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Forecast: Great Chance of Meatballs

Hot & Cool Food Trends

Remember that cute animated movie “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”? Well, it seems meatballs are popping up all over the map in the real world these days, regardless of the weather.

Top Chef finalist Dave Martin just opened The Meatball Factory in New York City’s East Village. Noting the plethora of meatball-centric eateries opening up recently, one of Martin’s employees proclaimed meatballs to be the “new cupcakes.” Okay, we’ve all heard that “new/next cupcake stuff before—but meatballs, really?

Seems so. Meatballs are coming on strong and could become the hot comfort food of 2012.

Martin’s meatballs each contain between 12 and 18 ingredients. As reported by Jo Piazza for FoxNews.com, Martin says he didn’t want to do the “same old meatball.” He serves one called the Latin Stallion, made from a spicy chorizo, pork and manchego cheese. There’s another dubbed the Turducken, fashioned from turkey, chicken, and duck comfit. His Hog Wild meatball is a blend of braised ground pork shoulder, cherrywood bacon fat, mascarpone and a pinch of red chili paste.

Martin’s meatballs can be topped with a choice of eight sauces—not just the same old marinara.

In Washington DC, the hot new restaurant is simply called Meatballs, operated by Chef Michel Richard, renowned for his upscale restaurants, Cintronelle and Central. The meatball choices at Meatballs range from those made from traditional beef to others made of fried chicken, crab, lamb and lentils.

According to Piazza, the credit for getting the current meatball craze rolling should go to Chef Daniel Holzman and his co-owner Michael Chernow, who opened the original Meatball Shop in New York in 2010. Since opening that first location, they have opened two more restaurants, signed a book deal and can be seen singing the praises of the meatball on a variety of TV shows.

Maybe the meatball will bounce the cupcake from the hot sport on the  food trends charts. That turducken ball sounds pretty good.

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