Now that I’ve eaten my way through somebody else’s list (Time Out New York), I’m ready to compile my own 100 spectacular things I’ve tasted in 2012. Look for another five dishes every few days.

NUMBER 75: THANKSGIVING CROISSANT at MILK BAR

There are some dishes that get lots of press, but if you don’t hurry up and taste them, they’ll be gone before you know it. With a great focus on seasonal ingredients, the high mortality rate of restaurants in this city, and the popularity of special promotional creations, there is no hesitating allowed when it comes to New York food.

Here’s a dish you can get right this minute (but not much longer). While I’m not a big fan of Momofuku Milk Bar’s desserts, this savory creation is the best Thanksgiving meal you’ll ever have inside a hot pocket. A browned and flaky croissant is flavored with herb (sage, thyme, etc.) butter and holds a treasure trove of Thanksgiving flavors: roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, and peppery gravy. Stop what you’re doing and go grab one before it’s too late. Price: $4.50

MOMOFUKU MILK BAR
251 East 13th Street (between Second and Third Avenue),
East Village
15 West 56th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenue),
Inside Chambers Hotel
Midtown West
15 West 56th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenue),
Inside Chambers Hotel
Midtown West
382 Metropolitan Avenue (between Havemeyer and Marcy Avenue),
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
(347) 577-9504
561 Columbus Avenue (between 87th and 88th Street),
Upper West Side
(347) 577-9504
360 Smith Street (at 2nd Place),
Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
(347) 577-9504
milkbarstore.com

NUMBER 74: GRILLED SUMMER PEACH WITH HANDCUT BACON SANDWICH at NUM PANG

I missed out on trying this doozy of a sandwich from Num Pang Sandwich shop in 2011. So within the first week of its return in 2012, I had obtained it in my hand (and my mouth). In the summer, there’s nothing I like more than a fresh peach or some smoky grilled bacon. But who ever thought about putting them together?

This genius combination brings out the sweet flavors of the charred and caramelized peach mounds, which pairs brilliantly with the smoky, salty thick cut bacon slices. Jalapeños, sauteed scallions, and the usual Num Pang additions of spicy chili mayo, cilantro, and pickled carrots make this a sweet, spicy, smoky, salty summertime home run. Price: $8.25

NUM PANG
21 East 12th Street (between Fifth Avenue and University Place),
Greenwich Village
(212) 255-3271
140 East 41st Street (between Lexington and Third Avenue),
Midtown East
(212) 867-8889
numpangnyc.com

NUMBER 73: MILK CHOCOLATE DIRT CAKE at THE GREAT GOOGA MOOGA

Some people claim that The Great Googa Mooga, the huge food festival in Prospect Park this summer, was just a chaotic mess with overpriced food that you can get better at the restaurants themselves. I actually had an enjoyable time walking around on the second day of the event, but the highlight was sampling a dessert that you just can’t get anywhere else.

The stand that served this layered dessert was more a showcase for a reality TV chef than it was for a specific restaurant. Katzie Guy-Hamilton was a contestant on Top Chef: Just Desserts and also happens to be the pastry chef at  New York Central (the restaurant inside the Grand Hyatt). While her creations at the fancy hotel are probably more refined, this child-like treat was very reminiscent of a Top Chef competition. A cup of milk chocolate pudding was topped with candied orange peels, orange cream, crumbled chocolate cookies, gummy worms,  and whipped cream to make a crunchy and creamy dirt cake full of wide-eyed surprises. It was well-worth braving the hungry masses. 

NUMBER 72: EL MELOCOTON DE LA MUERTE from ROBICELLI’S CUPCAKES

It’s no secret that Robicelli’s is my favorite cupcake company in the entire city. I tell all of my tour groups that after we talk about the historical building that houses Magnolia Bakery in Midtown. The incredible husband and wife team (who’ve been donating their time and efforts of late to helping the victims of Hurricane Sandy) were also the subject of my Valentine’s Day video last year.

At that time, I had yet to taste their miraculous Ghost Chili Pepper Cupcake. That’s right! This cupcake that they whip up every once in a while (for things like the Chili Festival or Cinco de Mayo) contains the hottest chili pepper in the world. They make the heat palatable by balancing it with sweet peaches. But their always moist cake and just sweet enough buttercream still allow you to taste the bold flavors of the smoky, spicy pepper without shedding a tear. Prices Vary Depending on Locations

ROBICELLI’S CUPCAKES
Available at Multiple Locations
Follow on Twitter: @Robicellis
robicellis.tumblr.com

NUMBER 71: LASAGNA at ROMAN’S

You can’t really plan what you will eat at Roman’s ahead of time. That’s because this little Brooklyn gem has a constantly rotating menu. Both times I’ve been, there have been completely different appetizers and entrees. The only thing that was consistent was that the rustic Italian food was simple, affordable, and mighty tasty.

Their lasagna appears on the menu from time to time and we were lucky enough to encounter it on a cold winter night. With a creamy bechamel sauce, lots of melted cheese, restrained meat and tomatoes, and al dente pasta sheets, this was the lasagna I had been craving all last winter. I hope to be lucky enough to relive the magic again soon. Price: $16

ROMAN’S
243 DeKalb Avenue (between Clermont Avenue and Vanderbilt Avenue),
Fort Greene, Brooklyn
(718) 622-5300
romansnyc.com
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About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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