It’s a near-mandate that a writer’s end-of-year column has to be on one of three topics, each a cinch to whip out so we can leave early to be with our real or imagined families. For “The Year’s Top 10,” you simply search through your own archives (e.g., for the word “yummy”) and stick numbers in front of your findings. “New Year’s Resolutions” can always be lifted from the previous year’s. In “Trend Predictions,” you look around to see what you have two of, because trends follow the rule “one, two, explosion.” Chow, Baby has noticed a lot of twos recently, so we’ll go with that.

cupcakeFor example: cupcake bakeries. Our fair county has two cupcakeries (that Chow, Baby knows of): Cupcake Cottage (5015 El Campo Av.), home of a mighty fine real-strawberry cupcake with buttercream frosting ($2.75); and the new LeSara Cupcake Bar (5615 Colleyville Blvd., Colleyville), which also offers a daily gluten-free flavor. Surely this means a cupcakery explosion is imminent. You read it here first.

Chow, Baby’s own blojito (a variation on the mojito) was one of two blood-orange spottings this year; the other was the incredible blood orange risotto at Lanny’s Alta Cocina Mexicana. Not the prettiest member of the citrus family, but quite tasty. You’ll see. Fruit made two other odd yet delectable appearances, in Café Modern’s pastrami sandwich with sautéed Gala apples and Lili’s petite tenderloin fillets with gorgonzola and grilled pears. Sadly, neither is on the menu now, because the fruit with red meat trend is clashing with a movement that’s just hit the tipping point in Tarrant: locavorism. Chow, Baby has mixed feelings about this. Relying on seasonal, local/regional meat and produce, as at Bonnell’s, Café Modern, and more recently Ellerbe and Potager, is good for us and good for the planet. Not being able to get a pear-and-meat sandwich in December is heartbreaking.

But we’ll probably get more eggs. Buttons’ shrimp & grits ($13) slips in an over-easy for extra creaminess, as luscious as the fried quail egg topping the Love Shack’s Dirty Love Burger ($5.77). That’s two sneaky eggs; surely we’ll see a dozen by year’s end. Same with Korean restaurants: (1) Samwon Garden on McCart, (2) Taste of Korea in Asia Times Square … a million more kim chee-eries in our future?


Still, there’s more to prophesying than just counting up to two. Additional research came in the handsome form of Chow, Baby’s college buddy Joe, home for the holidays, over dinner at trendy Aventino. As the award-winning food editor of the Washington Post, Joe covers national culinary goings-on, and so trend-wise he’s a year or so ahead of us here in flyover country. He too sees lots of cupcakes in our future – his recent article on D.C.-area cupcakeries ran as an eight-part series – and he thought the rest of Chow, Baby’s ideas were just as brilliant. (That might be a slight paraphrase.) The only area of dispute was Aventino itself: The man from the near future thought that the modern Italian cuisine, the sharp décor, the Euro-lounge music, Emilie’s well-informed service, and Jason’s incredible lemongrass martini were all spot-on, and not at all too cool for school. Thus Chow, Baby’s final prediction: The trend of thinking that Aventino is too trendy for Fort Worth will end in 2010.


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