27. CALANDRE BOY
Celeb-chef watchers are keeping an eye on Le Calandre, a restaurant in Sarmeola, Italy, just outside Padua. There young Massimiliano Alajmo wows visitors with contemporary takes on specialties of the Veneto region, like his sarde in saor con polenta al prezzemolo—sautéed marinated sardines served with onion, vinegar, pine nuts, raisins, and parsley polenta. Le Calandre, 1 Via Liguria, Sarmeola; 39-049/630-303; dinner for two $100.
28. FIVE-STAR FREEZERS
With this month's beta test of FiveLeaf.com, the e in e-commerce now stands for epicurean. Flash-frozen gourmet dinners are being offered up by American chefs Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Charlie Trotter, and Mark Miller as well as French stars Antoine Westermann of Buerehiesel in Strasbourg (a favorite of Jean-Georges Vongerichten), Reine Sammut from Auberge de La Fenière in Provence, and Parisian pastry wizard Pierre Hermé. On the menu: Boulud's short ribs braised in red wine and Keller's monkfish blanquette. FiveLeaf goes live in March. www.fiveleaf.com.
29. SAY CHEESE
The cheese course may have made it onto the menus of top U.S. restaurants, but we predict that a cheese revolution will sweep the country this year, much as wine did a decade ago. Graduating from dainty chèvres and careful Tommes, next we'll embrace cheeses with presence: runny Telemes, insistent blues, stinky Livarots. And we'll want them unpasteurized, listeriosis be damned. By April we'll be clamoring for small-production, artisanal cheeses; come fall, our Palm Pilots will jealously guard the cell-phone numbers of unlisted affineurs.
30. RAW DEAL
As nuevo latino chic shows no signs of abating, ceviche bars will become the sushi bars of the moment. Kudos to Argentine-born Guillermo Pernot, chef-owner of Philadelphia's Pasión!, for dreaming up the concept—who could resist scallops with sweet lime and blood oranges?—with different selections daily at his 10-seat bar. At the 16-seat bar of Douglas Rodriguez's Chicama in New York City, the wait for Honduran mackerel ceviche is justifiably eternal. Pasión!, 211 S. 15th St., Philadelphia; 215/875-9895; dinner for two $100. Chicama, 35 E. 18th St., New York; 212/505-2233; dinner for two $120.
31. HOME IS WHERE THE IRORI IS
In the dining room of the Rancho Encantado resort in Santa Fe, set to reopen in the fall, kitchen designer Mark Stech-Novak will soon install an irori, his take on a17th-century Japanese hearth, next to a traditional wood-burning oven for baking bread. What is an irori used for?"Anything we can think of," he says, adding that chefs used to like pizza ovens, but they take up too much space. Stech-Novak debuted his first irori at Roy's in San Francisco last year. Rancho Encantado, 198 S.R. 592; 505/982-3537.
32. Savvy diners are flocking to Hong Kong's newly refurbished Great Eagle Hotel to dine at T'ang Court on Cantonese delights such as braised sliced abalone with duckling and Yunnan ham. 33. Tea is suddenly so alluring (care for a cup of Drum Mountain White Cloud or Tieguanyin Competition Monkey-Picked Oolong?) that we predict America's best restaurants will be employing tea sommeliers in 2001. At press time, there are only a few in the United States—James Labe, at Heartbeat restaurant in New York City's W hotel, was the first.
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