AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand
Here we are back in Cronut territory already. But it's not just NYC's Dominique Ansel Bakery that has made this the best year, possibly in history, to be eating baked goods. There's also Easy Tiger Bake Shop in Austin (awesome breads and pretzels; as an added bonus, it's got a beer garden); Chicago's Little Goat Bread (Stephanie Izard makes Fat Bread with smoked duck fat); San Francisco's Craftsman & Wolves (the Rebel Within has a runny egg baked inside a muffin); and Portland, Oregon's Bakeshop (where the specialty is whole grain pastries).
This was the year that Taco Bell unleashed Fiery Doritos Locos Tacos. Beyond that, a lot of places did some ingenious things with tacos, and did them well, too. At L.A.'s Petty Cash Taqueria, you can get taco selections like pork belly carnitas and charcoal-grilled octopus with chiles and peanuts; in Austin at Mettle, they serve beef tongue tacos with escabèche, and sweetbread tacos with mole. And in NYC, Mission Chinese Cantina has chicken wing tacos as well as grilled brisket and bacon tacos.
The food at airports just gets better and better. LAX wins most improved award with Michael Voltaggio's awesome sandwich spot, ink.sack, and the quick, customized pizzas at 800 Degrees. New at Denver International Airport: Root Down DIA, which features local ingredients like Bison Burger as well as vegetarian options such as Country Fried Tofu.
At London's Heathrow airport, even star chef Heston Blumenthal is getting in on the action, with a 130-seat "diner," slated for next year, where he'll serve pizza (from the world's first airport wood-burning oven), fish-and-chips and burgers.
Worst Food Trends of 2013
As you know from the Cronut, this was a big year for food mash-ups. Some worked, or at least caused long lines, like the ramen burger (see below). Others, like that Dunkin Donuts Breakfast Sandwich, were just ridiculous (unless, as already pointed out, you want sticky hands and a higher saturated fat content than your regular breakfast sandwich provides).
If you've got a list of questionable sandwich mash-ups going, add to that Jack in the Box's Big Waffle Stack (ham, bacon, eggs and cheese between 2 sweet waffles) and KFC's Double Down Chicken Sandwich (fried chicken fillets are the bun).
Lines for Days
In 2013, people could not stand in enough lines for cult foods. Some lines you can't argue about - like the ones for brisket at Franklin's Barbecue in Austin or pulled pork at Rodney Scott's BBQ in Hemingway, SC. Lines for biscuits in Manhattan's East Village on the other hand...
Celeb Chef Scandals
In 2012 I heard a lot about Guy Fieri. This year, I know more than I need to about Paula Deen and Nigella Lawson. Let's hope that 2014 is the year that everyone in the food world behaves perfectly.
Kate Krader for CNN