The champagne is empty, the confetti has been swept and restaurant menu trends continue to emerge for the New Year.
Restaurant.com, a dining deals site, has released its predictions for 2014, noting a return to simpler menu items and healthier, fresher ingredients, according to a news release.
Restaurant.com's list was compiled by Christopher Krohn, president and CMO. They include:
Eggs: Diners will be seeing and eating a lot more eggs at restaurants in 2014, according to Krohn. Chefs are already starting to top menu staples, such as burgers and pizzas, with eggs. Eggs are versatile, nutritious and can be worked into lots of dishes, such as salads and stir-fries. The "breakfast for dinner" trend and increasing popularity of regional specialties such as Korean Bibimbop and Mexican Heuvos Rancheros will continue to accelerate this trend as well.
Farm to Fork: In 2014, the farm-to-table trend will grow, driven by diners' growing eco-awareness and their desire for the wholesome simplicity of homestyle cooking and minimally-processed foods, Restaurant.com predicts. Consequently, restaurants are locally sourcing fresh produce and natural ingredients. Examples include fresh-baked biscuits, locally produced cheeses, egg dishes, honey-sweetened desserts, and beef alternatives such as rabbit, lamb, and dark-meat poultry.
Tea: Made popular by Asian restaurants, green tea is an increasingly popular beverage and ingredient choice used in restaurants across the U.S. Krohn predicts that items like green tea cupcakes, sorbets and macaroons will soon be popping up in local bakeries. Ground teas like matcha and chai will be used as dry rubs and marinades for beef, chicken or veggies. Tea-smoked salmon and pork will both make headway in the New Year, and English-style tea-time gatherings at local cafes will also be big.
Bread: Americans are re-thinking their relationship with bread, Krohn says, and its in our diets is changing rapidly even as the choices available to diners continues to increase. As a result, many restaurants have begun baking their own artisan breads in house, livening up sandwiches and burgers with special loaves, from ciabatta, to challah, to pretzel. With options like brisket on brioche, pesto-drizzled croutons, and Panini on sundried tomato focaccia, American menus will continue to feature bread in various styles in 2014.
Super foods: You've probably heard the buzz about kale, but other super foods will also continue to emerge, such as pomegranate, quinoa and flax seeds. Some traditional menu items are also packed with "super food-qualifying" nutrients, such as sweet potatoes, salmon, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, beets and shrimp. Chefs everywhere are taking notes on three super food types in particular : Power-packed veggie-based phytonutrients (found in squash, arugula, heirloom tomatoes, kale, sweet potatoes and broccoli); disease-fighting antioxidants (pomegranates, beets, tea, cinnamon, chocolate and cauliflower); and healthy Omega-3s (salmon, shrimp, quinoa and nuts).
Read more about menu trends.