Dining forecast offers taste of what's ahead

— -- Umm, boy! Less foie gras and microgreens await diners on restaurant menus in 2009 — their places to be taken by turkey legs, meatloaf, gussied-up mashed potatoes, ethnically-flavored fried chicken (think Korean) and peculiar pig parts.

That's the dish from restaurant consulting firm Joseph Baum & Michael Whiteman Co., which has just released its 2009 trends forecast. We'll also see more bistro-scale eateries and fewer "absentee star chefs"; fewer expensive fixed-price menus and more à la carte; and, best of all, friendlier service and easier-to-get reservations.

Among next year's buzzwords and ingredients to keep an ear and nose out for: maple syrup, pickled vegetables, ultra-slow-cooked food, chickpeas, Nutella and Basque, Catalonian and Andean cuisines. —