Food Trends 2012: Custom French Fries and Grilled Cheese Infused Vodka

Company predicts that custom french fry bars will be popular in 2012. Getty Images

Wondering what new foods you can expect to eat in the new year?  According to the trend report compiled by consulting firm Andrew Freeman and Company, you can look for custom french fry bars and grilled-cheese-infused vodka.  During eight months of research from a variety of restaurant and hotel sources, they found that food in 2012 will be focused around American comfort food classics with a twist.  Here are a few of the crazy food trends we can expect to taste.

Whether you eat carbs or not, 2012 will be the year of the potato.  Look out for make-your-own mashed potatoes with mix-ins and custom-cut potato chips with an assortment of dips to order.

Wondering what to order with your french fries?  The grilled cheese sandwich is going to replace the hamburger on restaurant menus.  Chefs are working on creating menus devoted to the sandwich and enhancing it with their own signature twists.

Do you think your lychee martini is out of the ordinary?  Try the Sourdough Grilled Cheese Sandwich Infused Vodka martini served at Lafitte, in San Francisco.  Watch as your dinner entree becomes a new signature cocktail.

As Christmas trees pop up in homes across the country, so will pine tree flavors on menus.  Flavors like douglas fir and eucalyptus will be used in everything from sauces to spice rubs.

Do you need to eat more vegetables in the new year?  Try the offerings from two New York City restaurants: Max and Mina’s grass and horseradish ice cream or Del Posto’s goat cheese with celery and fig agrodolce.  The typically sweet pastries we’re accustomed to will take a savory turn in 2012.

Here are some other food trends to look out for:

  • Breakfast takes over dinner:  Waffle sandwiches and hollandaise sauce aren’t just your average diner food.  Breakfast invades dinner menus everywhere in the new year.
  • Noodles take shape:  Watch as chefs hand-pull noodles right before your eyes while you dine.  This ancient art will make a big comeback.
  • Not-so-fancy formal food:  Casual dining will become the norm as waiter service becomes limited and celebrity-chef-run fast food joints pop up everywhere.
  • Everyone wants to be on the Food Network:  Food careers are hot; culinary schools and hobby classes are booked.
  • Red hot peppers:  Aleppo what?  Ghost Pepper who?  These specialty peppers will make their way onto menus across the U.S.
  • Dieters rejoice:  Despite all these fat-laden yummy choices,  chefs will be responding to the need for waistline friendly foods.  Expect to see whole grains like quinoa and gluten free menu options.

Are you looking forward to trying these foods?  What are some of your favorites?