Throughout all the chaos of the holiday season, sometimes we get so wrapped up into getting tasks done that we forget we still need to enjoy good food in good company. Taking a step back would allow us to enjoy some tasty dishes that highlighted 2015 as a year of culinary innovation and deliciousness. The following list of incredible restaurant dishes from the New York Times touch on both newer and classic meals that were some of my top picks from this year. Happy reading and enjoy some if you can!

Duck Carnitas at Cosme

I know duck sometimes has a bad reputation and is pretty much not for everyone, but please give this a chance. Even if you’re not a duck person, there is no question that the tender coca-cola braised meat complements the soft tortillas in a way that any duck lover has not experienced before. Since the meat is braised in coca-cola, the duck has this subtle sweet flavor that is unparalleled.

Shrimp Heads at Tempura Matsui

Although at first read it may seem unappetizing, what could be better than just plain old shrimp? You got it, shrimp heads. Believe or not, shrimp heads actually have much more flavor, especially when they are Japanese tiger shrimp golden fried to perfection.

Pine Leaves Smoked Mackerel at Oiji

Even if pine leaves are not the first thing you’d think of to accompany some deliciously smoked mackerel, these leaves provide a very distinct taste to complement the softness of the fish. The intense flavor of the pine leaves will definitely have you coming back for more.

Sticky buns at Sadelle’s

Top Dishes - Sticky BunsLet me just preface this portion to say that these sticky buns are by no means average in any way. Sadelle’s takes this underrated dessert food and elevates it to a whole different level. It is absolutely a must-have and is perfect comfort food for the holidays.

Roast chicken at Houseman

Who doesn’t love roast chicken? For me, it’s one of those dishes that can be served or eaten any time of year and Houseman has mastered its endless appeal. The only thing left to do is to go try it yourself.