Though we can’t totally agree with 7x7’s Jessica Battilana on what’s already looking hot for 2010, we’re mostly on the same page when it comes to the trends that define 2009 for SF food. You’ve got the obvious: pop-up restaurants, cart/truck food, and the emphasis on cheap and casual stuff like sandwiches, all of which were driven by the economy. But then there’s the less obvious: the ubiquity of porchetta, the move toward D.I.Y. canning and pickling, and the rise of foie gras ice cream (we’re looking at you Humphry Slocombe). To 7x7’s list we’d add the appearance of mid-priced, high-quality Mexican at places like Nopalito and Papalote, as opposed to high-priced, high-quality Mexican which has been around for a while. And let’s not forget San Francisco foodies’ defensiveness toward New York chefs.
The cheap trend bled over to the booze sphere, too, where Buzzed blogger Jordan McKay saw wine drinkers learning that price and quality don’t always go hand-in-hand. Biodynamic wines, still fairly obscure in 2008, got a lot of attention this year, as did iPhone apps and Twitter used for everything from scanning wine reviews to tasting events. Also, mezcal was everywhere; SF bartenders spearheaded the trend toward seasonal, farmers’ market cocktails; and fresh, D.I.Y. mixers appeared like Neyah White’s shrubs at NOPA. As for the renewed interest simple classics like Old Fashioneds and Manhattans, wasn’t that going on long before Mad Men?