The only thing more ubiquitous than bell-ringing Santas in December are the Top 10 lists that accompany the New Year's festivities. There's something about "Auld Lang Syne," perhaps, that compels us to look back and track the peaks and valleys of the past year, the hottest new restaurants, most jaw-dropping movies and best of every other genre.
We're hardly immune -- and when it comes to the Bay Area's food scene, one thing's clear, whiskey lounges, Peruvian fare, homemade pop tarts and fictional food were among the top culinary trends of 2012.
What began with a few artisan distillers, including Alameda's St. George Spirits, crafting small-batch liquid amber has turned into a full-fledged Bay Area whiskey obsession with a new wave of craft distillers, whiskey lounges -- such as Oakland's District -- and whiskey tastings and clubs. Local distillers are using artisanal models inspired by cognac, winemaking and eau de vie, or fruit brandy. Even Concannon Vineyards in Livermore has gotten in on the action with a special Concannon Irish Whiskey aged in old petite sirah barrels.
Now the idea of whiskey flights -- three or four small pours to offer a sampling -- is spreading. American Oak in Alameda offered rye, bourbon and scotch flights this summer, and we're starting to see mezcal and tequila flights popping up, too. Could gin flights be far behind?
Can't see the slideshow above? Click here.
5. Fictional food, such as dishes inspired by "The Hunger Games"
7. Mini-desserts (not just mini-cupcakes!)
8. Savory melon
9. Gluten-free expands (just in time for the holidays!)
12. Blogger cookbooks (including one from Michael Natkin of Herbivoracious fame)