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Foods 2011's Top 11 Tastiest Food Trends  

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It's that time of year again -- the time when people obsess about the next big thing in...well, everything. Of course, few things are more fun to obsess about than food. So, consider this your amuse bouche. And no, I'm not talking about whatever it is your dirty mind just associated with that term. I'm talking about the tasty tidbit that gets your palate primed for the meal to come.

So, without further ado, here are the 11 tasty trends I think you'll be hearing about ad nauseum in the food world next year, based on my extensive (yes, some would call it obsessive) consumption of food literature, food television and, of course, actual food itself. Better enjoy 'em now, before Food Network turns these perfectly palatable trends into something Sandra Lee would serve at her next theme party. Or worse, into a new catchphrase for Guy Fieri.

Pick A Pie, Any Pie

First there was the fro-yo. Then there were the cupcakes. Then came the macaroons. But in 2011, those desserts will be as played out as the Cake Boss's bad jokes. In fact, it's time to put away your frosting tips and send your fancy french cookies back where they came from. Because 2011 is going to be the year of the pie.

Yup, good ol' American pie. Of course, 2011's pies aren't quite the simple crust-and-fruit concoctions of yesteryear. Nope, in 2011, the pie (like most things that make an appearance in pop culture these days) is getting a makeover. From sweet to savory, supersized to pocket-sized, pie is the new cupcake. And, it's going to start showing up in just as many varieties. Not the least of which is this monstrosity -- yes, that is the turducken of pies. And yes, it was made right here in the good ol' US of A. Gives new meaning to the term 'as American as apple pie', don't it?

It's A Miracle!

Few things have food geeks more excited than synsepalum dulcificum, otherwise known as miracle fruit. When the fruit is consumed before eating, it causes sour things to taste sweet, thereby opening up a whole realm of newly-edible possibilities in a world that's rapidly becoming more and more concerned about the overconsumption of its food sources. Not to mention getting geeky foodies more excited than Paula Deen in a bathtub full of butter.

Look for miracle fruit to start popping up all over the molecular gastronomy map in 2011, and maybe even on the menus of some more mainstream restaurants too. Because once Wylie Dusfrene is talking about it, you know it's only a matter of time before everyone else is jumping on the same bandwagon...or at least deconstructing the bandwagon and blasting it with liquid nitrogen.

All For One

One is the loneliest number that you ever knew...

Unless you're a small restaurant trying to make your mark in an awful economy. Then, it turns out that focusing on a single thing can actually make you a bigger star than the big guys trying to do everything at once. From New York's Peanut Butter & Co. and Meatball Shop to Greenspan's Grilled Cheese opening soon in LA, it seems like restaurateurs are now picking their pleasure and sticking to it like white on rice. Which, come to think of it, is actually a great name for a rice-themed restaurant...

Take It To The Streets

From bahn mi to burritos, street food and its more sedentary American cousin, diner fare, certainly witnessed a resurrection in 2010. From trucks to taco stands, suddenly everyone wanted nothing more than to eat greasy goodness off of paper plates and plastic utensils. And, the trend is only going to get bigger and crazier in 2011, as the recession keeps eating people's paychecks and people keep eating comfort food to cope.

Forget fusion tacos, they're as overexposed as Lindsay Lohan's lady bits. Inventive street food purveyors are already plumbing the culinary classics of Vietnam, Korea, India and even America's own deep south in search of exciting new ways to tantalize your taste buds. And land themselves on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.