Here are a few predictions for 2010:
1. Dinosaurs Will Close. Many big name restaurants in major cities will close their doors following the sad example of Chanterelle (NYC). The economy simply cannot support the plethora of high-end places and my deep-pocketed friends tell me it’s no longer fashionable to drop big bucks routinely. Want to know who is closing first? Here’s a clue: Go to Open Table and check out which restaurants are offering 1000 points for customers who dine on Friday and Saturday nights. www.opentable.com
2. Stock Will Rise @ Walmart, Costco, and Other Food Warehouses. People are going to stock up on well-priced food and eschew the upscale and artisanal, local or otherwise, as, respectively, its value is limited and the dollar has little buying power for European goods.
3. Food Trucks. No rent, low utility bills. The whole country is gonna look like a Hobo camp.
4. Pizza. This is the first name in Proletarian food. Being from N.J., I enjoyed slices from the time I could walk. No, it was before, in my bottle, liquified. Anyhow, it’s good and it’s cheap. We’re not talking about “gourmet” pizza (see Prediction #1)–”Gourmet” pizza? Except for Wolfgang Puck and Lydia Shire, geniuses with baked dough, the term is like “military intelligence.” I mean the real thing: Lombardi’s, Grimaldi’s, the Original Ray’s, Santarpio’s, Pepe’s, Sally’s, The Modern, and Galleria Umberto, to name a few. How you doin’?
5. Unemployed Cooks Will Start A New Cultural Movement. We’re going to see and hear more great garage bands and post-Hip Hop, Hip Hop. Mom, send money, I’m this close to signing a contract.
6. Global Corner Joints. Diners, pubs, izakaya, Stube, brasserie. Good, reasonably priced food and lots of beer. In NYC, DBGB is a good example. In Boston, we have Post 390. Food will be increasingly simple and fun.
7. Ingredient of the Year. Pasta. No doubt about it. A one pound box, a can of tomatoes, olive oil, an onion, a celery stalk, and a carrot ($5, total), and you can feed a family of four. You know how Italians look back at Rome with pride and regret? Welcome to America in the 21st century.
8. Speaking of China. We’re going to hear more about dicey food products coming from China. The food safety standards there are kinda quirky. Guy does what he wants, gets caught, and is executed by the state. Why do we still import food from China? Because without their loans to our banks, it’s over. They hold the chits.
9. Recipes. At last count, there were a bazillion recipes on the web, in cookbooks, on T.V., on the radio, and in newspapers. 2010 will see fewer recipes. Take two slices of bread, insert ham, apply mustard, look through Want Ads. That should get you through the year.
10. The Popcorn Ploy. More people will try to sneak candy, cans of soda, bottles of water, and popcorn from home into movie theaters to avoid high prices at concession stands. Ushers, be on the lookout!