Food Forecast: Trendy Eats in 2011

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A new year often brings new things—a new workout routine, new career aspirations, a new home, you name it.

One of the best things about new beginnings is a new set of trends, especially food trends. While a forecast of what will be attention-grabbing, cult-inducing and downright delicious in the coming year is naturally based on assumptions, it's still fun to day dream about a year of eating and dining adventures to come.

Epicurious magazine put out a list of their predictions titled "Top Ten Food Trends for 2011," and we're happy to report that a few of them are sustainable in nature. Sweet potatoes, macarons and urban wineries are also slated to have a big year.

See a couple of our favorite predictions after the jump.

Meatless Mondays & Tofu Thursdays

While it's hip to go whole hog, with butchers gaining star power and roasts as the focus of many a dinner party, there is a concurrent trend of eating less meat. As we recently pointed out in Back to the Future: 10 Food Trends to Watch Over the Next Decade, the proportion of people eating no meat or less meat is growing, and the nonprofit Meatless Monday initiative no doubt has been one motivator. Meatless Monday's goal is to encourage U.S. consumers to cut their meat consumption by 15 percent for the betterment of our health and the planet. School districts from Baltimore to New Haven, Santa Barbara to Syracuse, have embraced the cause, as have more than 20 public health organizations, not to mention prominent chefs such as Marcus Samuelsson. We're forecasting that eating meat-free will be on the calendar more than once a week.

Foraging

While foraging may be just a fancy term for the way humans have sourced food since time immemorial, top chefs are going beyond the farmer's market and heading to quiet pastures or untrammeled forests in search of wild greens, nuts, berries, and even bark. As The New York Times recently reported, this longtime trend exploded when it was revealed that 2010's It chef, René Redzepi of Noma in Copenhagen, is a big forager. New York's David Chang likes to make salad from lily pad shoots, while Tim Wiechmann of T.W. Food in Cambridge, Massachusetts, uses wild violets in his Frozen Violet Flower Meringue with Candied Orange and Almonds. The foraging trend will go from restaurant to kitchen table in the coming year, as foodies take trowel in hand for some "wild crafting," as it's called. Already there's the crowd-sourced Philadelphia Food Harvest Map, dotted with the locations of wineberry bushes, plum and fig trees, and other worthwhile wild things.