The New Year has hurried in, chased, no doubt, by the "in" things waiting their turn to show their stuff.
Here is my annual list of New Year culinary ins and outs more for your amusement than not. As you can see ritz and glitz is out; simple, basic, modest, low-key, healthful, unpretentious, social-conscious, sound and brave are in. But not without a few, uh . . . self-indulgences? Pretty please?
Classical Continental cuisine.
Dark restaurants with cozy booths.
Comfort food, like a Pink's chili dog.
Cafe Mambo for breakfast.
Small, modest, reasonably priced signature
restaurants like Patrick Healy's Champagne.
Musicale and dessert parties.
No more "froo-froo" dining at home.
Fat Burger remedy for a 2 a.m. hangover.
Great neighborhood restaurants like Authentic Cafe
More Latin restaurants.
French bistros, even more than Four Oaks and Le Chardonnay.
The three-compartment plate.
Your own diet-supervisor (a registered dietitian).
Couscous, bulgur, millet and all those healthy grains.
KP at local homeless facilities.
Girlie party tea mistresses.
Panino (Italian sandwich).
Finding a chef for your parties.
The salads at Authentic Cafe.
McDonald's French fries without guilt.
Fried food the way Michel Richard does them at Citrus.
Chasen's for yours, his or her birthday.
Taking your boss to an oldie but goody, like Scandia (the atmosphere is fine, the service is terrific, the food is better and the price is right).
A good cigar on a patio overlooking Hollywood or anywhere else.
The grilled giant porcini at Cucina.
Entertaining out-of-towners at Verdi's.
A gift of a Twentieth Century pear from Japan.
A subscription to Palate Pleasers of Japan.
Your own automatic Oriental rice maker.
Caesar salad made with baby Romaine.
Learning how to really cook.
Standard-size wine glasses
Smaller portions of everything.
A nostalgic revisit to nouvelle cuisine at L'Ermitage once a year.
Chicken chop suey.
Great take-outs, deli and otherwise.
A gift of pressed caviar--if you can find it.
An afternoon break with capuccino and a great dessert.
Jazz with your chili at Linda's.
Orzo with lamb or veal.
Lamb rack basted with grenadine.
Branzino (the Italian waters fish).
A butler if you can afford one.
Better mall cuisine.
More surgical glove food-handling.
Hand-chopped beef liver for the cat.
Chocolate chip cookies.
Smoking in the supermarket and public toilets.
Silly kitchen gadgets.
Stainless steel kitchens.
Yuppie cooking classes.
Glitzy table settings.
Formal sit-down dinners.
Michael Graves teapots.
Oversized wine goblets, unless used for dessert.
Anything blue corn.
Anything Southwest unless it's St. Estephe's.
Impressing with tres expensive wines.
Anything '50s, including diners, unless the real McCoy.
Cajun (a reminder in case you missed it last year).
Restaurant management sitting at the table with customers.
More Thai restaurants.
Chef celebrity parties.
In and out lists