Listen to your gut

Food for thought on the eve of our most gluttonous days

Old trends, new trends, red trends, blue trends: Upscale comfort food is so 2008. Discomfort food will be big this year. Restaurants will stop charging $20 for fajita meat (a.k.a. skirt steaks); hanger steaks are just as cheap and don’t look like a glorified piece of beef jerky. Zombie chefs will use the continuing offal ("nasty bits") trend as an excuse to serve brains. “Ultra” lounges will be usurped by “Super Mega Ouch-My-Gonads” lounges.

A proposed sushi and fro-yo moratorium: Put that shrimp tempura roll with garlic mayo down or the self-serve fro-yo place gets it! But seriously: Please, stop. My dead Japanese ancestors are dizzy from spinning in their graves (note: completely metaphorical; we cremate). But next time someone gets the urge to open a sushi or fro-yo outfit—or both in one—open an izakaya instead.

I would give my ______ for: In addition to the aforementioned izakaya, we could also use the following: a proper Jewish deli, a proper Spanish/Basque spot, Shanghai-style dumplings, a legit French bistro, döner kebab and more authentic Italian in Midtown. Speaking of which …

Hi. My name is Hot Italian. I will actually open in ‘09: That is all.

How to keep it real in ‘09: Finally go into that place you drive by all the time that’s always filled with locals, and go there despite the fact that it’s in a “questionable” neighborhood and every reasonable instinct says “just keep driving.” Go inside and order what the regulars order, because other people are constantly onto something that you’re not.

Strike it rich: Make a fortune this year by marketing an actual Haterade drink—in three flavors: Jealousy, Envy and Snitches.

Gallows humor: The economy’s bad. How bad is it? The economy’s so bad, The Kitchen is now accepting food stamps. It’s so bad, there was a bank run on Mulvaney’s Building and Loan. It’s so bad, the seasonal ingredient at The Waterboy is Soylent Green.

Support local food: Join the locavore/Slow Food orthodoxy. Sure, there’s a box of Triscuits at your desk at work. But with credit tightening and discretionary dining cash dwindling, it’s time to buy into the idea of doing your part to eat local. Why spend hard-earned cash at chains when you can help a locally owned joint stay afloat? The Golden Arches will forgive your infidelity. (Seriously, they won’t even notice you’re gone.)

Local food is an important part of our regional identity. Who else but Sac could love a place called Pancake Circus?

So, unless you want to wake up in a world of nothing but Zinger’s, Scurvy Jack’s Fry Huts, TaTas and BJ McFunsters serving never-ending helpings of wings, mozzarella sticks and sliders in strip-mall infiniteness, support local food.