As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, bloggers, and readers. So far, we've covered: Best Standbys of 2011, Favorite Newcomers, Best Dining Neighborhoods, One Word Describing the Year, Biggest Dining Surprises, Best Meals of the Year and Restaurant Breakups.
Original photo: [ralph and jenny/flickr]
Dining world headline predictions for 2012?
Mai Pham, Examiner.com, Houston Fine Dining: Fancy sushi finally hits Houston. Year of the young rising star chef.
Robb Walsh, former food critic, Houston Press, co-owner, El Real Tex-Mex: Bored of NYC food scene, Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio move to Houston and open Padma & Tom's Masala Pizza on Hillcroft.
Bobby Heugel, co-owner Anvil Bar & Refuge and others: The word "culture" is finally being used more in descriptions of food. It's important and makes people realize how food relates to community identity.
Teresa Byrne-Dodge, editor/publisher of My Table Magazine: "City of Houston Streamlines Restaurant Permitting Process: Thousands Open Restaurants in Their Homes."
Michael Fulmer, Houston food guy, server, Vic & Anthony's: Another newspaper lets its food critic go.
Katharine Shilcutt, Houston Press food critic: Bobby Heugel for president.
Chris Shepherd, chef/owner, Underbelly: Amazing amount of new talent and personalities in Houston.
Nishta Mehra, Blue Jean Gourmet: More beer than wine. A cocktail backlash? And a cupcake backlash, too--complex, not overly sweet desserts instead. I think it may be the year of rice pudding. And South American food. And lots of goat meat (which I'm saying selfishly 'cause that would be awesome).
Ruthie Miller, freelance food writer: As always, I predict this will be the year of the pudding. (As always, it won't be.)
Greg Morago, Houston Chronicle food editor: Southern and Texas foods rule. Sure, we’re already eating them, but look for a greater appreciation and understanding across the board of the stuff we love: comfort foods, farm fresh vegetables, great pig and beef, outstanding seafood, homemade breads and dairy products, old fashioned desserts from hand-me-down recipes, local beers and home-grown spirits. And yes, bring on the best of the barbecue and Tex-Mex. We can’t get enough and now the rest of the country knows why.
Rebecca Masson, Fluff Bake Bar, Top Chef Just Desserts cheftestapant: Less big restaurants, more smaller, intimate dining experiences with chefs running the whole show.
Hannah Siegel-Gardner, freelance food writer: Hopefully! Food is going to turn into Willy Wonka style pills. If not, little or tiny food is forever gone from my life.
Alvin Schultz, MasterChef contestant, freelance writer: Houston’s dining scene explodes with Underbelly, Uchi, Oxheart, Conat, Triniti, all in Q1 of 2012. Bobby Heugel elected Mayor of Houston. (Or President of USA). Hipsters request to change OKRA’s twitter handle to "OKRABaked."
Nikki Metzgar, Eater Houston: Houston finally stops getting the snub and Austin and Dallas are deservedly humbled?
Amber Ambrose, editor, Eater Houston: Bobby F***ing Heugel Enters the WWE, Puts the Smackdown on City's Bureaucracy. Cats Now Allowed on Restaurant Patios; Cats on Houston Restaurant Patios Memes Commence. Baristas, the New Mixologists. Tweezers: They're Not Just For Eyebrows and Splinters. Importance of "Char" on Pizza Crust and Other Typical Foodie Discussions That Make Non-Foodies Cringe.
Have your own ideas of 2012's headlines? Leave them in the comments.