5 Memorable Dining Experiences of 2016

5 Memorable Dining Experiences of 2016

Tasting beers at the Coney Island Brewing Company (©Katie Labovitz)

This year, I went to some dining and drinking establishments that were new to me to try and expand my culinary horizons. Here are five of my favorite food and beverage adventures of 2016. 

Coney Island Brewing Company (Coney Island, Brooklyn): I was not a huge fan of beer when 2016 started, but after visiting the Coney Island Brewing Company’s Innovation Brewery in Coney Island… well, people change. It was fun learning about the brewing process and sampling the beers on tap. Besides great-tasting beverages, the people at the Innovation Brewery are awesome and knowledgeable. I highly recommend stopping by the brewery, as it offers some site-specific beers that you can’t find anywhere else. Some flavors of Coney Island Brewing Company’s beers and hard sodas can be found nationwide—my current favorite is the Hard Cherry Cream Ale.

Dos Caminos (Times Square, Third Avenue/Midtown East, SoHo, Park Avenue/Flatiron and Meatpacking) My love for guacamole is a forever kind of love and Dos Caminos is one of my favorite places to feed that addiction (pun intended). Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to sample their summer “guactail” menu, which consisted of several flavorful guacs (made with lobster, bacon and watermelon—different seasons offer different guac options) and a tasty frozen prickly pear margarita. When friends were in town recently, I suggested we meet there for brunch so we all could share a big thing of guacamole alongside our entrées while we laughed and caught up.

VILLARD (Midtown East): In addition to the divine breakfast foods—the sweet, thick-cut billionaires bacon with a hint of spice and that breakfast flatbread with the perfect balance of potato, greens, cheese and egg were scrumptious—I could not get over how gorgeous the dining room was. VILLARD is located in the Gallery Room of the Villard Mansion, which blends effortlessly with the Lotte New York Palace hotel. The ornate ceiling and dark wood decor made it a very cozy place to dine, even though the room itself is very spacious and open. Breakfast-goers may also be seated in the adjacent Gold Room, where VILLARD’s beautiful bar is open daily until 3 pm.

Sweet Chick (Lower East Side and Williamsburg, Brooklyn): Chicken and waffles is my current favorite dish of all time. I had already been to Amy Ruth’s (YUM), so the next place on my “Chicken and Waffle Bucket List” was Sweet Chick. A friend and I went there last month between plays and after every bite we could not help ourselves from commenting how delicious the waffles were (I got dried cherry, she got rosemary-mushroom) and the fact that we love chicken so much. We also split a bowl of macaroni and cheese with a Ritz cracker crust and a mason jar of watermelon lemonade mixed with bourbon. Best meal of the year, for sure.

Prohibition Bakery (Lower East Side): Cupcakes are my favorite form of cake, and this bakery puts booze in their cupcakes… so, this was a must-try spot for me. The mini cupcakes pack a powerful punch and there are multiple flavors to choose from each day. There are alcohol-free cupcakes available as well, but I tried the Old Fashioned (made with whiskey, bitters, orange and a whiskey-soaked cherry) and the Bee’s Knees (lemon, honey, gin, orange and bee pollen). They were delightful, and eating three tiny cupcakes made for a filling, pleasant buzz-inducing dessert.

Car Bomb cupcake (Courtesy Prohibition Bakery)

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