Signature sausages, globally inspired sandwiches and a resurgence in fried foods are among the 10 major influencers driving menu trends for 2010, predictsFlavor & The Menu magazine in a newly released "Top 10 Flavor Trends" issue.

Flavor & The Menu, Tigard, Ore., says its editors watch menu-development, restaurant growth and dining patterns throughout the year, and, with input from a team of restaurant industry experts, select ten trends likely to influence menus and restaurants for the coming year.

Many of this year's trends point to a continued quest for comfort in food and dining, but with added value and enhanced flavor experiences.

"From sausages, family-style dining and 'rustic' fare to tavern settings and nostalgic desserts, these trends are indicative of how we are living our lives in an uncertain time - seeking small indulgences balanced with large helpings of comfort," says Cathy Nash Holley, publisher and editor-in-chief. "We're able to step back and see these trends connected by a common thread and reflected in other areas of Americans' daily lives."

Concurrent with the release of the annual publication,Flavor & The Menusaid it developeda new Web site, http://www.flavor-trends.com, which will launch mid-February. The site will serve as a menu trends resource, including detailed information on these trends, menu sightings, culinary strategies and supporting data along with trend updates and previous years' trend coverage.

Here areFlavor & The Menu'sTop Ten Trends for 2010:

Top Ethno-Cuisine Trend: Worldly Sandwiches
Goodbye, ham and Swiss - from now on it's a world of banh mi, torta, Cubano, tartines, muffalettas and other ethnic/regional sandwiches from around the globe.

Top Sauce Trend: Chile-Fired Sauces
The American palate is ready for a worldview of chiles and chefs are branching out with usage, layering several types and infusing heat in more ways.

Top Menu-Making Trend: Blue Plate Updates
Family-style dinners, Sunday suppers and other chef-driven ideas address today's quest for casual-dining formats in ways that boost value and enhance the dining experience.

Top Technique Trend: Deep-Fried, Sanctified
Nothing develops satisfying texture and flavor like a good piece of fryer work. It's a great fit with the small-plates and bar-foods trend; fried chicken, hush puppies and fresh donuts are good examples.

Top Concept Trend: American Tavern
This revival is bringing about a new standard of pub fare, in concept and menu focus. Pared-down menus are more hand-crafted, offering reasonably priced, flavor-focused food and drinks that are distinctly American.

Top Ingredient Trend: Signature Sausages
High-end cured meat takes its logical next step with signature sausages in proprietary recipes, house-made and artisan versions showcased at center-plate, while the hot dog is turning into this year's hamburger, all grown up with premium ingredients, great buns and terrific toppings and condiments.

Top Culinary Trend: Rustic Revolution
Shorthand for all that is comfortable and affordable, "rustic" is the new artisan, encompassing everything from farmhouse tables and pared-down decor to foraged foods, farmstead cheeses and plenty of regional, home-style cooking.

Top Dining Trend: Global Grab & Go
Kebabs, dosas, crepes, gorditas and vada puri: these fun street snacks are being reinterpreted in limited-menu formats to provide meals on the run for a new generation of thrill-seeking diners.

Top Dessert Trend: Sentimental Sweets
These days, sweets offer a taste of childhood memories via cupcakes, cookies, whoopie pies and popsicles; even the most sophisticated pastry chefs are taking inspiration from nostalgic desserts while the soft economy makes this category even more lighthearted and important.

Top Beverage Trend: Booze-Free Buzz
Can you say artisanal root beer? Or lavender-infused tea, fresh, exotic fruit juice, spritzers, frappes and any of the myriad other specialty drinks that just happen to be alcohol-free? Inspired by the popularity - and profitability - of specialty cocktails, restaurateurs are taking the "virgin" drink category more seriously.