Predictions for 2012

Unlike the Mayans I am not predicting the end of the world in 2012. Instead I have four other predictions for 2012 in the Philadelphia food scene.

Ramen finally happens in Philadelphia – Philadelphia food nerds have been hoping, predicting and anticipating ramen joints opening in for at least a couple of years now. With the announcement of Royal Izakaya and Ramen Boy, we finally have locations to watch, sadly not much progress can be seen, yet. And then there are the several unannounced ramen concepts that have been whispered to me over the last few months. Established Philadelphia restaurant people whispering that they are preparing to roll out a Japanese style noodle shop but swearing me to secrecy, lest their plans be foiled.

Italian beer becomes a big deal – Just a couple of years ago I tasted my first not Peroni/Moretti Italian beer at a Tria Fermentation School class. Six samples later and I was hooked. Italian craft beers are drinkable, pair well with food and are suddenly not so rare. Unfortunately they are still expensive but are showing up on the beer lists at new spots like Birra on East Passyunk to In Riva in East Falls. With Marc Vetri’s Alla Spina opening soon, Italian beers will be all the rage.

Burrata is everywhere – The heavenly combination of fresh mozzarella and cream has gotten a headstart on 2012 as the cheese started popping up more in the second half of 2011. We predict burrata will be showing up everywhere; on salads, topping sandwiches and just being served on its own.

A year without Stephen Starr will feature plenty of Stephen Starr – For the first time since 1995 Stephen Starr is not plotting a new restaurant opening in Philadelphia. But with twenty restaurants in town I’m expecting we will hear plenty from and about Starr.