There is something so special about two holidays in one weekend. The opportunity to reconnect with family and friends over food, drink, spirituality and community proves to be rejuvenating for the soul and right on time for the dawn of a new season.

Saturday night marked an annual seat at my good friends and neighbors Lisa and Doug’s Passover seder table. Lisa never fails to put some serious soul in the food, and Doug some comedy in the reading of the Haggadah (the official seder guide) replete with pausing to play Bob Marley’s “Exodus” to highlight the Jewish liberation from Egypt. We were all jammin’!

Doug continued, leading us through the ceremony from Kadesh (blessing of the first cup of wine) to Nirtzah (final prayer) with a smile on his face. Lisa took care of Shulchan Orech (the meal), which started with gefilte fish and horseradish for me and, for the table, Lisa’s now ridiculously delicious matzah ball soup, featuring big, fluffy, light matzah balls wading in a clear, savory chicken broth with shredded chicken and hearty vegetables. Seconds was a mitzvah (a blessing) for us all.

The second course, sweet and spicy brisket, received a gasp of delight from the table when it simply fell apart from the gentle touch of the serving fork. Together with roasted broccoli and creamy mashed potatoes, seconds was yet another mitzvah … and thirds, too. Good thing the kids were preoccupied finding the afikoman (hidden piece of matzah) before we finished with some kosher sweets, including my homemade flourless dark chocolate almond chocolate chip cookies. Mazel tov!

Easter Sunday brought me together with my brother and sister-in-law and their families at a restaurant I’ve wanted to try, if for nothing else than to sit a table once used on the set of “The Sopranos” (the owners are former film production friends). Thank goodness a reservation for eight was to be had at Indian Road Cafe (@IndianRoadCafe, 600 W. 218th St., www.indianroadcafe.com). We piled in the car and headed to the last street on the northwestern tip of Manhattan.

Our prime table next to the live piano player belting out standards boasted a view of the Spuyten Duyvil Creek and neighboring Riverdale. It could have been the holiday or maybe because it was Sunday, but the place was packed!

The special holiday menu was a boon! However, our late reservation had me miss the Hudson Valley duck rillettes. No matter, the spring salad with arugula, breakfast radish, kumquats and blackberries hit a couple of us, as well as the special crab cake eggs Benedict with Parmesan hash brown. I added a side of creamed spinach to take it over the edge. Others enjoyed chipotle steak and eggs and tofu scramble.

We tried to leave without dessert, but when I saw not just cannolis on the menu, but official Arthur Avenue cannolis, I had to get one! My nephew Walker and sister-in-law Pia succumbed as well, while my other nephew, Alex, and his grandmother Josie did their best with behemoth slices of German chocolate cake. My brother Larry indulged in vegan double chocolate cake, to his surprise.

Our time at Indian Road Cafe ended with a sing-along of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” and rousing applause for both the entertainment and the experience. I will return for their dinner menu filled with a smorgasbord of savory dishes, including fondue, guanciale and hopefully duck.

Thank you to Lisa, Doug, Larry and all of their guests for creating the moment and making it special. Blessings to you all.

Happy eating and thanks for reading!
Kysha Harris is a food writer, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service offering weekly and in-home entertaining packages. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations? Email her at kysha@iSCHOP.com, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @SCHOPgirl or on Facebook www.facebook.com/SCHOPnyc. For even more recipes, tips and food musings, subscribe to her blog at www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com.