98: The Kingfield at Five Watt

The Kingfield isn't just a pretty face, it also tastes as good as it looks.

The Kingfield isn't just a pretty face, it also tastes as good as it looks.

As a countdown to the Best of the Twin Cities 2016, coming April 20, we're serving up 100 of our favorite local dishes. Here are the best dishes, drinks, snacks, and sweet treats we encountered over the last year.

The genius baristas at Five Watt are doing for coffee what hipster Twin Cities bartenders did for craft cocktails: challenging your expectations and encouraging you to push your tastebuds into new territory. They’re even working with some of the same ingredients, namely cocktail bitters. And not just any bitters; many of the potions that amp up the flavor in the specialty coffee drinks at Five Watt are made in-house.

Five Watt is at its core a neighborhood spot, where owners Lee Carter and Caleb Lee take the responsibility of fostering a sense of community as seriously as they take their coffee. If you’re a newbie, the baristas will walk you through the coffee drink menu, asking questions about what flavors you like before making a recommendation from the extensive options. Trust them, even if the drink they recommend uses Big Watt coriander bitters, as in the one named after their neighborhood, the Kingfield.

Along with the bitters, the Kingfield includes vanilla, espresso, milk, and black Hawaiian sea salt. Like we said, it sounds a little out there. What do coriander biters even taste like? And why would a person want salt in their coffee? Turns out the answer to both those questions is: It tastes good. When you take a sip, your first hit is sweet, but then the astringency from the bitters and the depth of the espresso hits your mouth, followed by a subtle pop of salt. The vanilla rounds things out and pulls it all together. It’s perfect for a chilly Minnesota morning or a lazy afternoon.

100: Caramel-Bacon Puffcorn at Red Cow

99: Pappadams from The Curry Diva