1. Everyone’s doing it: rubbing flavored sea salt—smoked chipotle, vintage merlot, almond orange cardamom—into pork ribs and sprinkling them atop chocolate ice cream. And they’re buying it from us: White crystals imported by Woodinville-based Saltworks line pantries the world over, while locally owned Secret Stash Sea Salts is the sodium chloride that locals love.
2. Any way you slice it, charcuterie is enjoying a major moment in the culinary limelight. No one beats Salumi for pancetta or for curry and black pepper finocchiona, and the meat shop’s mole salami, augmented with chocolate, cinnamon, ancho and chipotle peppers, may be the king of Seattle cured meats. But Creminelli Fine Meats (the stall in Pike Place Market closed, but you can still buy products at DeLaurenti) also delivers the smoked and salty goods. Try wild boar salami made with pork belly, wine-infused cloves, and juniper berries.
3. Going vegetarian sometimes has replaced nose-to-tail pork consumption as the foodie fad du jour. Beet carpaccio and grilled asparagus have wedged themselves between pork rillettes and braised lamb’s neck on tasting menus, and veggies are taking center stage on home cooking blogs, too. Join a community-supported agriculture program—Tiny’s Organic and Full Circle Farms both deliver veggies to the doorstep of CSA members—and you’ll test your flesh-free culinary chops while doing your part to keep local farms in the black.
4. Boat Street Cafe ’s Renee Erickson was preserving figs, red onions, raisins, and prunes way before pickled everything was all the rage. Ask for her brined sundries at the cafe, at any of the Bill the Butcher branches, or at Metropolitan Markets.
5. In 2009 sandwiches were all about sriracha, the spicy red Thai sauce in a squeeze bottle. We’re nominating bacon jam—Skillet Street Food ’s gooey spread of rendered bacon, onions, and spices—as the novelty condiment of 2010. Buy it at DeLaurenti Specialty Food or Whole Foods Markets.
6. Sweet teeth the world over are currently craving wagashi, lovely Japanese confections that change with the seasons and are made from mochi, bean paste, and fruit. Try them at Tokara on Phinney Ridge.
7. Given the glut of really good chocolate now at our fingertips, it makes sense chocolatiers and chefs want to test its culinary limits. For its Chef Confection Project, Theo Chocolate invites chefs (Tilth ’s Maria Hines, Jerry Traunfeld of Poppy, Johnathan Sundstrom from Lark) to its factory, where they spend the day creating utterly original sweets. Prawn-anise-hyssop chocolate, anyone?
8. Everyone has gone crazy for canning, preserving summertime fruits and veggies for the cold season to come. That’s largely thanks to local writer Kim O’Donnel and her Canning Across America project. Check canningacrossamerica.com for meet-ups and classes.
9. Top Chef Master Marcus Samuelsson introduced the country to Ethiopian-inspired dishes on the Bravo show last season, and recipes from all over East Africa are popping up in food rags. Get a jump on the trend with an Ethiopian cooking class by expat Nibret Aga, or head over to Amy’s Merkato in Leschi, which stocks spongey injera flat bread and all sorts of other ingredients you’ll be needing.
10. Peanut-butter-cream-filled cookies at Dahlia Bakery, whoopie pies at Oddfellows Cafe and Bar, and cupcakes (still) everywhere: nostalgic treats are back in a big way. To perfect the ultimate in memory-stimulating desserts, sign up for an Art of the Pie class with world-renowned pie pro and all-around sweetheart Kate McDermott.