The Year/The Decade: Trends That Weren't At All Bad

In thinking--and please understand that term in the spirit in which it's intended--through the past many years, we began to realize that life in the 2000s was a lot of fun...assuming you weren't, say, in the military, a friend of Bernie Madoff, an employee of an American company, or a Cowboys fan.

A lot of good came out of the past year and decade, at least when it came to dining. People became more aware of ingredients and sustainability, chefs began to think locally as well as globally, lounges serving fine spirits gained popularity--as did well-prepared common dishes, such as flatbreads.

So, a few fads that were pretty damn OK:

Trends of 2009 that weren't at all bad:

1. Local-seasonal ingredients
So interest in the local-seasonal thing started before this year. It's just hard to imagine a restaurant opening nowadays that doesn't claim at least some local-seasonal focus. Even if you see it everywhere, it's a good thing...well, unless you're ordering pigeon.

2. Small plates
Call it tapas, shared plates or whatever, the idea of people gathering, passing dishes around and getting to sample many flavors in one sitting  is a welcome one. And--best of all--you often end up spending a little less.

3. Cozy restaurants
The 90s and early part of this decade were all about massive, 10,000 square foot palaces. So it was nice to see more York Street-sized places open.

Trends of the 2000s that weren't at all bad:

1. Decent pizza
At the beginning of the decade, Dallas was almost a pizza-free zone, at least in terms of quality. Now you can find wood-oven pies from Oak Cliff to Plano.

2. Wine bars
OK, so there still aren't that many wine bars out there. But the arrival of Cru and the others broke the city's craving for big red wines.

3. A big steak and a big cigar
Well, you can't really do it anymore. The late 90s and early 2000s were peak years of America's cigar craze. Before the smoking ban ended all the fun, steakhouses were crowded with men (and a few women) enjoying the sinful pleasure of red meat followed by an after dinner drink and good cigar.

Yeah, we probably should've picked something else at number 3. But we get a bit nostalgic sometimes.

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