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Eat and Drink

NYC popcorn: Where to find the most tasty, buttery and unusual

The day of reckoning for the year's best films is this Sunday, March 4, which means you're placing final bets for best actress award in the office pool, watching as many of the contenders as possible and stocking up for your viewing party.

Popcorn -- the snack synonymous with all things cinema -- undoubtedly makes all of those activities better.

We've rounded up our favorite kinds in the city, running the gamut from sweet to savory. Some are served by the handful, some by the bowl, some by the tin. Whether you're headed to the bar, the movie theater or the store, we bet you'll find something to your taste below:

Distilled's house popcorn with "magic dust"

Chef Shane Lyons sprinkles his
Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Chef Shane Lyons sprinkles his "magic dust" -- a mix of nutritional yeast, garlic powder, toasted cumin, gochugaru (red chili powder), sugar and sea salt -- on Distilled's popular house popcorn, which has earned the nickname "crack corn." Oh, and it's free! (211 W. Broadway, 212-601-9514, distilledny.com)

Roni-Sue's BaCorn

Old school confectionary Roni-Sue's Chocolates is known for
Photo Credit: Roni-Sue's Chocolates

Old school confectionary Roni-Sue's Chocolates is known for its chocolate-and-bacon combinations, but the sweet and salty mix rises to a whole new level when it's on popcorn. Chili-spiked peanuts add a nice hot crunch to the molasses and brown sugar coating. One bag is $8. (148 Forsyth St., 212-677-1216, roni-sue.com)

Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels' Cacio e Popcorn

The Little Italy wine bar makes its dinner
Photo Credit: The Judy Lab

The Little Italy wine bar makes its dinner snack with black pepper and pecorino cheese, in the style of the classic Roman pasta, cacio e pepe. It's worth the $7 price tag, we think. (249 Centre St., 212-343-3660, compagnienyc.com)

Clinton Hall's Carnival waffles

One of the beer hall's three
Photo Credit: Clinton Hall

One of the beer hall's three "WTF Waffles," this towering confection starts with stacks of cinnamon waffles and scoops of vanilla ice cream. Cotton candy, caramel sauce, hot fudge, sprinkles and caramel popcorn bedizen the whole thing with as much sugar as your pancreas can handle. A waffle cone caps the top. (19 Fulton St., 212-233-0305; 90 Washington St., 212-363-6000, clintonhallny.com)

Pop Karma's Zen Cheddar popcorn

This New York City-based gourmet popcorn vendor air
Photo Credit: Pop Karma

This New York City-based gourmet popcorn vendor air pops its organic kernels without any additives, its website says. Get a tin of the classic sweet (caramel) and savory (white cheddar) flavors for a surprisingly tasty mix. Or branch out into seasonal options like sweet cinnamon or salt & vinegar (like your favorite chips). Having trouble making up your mind? You can always ask for samples. (95 Orchard St., popkarma.com)

ABC Kitchen's salted caramel ice cream sundae

Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten knows that salty-sweet is one
Photo Credit: ABC Kitchen

Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten knows that salty-sweet is one addictive flavor combination. At his restaurant inside the ABC Carpet & Home department store, a lunch of locally-sourced, organic veggies should balance out this indulgent dessert: a $14 salted caramel ice cream sundae garnished with whipped cream, hot fudge and, for that extra crunch, candied peanuts and popcorn. (35 E. 18th St., 212-475-5829, abckitchennyc.com)

Desnuda's truffle popcorn

Both locations of the cevicheria serve truffle popcorn
Photo Credit: Desnuda

Both locations of the cevicheria serve truffle popcorn by the bowlful. A take on garlic popcorn, which is common in Peru with ceviche, Desnuda's is made with truffle salt and truffle oil. It's complimentary, too, so don't be afraid to go for seconds. And thirds. (122 E. Seventh St., 212-254-3515; 221 S. First St., Williamsburg, 718-387-0563, desnudany.com)

Garrett Popcorn's Garrett Mix

This Chicago-based popcorn brand has only popped up
Photo Credit: Garrett Popcorn

This Chicago-based popcorn brand has only popped up with a single branch in New York City, near Penn Station. To do Garrett's right, you should buy a tin -- which come in sizes as ginormous as 6.5 gallons -- of its signature mix: half-salty cheddar and half-buttery caramel. (Fun fact: the company called this blend its "Chicago Mix" until the St. Paul, Minn.-based popcorn chain Candyland sued it over rights to the name.) Nut lovers also may enjoy concoctions of caramel corn and crispy cashews, almonds, macadamia or pecans.
(242 W. 34th St., garrettpopcorn.com)

Nitehawk Cinema's pizza popcorn

What's a more classic combination than popcorn and
Photo Credit: Nitehawk Cinema

What's a more classic combination than popcorn and a movie? The boutique theater bringing patrons food and drinks directly to their seats offers four varieties of the crunchy snack ($7 to $9): plain, with salt and butter; caramel; the signature "Nitehawk" kind, with truffle butter and citric salt; and pizza, with truffle butter, Parmesan, oregano, crispy pepperoni and chili flakes. (136 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn, nitehawkcinema.com)

Alamo Drafthouse's popcorn with truffle parmesan butter

Nitehawk isn't the only boutique movie theater popping
Photo Credit: Heather Leah Kennedy

Nitehawk isn't the only boutique movie theater popping some next-level kernels and bringing them right to your seat. The downtown Brooklyn venue offers three kinds of popcorn: with butter ($8); with herb parmesan ($9); and with truffle parmesan butter ($9). Pair your bowl with a pint of one of a wide selection of local craft beers on draft. (445 Albee Square W., Brooklyn, 718-513-2547, drafthouse.com)

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