As we enter each year, predictions of the biggest food trends vaguely sway diners to try new things. Some of these predictions are bland, vague and potentially fraught with the hopes and dreams of specific farmers’ associations (“charcuterie,” “beef,” “authentic ethnic cuisine!” — what?), while others are interesting and exciting. Here are four we’re looking forward to sweeping menus in 2017 — in fact, here are four you can eat right now.
Freakshakes (predicted by Baum + Whiteman)
While they’ve probably been dominating your Instagram feed for the past year, there’s no better time to finally indulge in one of these monster milkshakes than the one month the rest of the world is dieting.Boston Burger Company calls their rendition #FreakFrappes, the hashtag-included over-the-top milkshakes of your wildest, sugar-high dreams. This month’s specialty is the S’More Than You Can Handle — a toasted marshmallow monstrosity coated in graham cracker crumbs and chocolate drizzle. And, like all good things, the #FreakFrappes can be made boozy upon request.
Charcoal (Predicted by Bon Appetit)
The laundry list of health benefits from chugging murky gray glasses of active charcoal are impressive enough to take this holistic niche mainstream. From what we’re told, tastewise, it’s not so bad, especially when expertly paired. Beatnik Beverage in Kendall offers the BBQ Lemonade — not because it’s got that sweet, vinegary, rib-rubbing tang— but because it adds activated charcoal to its blend of alkalized water, lemon, lime and agave. Likewise, Juice Press (which just opened a new location at 500 Boylston in Back Bay) offers a Green Charcoal, adding the detoxing ingredient to a cucumber, kale and celery blend.
Jackfruit (Predicted by Pinterest)
It might look like a lychee-cantaloupe hybrid, but jackfruit is emerging as a solid (and satisfying) meat alternative. The southern Asian fruit — which is packed with protein, potassium, calcium and iron — can be often found in Thai cooking, but emerged as an American vegan mainstay early last year. For 2017, the trend can be gobbled up at Powder House Square’s Taco Party (or its traveling truck) where Sriracha-BBQ jackfruit tacos come topped with smoked black bean spread and cilantro cabbage slaw.
Seafood towers (Predicted by Bloomberg Quint)
Here’s another one for Instagram. Seafood towers — stacks of shellfish, crab legs and lobster tails — are once again, a feast for the eyes. The folks at Bloomberg even called out a Cambridge joint — Little Donkey, Jamie Bissonette and Ken Oringer’s latest in Central — where the “Donkey Platter” comes loaded with quirky seafood small plates for the picking. We also like the always epic Neptune Plateau at Neptune Oyster Bar, a shellfish, shrimp and lobster sampler masterpiece.