Slideshow: 7 Food and Drink Trends We've Noticed So Far in 2011

Bellies
Bellies
Lamb belly, clam belly, pork belly—all the bellies! I recently had lamb belly at Fette Sau, which was by far the best thing I ate at the Williamsburg barbecue joint. The meat itself is so good, so lamby and smoky and tender. We all fought over the quarter pound of belly that we ordered. And close to SEHQ, Ed's Lobster Bar sells fried Ipswich clam bellies, which are big, juicy, briny bivalves. Though not necessarily a new trend, it's another to add to the belly roster. Do we need to launch seriousbelly.com? —Ed Levine
Everyone's a Soda Jerk
Everyone's a Soda Jerk
Last Christmas, my boyfriend gave me a Sodastream (and I, coincidentally, gave him one too—that was funny) so I'm going to assume that more and more people are also fizzy-making at home. Our Drinks site has been sharing plenty of tasty syrup and soda recipes: Celtzer (a la Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray), shrub syrups, and sour cherriade (pictured here), to name a few. There's even a new book called Homemade Soda, full of recipes for fruity sparklers, colas, drinking vinegars, and other fizzies. When I'm not at home pumping my Sodastream, one of my favorite neighborhood hangs is Brooklyn Farmacy for a chocolate egg cream, where the staff wears tees that say "JERK."Erin Zimmer
Pairings
Pairings
Of course restaurants have always served menus with wine pairings and, over the last few years, beer pairings; but it's really this year I've started to see menus with spirit or cocktail pairings. The Beagle in New York's East Village bases a whole section of their menu around pairings, and Midtown's Tenpenny does a "Drunken Feast" menu where some courses have paired wines or beers, but others get shots of Maker's Mark or miniature cocktails. It's a tough game—unadulterated spirits can overwhelm an awful lot of flavors. Cocktails are better in that respect, but rely on precision, since unlike a wine or beer, they're shaken or stirred up new every time: a good Manhattan might be a great sidekick for a given dish, where a Manhattan that's got its vermouth-whiskey ratio off would not be. Still, it's fun to see food and drink harmonize, even if it takes some experimentation to create something great. —Carey Jones
Non-mega burger chains
Non-mega burger chains
McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, and the like aren't going anywhere, but there's room for the expansion of smaller chains less focused on price (although still being affordable), more focused on using good ingredients and tasting...well, good. Kenji recently reviewed a few "new to NYC" chains—The Counter, SmashBurger (pictured here), Go Burger, and Elevation Burger. Before that, Eater did a feature on "mega-chains in the making" SmashBurger, Elevation Burger, and Mooyah Burger. At the end of last year, Burger Business made a list of 11 burger chains to watch in 2011, ranging from those with two units to 21 units. And New York City's Shake Shack continues to expand within NYC and beyond the US. —Robyn Lee
Anise Hyssop
Anise Hyssop
Infused in drinks, mostly, but also baked goods. We recently had it in a delicious Nolet's gin cocktail at Blue Hill Stone Barns, and another at Vandaag. The flavor is somewhere between mint, shiso, and licorice. —Maggie Hoffman
Imported Italian ovens
Imported Italian ovens
They're cropping up more and more in the U.S. The crème de la crème are built by Stefano Ferarro, a third-generation oven builder from Naples. While there are only a handful in the country (Manhattan has one at Donatella and LA just got one with the addition of Sotto in March), they keep coming. This is a trend that could only transform the pizza landscape for the best! —Meredith Smith