in cocktails. Restaurants are currently prohibited from selling marijuana, even in jurisdictions where its possession is legal.
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Rosé’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, and Freeman said he expects that trend to continue. “This is no longer a spring and summer offering. It’s being offered year-round,” he said.
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“We’re talking very good wine,” now available in cans Freeman said. While wine in kegs is already becoming commonplace, wine cans are recyclable and have been engineered so the metal doesn’t affect the wine’s taste. Pictured, director Sofia Coppola shows off a can of ‘Sofia Mini,’ the new sparkling white wine from her father’s vineyard.
With the growing popularity of Asian cuisines, Freeman said we’ll see more sake on the menu. Pictured is Dassai sake being poured into a wineglass, illustrating that sake isn’t just for Japanese food anymore.
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Freeman called natural wines the “wine of the year” for 2017, noting that they appeal to people who are looking for funkier flavors, as well as health-conscious ones looking to avoid additives.
Food city of the year: Los Angeles
Wonho Lee Frank
Freeman noted that the James Beard Foundation named Suzanne Goin, chef-owner of Lucques in Los Angeles, Outstanding Chef of the Year in 2016. Additionally, notable chefs such as Curtis Stone are opening new restaurants in the city, helping to boost its profile and making it the city to watch in 2017. The city is also a hotbed for an array of cuisines, including on-trend Filipino food.
Expect to see grand caviar presentations, like this one from Tru restaurant in Chicago, as well as other creative caviar applications, such as a garnish to devilled eggs and caviar-and-drink pairings. “The standard seafood plateau might have caviar now,” Freeman said.
Dairy-free cheese alternatives and nut milks in coffee and desserts are on the rise, Freeman said, and we can expect to see more of them in 2017. Pictured is Starbucks’ Iced Coconut Milk Mocha Macchiato, introduced as a limited-time offer this summer.
Jack in the Box
Andrew Freeman & Co. called the breakfast sandwich the dish of the year for 2017. “In addition to restaurants that are known for breakfast, we’re seeing breakfast sandwiches pop up as all-day sandwiches,” Freeman said. Jack in the Box has long offered breakfast all day, and it recently upped its game with new “Brunchfast” items, including a bacon-and-egg chicken sandwich on a toasted English muffin.
While also not new, Freeman said in-house fermentation of vegetables and hot sauce will pick up speed, and fermented drinks such as kombucha will spread.
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“We’re seeing a lot more flighting of wines,” Freeman said. He noted that flights are ideal for customers who fear commitment, and are also a good way for operators to showcase a variety of different wines.
Reinventing old cocktail recipes
Old Fountain Tavern
Martinis with house-pickled vegetables and other modern approaches to the classics are a trend to expect in 2017, Freeman said. Pictured is the Spicy Bear & Raspberry Mojito from Old Fountain Tavern in Dacula, Ga.
In an annual trend forecast, Andrew Freeman & Co. predicts a robust expansion of all Asian cuisines, especially Filipino. Plus, expect new takes on coffee and ice cream, a proliferation of dairy substitutes, more vegetables, caviar and fermentation. Take a look at all the food and beverage trends the San Francisco-based hospitality consulting firm predicts for 2017.
While grain bowls are not new, Freeman said he expects to see more of them. Pictured is the Warm Hatch Chile Grain Bowl at Chopt.
The cocktail consultant
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Chefs and mixologists have long been draws at restaurants and bars, but now operators are using big-name consultants with good followings as draws to their establishments.