Happy New Year! In preparing to write this piece, our last of 2015, we were blown away by all the food that has been cooked and eaten by the people we have met in the places we have been. Thank you to all for making it another great food year for our AmNewsFOOD readers and me!
There is so much on which to look back that we must break it down and offer mere highlights of the year. You will find some of our favorite recipes, new and old; reviews of Harlem and NYC restaurants, food festivals and shows; travel eats, both local and national; and a cornucopia of other food sundries.
From the condiment to the main dish to the annual Thanksgiving turkey, we laid out a smorgasbord of recipes for your personal cookbook, covering holidays, celebrations, gatherings and every night of the week family meals. Our favorite was making David Chang’s Korean pork dish, bo ssam, for the first time. It is not a short process, but the payoff in a lettuce leaf with rice, kimchi and condiments is a party in the mouth that will make your guests bow down.
Though no human being could eat at every restaurant in this city, our reviews made a little dent, from the last northern street of Manhattan (brunch at Indian Road Café) to Crown Heights (dinner at Mayfield). In between were wicked good California cuisine at Upland in the Flatiron area, an inventive menu at Murray’s Cheese Bar in Greenwich Village, a transformative experience at Traif in Williamsburg, crazy good barbeque in Red Hook at Hometown BBQ and right on time ramen at Chuko in Prospect Heights.
They say a restaurant opens and closes every day in New York City, and 2015 is no exception. We are so grateful to have reviewed Empire Diner under the direction of Chef Amanda Freitag before its recent closing. Her approach was a whimsical throwback to the irreverent times of NYC dining. We are sure her next venture will be even better.
We did travel beyond the five boroughs, both locally and nationally, tasting as we went along. Locally we were in Upstate New York at Roundhouse in Beacon, Blue Plate in Chatham, The Helm in Greenwood Lake and Weed Orchards in Marlboro, picking fruit with friends. Rockin’ Ramen in New Rochelle and Shin Vineyard on the North Fork of Long Island proved to be a boon!
Nationally, Louisville, Ky. housed a bastion of up-and-coming eateries, and traipsing through Woodford Reserve bourbon distillery, in bourbon country, couldn’t be helped. Thank you to the Wicker Park area and the Purple Pig of Chicago and to Kelly’s Landing and the food trucks of Fort Lauderdale.
Thank goodness for creative food people and planners, lest there would be no awesome festivals or events to cover. Shout outs to Identita Golose for an Italian extravaganza at Eataly, Experience Harlem for the convivial annual food crawls and Harlem Park to Park for my first time judging the annual bake off at the Harlem Harvest Festival.
Thanks to the Harlem Hospitality and Culinary Conference, International Restaurant Show and Fancy Food Show. If you are thinking about starting something in food, these events are the ones to put on your 2016 calendar to attend.
Some firsts for us and first ever in 2015 were the warming and on-trend Broth Fest, Night Out benefiting No Kid Hungry and the irreverent Taste Talks in Brooklyn, where guest curator Questlove killed it both on the wheels and with the band of chefs gathered for our palates. Rockin’!
However, no first was as important as Harlem’s first Harlem EatUp! festival held in May, where locals and other guests converged on the neighborhood to celebrate its food and culture. And in another first, AmNewsFOOD held a contest for Harlem purveyors to sample their food during the festival. Congratulations again to Angela Fuller of Simplicious and Zuhirah Khaldun-Diarra of Chez Diarra. Look out for your opportunity to showcase your creation at Harlem EatUp! 2016!
That “cornucopia of other food sundries” we mentioned includes Melba Wilson of Melba’s, who allowed us to peek behind the scenes on “Consumed,” the opening of Vendy Plaza at La Marqueta, the revolutionary Black Chef Summer Series held at Blujeen, the chefs and foods at the US Open and Try the World, bringing the food of the world to your doorstep in a pretty blue box. Also, our new series, “Something to Wine About,” highlighted South African wine and spirits!
We did it! Yes, another year has come to an end. Whether it has been good, bad or indifferent, change is the common denominator. I hope there are lessons learned this year that propel you to greater balance weathering the highest highs and lowest lows sure to come.
A very happy New Year to you. 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.