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 70: BLACK CAT ESPRESSO COLD BREW at KAFFE 1668

I like the rich bitter flavors of chocolate, smoke, and roasts. When I do drink coffee, I drink it black, the darker the chocolate the better, and a smoky rauchbier is one of my favorite types of ales.

Among the rotating blends that Kaffe 1668 cold brews is this Black Cat Espresso. I had never seen espresso being cold brewed (the long process of brewing iced coffee at room temperature to remove the acidity) anywhere before. And I had never seen Intelligentsia’s Black Cat blend here in NY. The cup at Tribeca’s (perhaps the city’s) best coffee shop is syrupy and sweet with hints of brown sugar and a well-rounded bitterness. No milk or sugar is necessary. Believe me, once you go black, you never go back. Price: $3.45

KAFFE 1668
275 Greenwich Street (between Murray and Warren Street),
Tribeca
(212) 693-3750
401 Greenwich Street (between Beach and Hubert Street),
Tribeca
(646) 559-2637
kaffe1668.com

NUMBER 69: WAKE UP CALL at BROOKLYN FARMACY

There’s nothing like an old fashioned root beer float. I love how the cold ice cream begins to melt into the soda making for a creamy and bubbly sugar rush.  But with a few exceptions throughout my childhood, root beer and vanilla were really the only options for a float.

Well, I’ve been missing out on a whole world of possibilities. And the options for a soda and ice cream flavor combo is endless at Brooklyn Farmacy. The flavors change with the season so you might see blueberry soda with black raspberry ice cream in the summer or ginger soda with pumpkin ice cream in the fall. But thankfully, coffee never goes out of season (unless it truly becomes extinct like they’re threatening). And this mix of Adirondack’s creamy coffee ice cream (my favorite ice cream flavor) and a homemade coffee soda will open your eyes to the wondrous possibilities of ice cream floats all year long. Price: $6.50

BROOKLYN FARMACY & SODA FOUNTAIN
513 Henry Street (between Sackett and Union Street)
Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
(718) 522-6260
brooklynfarmacy.blogspot.com

NUMBER 68: CHOCOLATE MOUSSE at BUVETTE

It almost feels like the savory portions of meats and vegetables at Buvette are purposefully small and delicate in order to allow for the pièce de résistance at the end of the meal.

Not to take anything away from the little jars and meat-topped breads at Jody Williams’ adorable (but crowded) West Village café, but the chocolate mousse has always been the best part of any visit. A dark, slightly sweet chocolate is somehow both fluffy and dense with a welcome hint of saltiness. The whipped cream is actually there to lighten up the rich decadence and together they create one of the best desserts in the West Village. Price: $8

BUVETTE
42 Grove Street (between Bedford and Bleecker Street)
West Village
(212) 255-3590
ilovebuvette.com

NUMBER 67: GRADY’S COLD BREW CONCENTRATE

Cold brewed iced coffee has been the rage for a while now and I have been one of the caffeine-fueled advocates. I haven’t gone so far as buying a cold brew kit for making it at home yet (that’s when I know I have a problem), but I have certainly dabbled in the cold brew concentrates.

Grady’s New Orleans take on the stuff is unique and addicting. Chicory root is added and cold brewed with the coffee yielding both a natural sweetness along with mellow notes of cinnamon, smoke, and earth. I drink this stuff like it’s going out of style. Let’s hope it’s not! Price: Varies

GRADY’S COLD BREW
Available at Locations Throughout the City
gradyscoldbrew.com

NUMBER 66: DON ESTEBAN RUM LIQUEUR from CACAO PRIETO

Cacao Prieto is a chocolate heaven. It’s Willy Wonka for grown-ups. Inside the Red Hook factory, Daniel Prieto is making some amazing chocolate bars from beans harvested from his family’s farms in the Dominican Republic. But the chocolate party does not stop there.

They use their cacao beans and organic sugar cane to make a variety of liqueurs. I first had a taste of this unusual spirit on one of the beer cruises I lead. And my life may not have been the same since. Somewhere between a dark, sugary rum and a rich, sweet chocolate liqueur, this bottle is a true revelation. It definitely had strong fresh chocolate flavors, balanced with notes of coffee and a pleasant alcohol bite. Somebody needs to add this to their cocktail menus and fast!! Price: $47.99 

CACAO PRIETO
218 Conover Street (between Coffey and Dikeman Street),
Red Hook, Brooklyn
cacaoprieto.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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