Happy New Year! You know how the holidays go. You are pulled in every direction trying to get it all done. Gifts for loved ones, sending out holiday cards, menu planning, grocery shopping, holiday parties, travel planning, all the while holding down other responsibilities you have at home and work.

Yes, the food was bomb this Christmas at my mother’s home with all hands on deck (major shout-outs to my niece Courtney, the Christmas 2016 MVP), but getting there is a whole other animal. That’s why I am thankful for my best good friends Marjorie and Sam for our annual Christmas Eve gathering. I was so ready for it this year I arrived a day early so Marj and I could have a little catch up time.

Marj knew exactly where to go. We headed to Fig & Olive (@FigandOlive_USA, 696 White Plains Rd., Scarsdale, 914-725-2900, www.figandolive.com). It had been many years since my last visit to the Fig & Olive in the Meatpacking District, but longevity in the restaurant industry means they are doing something right.

Walking in, I was instantly reminded of Fig & Olive’s classic modern design with wine bottles and olive oil cans lining the walls. Just beating the dinner rush, we had our pick of the place and settled down toward the back.

We started with some wine and decided on their prix fixe dinner because it captured some of the a la carte dishes we were eyeing, starting with the crostini tasting. Between us we ordered burrata with tomato, pesto and balsamic; goat cheese with caramelized onion and chive; octopus with hummus and pimenton; shrimp with avocado, cilantro and tomato; and prosciutto with ricotta, fig, olive and walnut. We

could have stopped here.

We moved on to appetizers of F&O salad and decadent truffle mushroom croquettes. The latter was a serious food moment with its delicate fried coating housing an unctuous umami bomb of béchamel. We worked hard not to finish those.

For our entrees, Marj tried something new with penne fungi, and I took a departure from the Italian fare and was pleasantly surprised by F&O tagine. That is two braised chicken thighs in a flavorful broth with vegetables, figs and olives with couscous, toasted almond slivers, chermoula and harissa oil served on the side. I was transported to Morocco.

We ended with a yummy smooth chocolate pot de crème and dessert “crostini” of shortbreads topped with mascarpone, pistachio and liqueur macerated cherries. That was a perfect last bite.

Dinner or not, great friends are always on the menu! Thank you Marj! Love you!

Happy eating and thanks for reading!