IntoxiKate’s Top 10 Westchester Dining Experiences of 2015

by Katie Schlientz
restaurant x

Daily Voice features editor Jeanne Muchnick recently interviewed me about my favorite new restaurants of 2015 {read the article here}, and that got me thinking… Why not kick off 2016 by sharing my favorite foodie moments of last year? Below is a pared down list of my top 10 Westchester Dining Experiences of 2015 (which was REALLY hard to do!). In no particular order…


1. IntoxiKate Events.

Last year, I teamed up with some pretty amazing restaurants to offer incredible dining experiences for fellow food lovers and friends. We brunched at L’inizio (pictured above), partied at Alley 810 in Empire City Casino, and hobnobbed with some of the area’s best chefs at Leiberts Royal Green Appliance Center.

What to look for in 2016: Make sure to sign up to be on the IntoxiKate email list so you can stay in the know on upcoming events and offers. This year, I’ll be hosting intimate, monthly dinner parties in Westchester’s hottest eateries.

half moon in dobbs ferry

2. Glenmorangie Scotch Pairing Dinner at Half Moon.

I love it when restaurants come up with new ways to entertain (and educate!) diners. At this pairing dinner, I officially became a scotch lover AND still can’t stop thinking of this roast Hudson Valley squab with gnocchi romano, endive, and a sherry tangerine glaze. Yes, please!

What to look for in 2016: Check out Half Moon’s Facebook page for upcoming spirits pairing events in 2016 and visit the IntoxiKate calendar for fun food events all over the county.


3. Hudson Valley Restaurant Week Dinner at Sonora.

Every HVRW, I offer an open invitation to join me for dinner, and this year was no different. I met three of the NICEST people over an incredible dinner at Sonora in Port Chester. Chef Rafael Palomino wasn’t in town at the time, but the kitchen staff didn’t miss a beat. Incredible food paired with great people created a very memorable meal.

What to look for in 2016: Pencil in March 7th to the 20th in your 2016 calendar to remind yourself to make reservations for Hudson Valley Restaurant Week.

cafe of love

4. Cafe of Love‘s Fall Menu Tasting.

One of the best parts of being a food writer is receiving the invitation to taste the new season’s dishes before the menu is hot off the press. Case in point: falling in love with Leslie Lampert’s flatbread, which was hands down one of the best dishes I tasted this fall.

What to look for in 2016: Lampert’s commitment to local, fresh ingredients promises a menu change every season.

saltaire oyster bar

5. Saltaire Oyster Bar.

Hello, oysters! I have a serious foodie crush on Chef Bobby Will—I can’t get enough of his fresh perspective, elevating fish to a whole new level in Westchester. If you haven’t been to this Port Chester hot spot yet, put it at the top of your New Year’s Resolutions list. Check out my interview with Will and owner Les Barnes here.

What to look for in 2016: Saltaire is also open for lunch, but I would highly recommend swinging by for happy hour to snag a spot at the oyster bar (meet you there!).

Apple pie

6. Making Pie with Chef Tracy Kamperdyk Assue.

Getting a personal invite to hang out in a chef’s kitchen is exciting enough, but cooking side by side with them takes it to a whole other level. The City Limits Diner pastry chef rocked my world, and reinvigorated my love for baking.

What to look for in 2016: Try your hand at Assue’s best apple pie recipe EVER or swing by the diner in White Plains or Stamford to indulge your sweet side with her team’s freshly baked goodies.


7. The Pepper Pak Challenge with Chefs Matt Kay, Scott Fratangelo, and Arlen Gargagliano.

When chefs play in the kitchen, we reap the benefits, and the Pepper Pak Challenge was no different. When the team at FlashPepper and I challenged these chefs to come up with dishes using products in the Pepper Pak, the results were nothing short of amazing.

What to look for in 2016: The chefs compete until mid-January. Vote for your favorite chefs and dishes by watching the videos and sharing your favorites!

xaviars restaurant

8. Dinner with Peter Kelly

When you dine at Peter Kelly’s restaurants, it’s more than just a meal, and always an experience. I love sitting at the scenic bar at Xaviars X20 on the Hudson, grabbing a Slovenia vodka cocktail, and indulging some really good food (like the banging coconut shrimp, above, and this incredible sushi). Plus, Kelly (aka The Godfather of the Westchester/Rockland restaurant scene) always draws an interesting crowd.

What to look for in 2016: Create a special moment by making a reservation for dinner on an “off” evening. Arriving early will allow you to grab a cocktail at the bar and let you chat up chef and his team.

bona bona ice cream

9. Four Words: Bona Bona Ice Cream

During one of Madison Kitchen‘s signature summer pig roasts, I tried Chef Nick DiBona’s new Bona Bona ice cream. My favorite flavor? Well, it’s a toss up between the rainbow cookie and mint chocolate chip. A traditional Italian ice cream with an “American” twist, DiBona uses fresh ingredients to hand make every batch. Deee-lightful!

What to look for in 2016: To get a taste, swing by Madison Kitchen in Larchmont or visit

hudson valley craft beer week

10. Hudson Valley Craft Beer Week

The week’s full of dinners, events, and festivals was an incredible opportunity to try what’s brewing in the Hudson Valley and beyond.

What to look for in 2016: For details on this year’s Hudson Valley Craft Beer Week, check out the website.

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Holidays Up North | FoodiePleasure January 6, 2016 - 2:01 pm

[…] recaps of their 2015 including Katie Schlientz sharing her top dining experiences on IntoxiKate and Adeline Jessica revealing her favorite selections in Fairfield County. We weren’t able […]

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