December 26th, 2013
03:15 AM ET
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Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.

If you had to sum up 2013 in one word, what would it be? Me, I have to say doughnuts. Mostly because of the omnipresent Cronut, the pastry that mashed up croissants and donuts and got people lining up for hours and launched a trazillion knockoffs.

But don’t forget that this was also the year Dunkin' Donuts introduced their Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich for those who want a sticky sweet bun for their bacon and egg sammy. And there’s word that Krispy Kreme will soon introduce “Donut Theater” to the US. Basically, that’s a clever name for a make-your-own doughnut situation.

But enough about doughnuts. Let’s discuss a few other things that happened in 2013: the highs and the lows.

Best Trends of 2013

Hot Bakeries
Here we are back in Cronut territory already. But it’s not just NYC’s Dominique Ansel Bakery that has made this the best year, possibly in history, to be eating baked goods. There’s also Easy Tiger Bake Shop in Austin (awesome breads and pretzels; as an added bonus, it’s got a beer garden); Chicago’s Little Goat Bread (Stephanie Izard makes Fat Bread with smoked duck fat); San Francisco’s Craftsman & Wolves (the Rebel Within has a runny egg baked inside a muffin); and Portland, Oregon’s Bakeshop (where the specialty is whole grain pastries).

Taco Nation
This was the year that Taco Bell unleashed Fiery Doritos Locos Tacos. Beyond that, a lot of places did some ingenious things with tacos, and did them well, too. At L.A.’s Petty Cash Taqueria, you can get taco selections like pork belly carnitas and charcoal-grilled octopus with chiles and peanuts; in Austin at Mettle, they serve beef tongue tacos with escabèche, and sweetbread tacos with mole. And in NYC, Mission Chinese Cantina has chicken wing tacos as well as grilled brisket and bacon tacos.

Airport Eats
The food at airports just gets better and better. LAX wins most improved award with Michael Voltaggio’s awesome sandwich spot, ink.sack, and the quick, customized pizzas at 800 Degrees. New at Denver International Airport: Root Down DIA, which features local ingredients like Bison Burger as well as vegetarian options such as Country Fried Tofu.

At London’s Heathrow airport, even star chef Heston Blumenthal is getting in on the action, with a 130-seat "diner,” slated for next year, where he’ll serve pizza (from the world's first airport wood-burning oven), fish-and-chips and burgers.

Worst Food Trends of 2013

Food Mash-Ups
As you know from the Cronut, this was a big year for food mash-ups. Some worked, or at least caused long lines, like the ramen burger (see below). Others, like that Dunkin Donuts Breakfast Sandwich, were just ridiculous (unless, as already pointed out, you want sticky hands and a higher saturated fat content than your regular breakfast sandwich provides).

If you've got a list of questionable sandwich mash-ups going, add to that Jack in the Box's Big Waffle Stack (ham, bacon, eggs and cheese between 2 sweet waffles) and KFC's Double Down Chicken Sandwich (fried chicken fillets are the bun).

Lines for Days
In 2013, people could not stand in enough lines for cult foods. Some lines you can’t argue about - like the ones for brisket at Franklin’s Barbecue in Austin or pulled pork at Rodney Scott’s BBQ in Hemingway, SC. Lines for biscuits in Manhattan’s East Village on the other hand...

Celeb Chef Scandals
In 2012 I heard a lot about Guy Fieri. This year, I know more than I need to about Paula Deen and Nigella Lawson. Let’s hope that 2014 is the year that everyone in the food world behaves perfectly.

More from Food & Wine:
Best Speakeasies and Cocktail Lounges
Best Burgers in the U.S.
World's Best Cooking Classes
Best New Hotels of the Year
F&W Photo Tour of London

Eat This List: 2014 food trend predictions
Most popular Eatocracy posts of 2013
Most popular posts of 2012
Our favorite food stories of 2012
Second helpings of 2011's most popular posts
Our favorite posts of 2011
2010 in review: a dozen topics that stirred the pot

© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.

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Filed under: Content Partner • Food and Wine • Guy Fieri • Heston Blumenthal • List • Nigella Lawson • Paula Deen • Trends • Year In Review

soundoff (44 Responses)

    Ramen burger

    January 3, 2014 at 6:24 pm |
  2. Carn E. Vore

    Fad schmad. If it's tasty and you like it, cook it, eat it and enjoy it.

    January 3, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
  3. Jill Frazier

    Fads in food are like pop stars, some last, some don't, but only time will tell. Healthy, scrumptious dining in 2014!

    January 2, 2014 at 10:59 pm |
  4. Carley

    The picture and story on #12 of the homophobic customers is inaccurate. Likely there are other true examples of homophobic notes to servers, but no need to continue to promote a false one.

    January 2, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
  5. Michael Ma

    typo in #7..."workers", not "working"

    December 28, 2013 at 9:32 am |
  6. themoviegeekstrikesback

    Reblogged this on I Peek Into the Oven and commented:
    I don't know if this is a case of bucking the trend, but I have yet to have a cronut. I think I might be a purist that way–I like my croissants in their classic form, and my donuts just, well, glazed.

    December 28, 2013 at 4:02 am |
  7. dhruva talwalkar

    you may enjoy this.

    December 27, 2013 at 8:24 am |
  8. Terry Gamel

    How about we pick "good" only when the food is actually good for you. You know, pick foods that will improve our lives instead of just make us fat and give us heart disease and cancer.

    December 27, 2013 at 8:14 am |
    • VladT

      How about we enjoy life a little bit, realize that a cool concoction such as the cronut is a good occasional treat (still want to try it), and realize an article entitled "30 different ways to eat a carrot" would not be as interesting, or tasty

      December 27, 2013 at 9:50 am |
      • Kat Kinsman


        December 27, 2013 at 11:13 am |
        • VladT


          What do I win?!?!?!?!???!?!?!!!! :)

          December 28, 2013 at 8:37 am |
  9. KEVIN

    Substandard sea food. Seems we are running out of good fish.

    December 27, 2013 at 2:16 am |
  10. russ81

    what food that was just junk! This is why your all so fat and ill your foods sickening doughnuts are treats not every day food items

    December 26, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
  11. Andrew

    The absolute worst food trend of 2013 . . .

    Pretentious idiots going gluten-free and telling everyone how "it just makes me feel so much better!"

    100% guarantee that each of these people was on the Atkins diet five year ago, and was wolfing down Snackwell's, Healthy Choice and anything else fat-free back in the late 90's.

    December 26, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • Frank Stein

      Before you label people as idiots, perhaps you should educate yourself about Celiac Disease and the millions of people who suffer from it. Otherwise, the idiot is you.

      December 27, 2013 at 6:33 am |
      • supermom23

        Calm down. He was talking about the hoards of people who insist they have to go gluten free because it makes them sound more interesting. Believe me, I know plenty of them. They cut out entire food groups because it's the latest trend and then quickly abandon it when they realize they've given up foods they actually like. People who really have Celiac Disease know that it's unmistakable.

        December 27, 2013 at 8:55 am |
        • Frank Stein

          Many thousands of people go on gluten-free diets and then feel better because they have undiagnosed Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance, and/or allergies to wheat. They are not idiots, nor are they being pretentious.

          It's quite ironic that the original poster is actually being pretentious himself by assuming the reasons why people go on gluten-free diets.

          December 27, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
        • Lady lady

          Nobody cares! Eat what you want and leave the rest of us alone!

          January 2, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
  12. C.Gull

    Fish n Chips

    December 26, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • russ81

      haddock and chips :)

      December 26, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
  13. Don

    I had an amazing sandwich at a Food Truck Rodeo at the Public Market in Rochester NY. It was a grilled cheese sandwich made with extra sharp cheddar cheese with bacon and apple pie filling. I couldn't believe how good it was.

    December 26, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
  14. Eric

    So agree about LAX. I spent two years traveling through that airport on a monthly basis and the only reliable places for food were the See's Candy kiosks. Still, I wish that Suzanne Tracht had gotten one of the restaurant slots.

    December 26, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
  15. CALiberal

    And don't forget Lobster Taco's at the pier in Ocean Beach, in San Diego.

    December 26, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • LJ

      Dean Fearing at the Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas was making lobster tacos in the early 90's.

      December 26, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
  16. chris2924

    No mention of GMOs, the first GMO labeling law in the USA, and the USA Farm Bill 2013 with the pro-GMO ammendment which will make a federal law to forbid any state to pass a labeling law (thus nullifying Connecticuts' recent victory.) I'd like to know more about all the ways the FDA is helping Monsanto - from lack of testing to forcing GMO seeds on all commercial farmers in Iraq (under "Order 81"). The list presented here is just fluff.

    December 26, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      But that's not a trend - it's a long-haul issue not specific to 2013. Yes, it's important but it doesn't fit the parameters of this piece.

      December 26, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
      • chris2924

        I would disagree. I think it fits within the parameters of "Best and worst food trends" and "Food world highs and lows". Certainly GMO labeling is a "Food world high".

        December 26, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
        • Kat Kinsman

          But again, it's not a trend but rather an issue. And don't worry - we are addressing it in another post.

          December 26, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • Todd

      Ahh GMO Food, the Liberals bad science, Just as Climate Change is for the Conservatives.

      December 26, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
      • chris2924

        Not sure what you mean by the "Liberals" bad science; It's not an issue I would try and pigeonhole into some progressive / liberal / moderate / conservative classification. GMOs are engineered poison foisted on the world population by big Agra with the heavy-handed help of big government. And these companies and the FDA don't want to admit and face the ill effects and failure of it all. A Harvard study released this month slammed the FDA saying it can't be trusted. Even to the casual observer, with a laundry list of the facts, can see the corruption..

        December 26, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
        • VladT

          When you label something as poison that is the farthest thing from it, you show your bias towards a subject and tend to lose credibility

          December 27, 2013 at 2:01 am |
        • mnbska

          "poison foisted on the world population"

          An incredible falsehood. Nobody has gotten so much as a headache from GMO.

          December 27, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
        • chris2924

          Well it's called BT Toxin and the word toxin is often considered a synonym for poison. The toxin explodes the stomachs of insects that eat it. They are finding now that it does the same thing to people, but on a micro scale causing stomach inflamation. To say GMO has never caused "so much as a headache" is plain ignorant. When rats are fed GMO corn they develop tumors, damage to ALL organs and by the third generation are completely sterile. If that sounds safe to you, then by all means, continue to eat your non-headache causing GMO.

          December 29, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • VladT

      ...and it is an "issue" that some people are apathetic too, that fits into the political spectrum more so then a food blog. Way to suck the fun out of it, though

      December 27, 2013 at 1:59 am |
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