Then And Now Foods

Looking back on a year of consumption

There is an exhilarating appeal to documenting time passed.

In that spirit, we've looked back to better understand where we're headed. And if the past is any indication, the coming year will be the most delicious yet.

• Then: Oysters | Now: Squid

The frenzy with oysters has continued apace, and the bivalves have found their way into everything from beer to belts. But squid is threatening to mount a coup. Plan to see even more menus that feature tubes and tentacles–seared, stuffed and, of course, gently fried.

• Then: Boutique wines | Now: Wine (e-)boutiques

Having fallen in love with esoteric bottlings and experimentations (see here, here and here), we're finding new ways to maintain the relationship. New online wine stores devoted to a specific niche (such as Champagne) have made shopping on the web more pleasant, and restaurant wine clubs such as this one ensure that we can bring our favorite wine-list picks home.

• Then: Condiments | Now: Sauce

Now that the accoutrements for your burger (ketchup, mustard) have received a bespoke makeovers, sauces and stocks are next in line. A small-batch fish sauce called Red Boat is taking restaurant kitchens by storm, and Brooklyn-made Master Stock emulates the ancient Chinese tradition of reusing stock.

• Then: Italian | Now: Southeast Asian

We haven't had any problems with wading through red sauce, and the collective zeal for lasagna and its brethren is still intact (more on this in our January Monthly Edition). But another corner of the world is demanding the attention of our taste buds. The flavors of Southeast Asia are dominating new restaurant openings in L.A., SF and, next year, NYC.