What a year, that 2016! She giveth and taketh away. There are the most evident topics, which don’t need addressing here. Suffice it to say, we shall see what the next four years have in store for us. Let’s just vibrate within the pages of AmNewsFOOD for now.

The year began with a sad farewell (for now) to my bestie, Raquel, as she moved out to Seattle to begin a new life with my nephew Spencer. We of course marked the occasion with a movie and a meal at Houseman in Hudson Square. The most fortuitous and telling moment being meeting chef-owner Adam Baumgarten and discovering he hailed from the Pacific Northwest, specifically Seattle. He ultimately gave us the must-eats in Seattle, a good and relieving sign of delicious meals to come.

Winter continued with serious food in the city and in the kitchen. Had another awesome dinner at Saxon + Parole. Chef Brad Farmerie really knows food. The blizzard of 2016 had me, and friend Angie Hancock of Experience Harlem, traipsing the snow-covered empty streets to friends’ homes for chili, soups and stews with my sippy cup of wine in tow.

I discovered my new favorite meatball while on a ski weekend with friends Nnenna and Jonathon. It is packed with spices for maximum flavor. Always wanting to learn more, I took a cooking class with TomCookery to make a multicourse Valentine’s Day dinner. Food love was certainly in the air.

Can’t forget my first visit to Charcuterie Masters in Queens, where I got to see some of my favorite meat-makers, such as Dickson’s Farmstand and taste new favorites, such as Ends Meat from Brooklyn. Their delicate pork rinds are everything.

And from carnivore to vegetarian, I am still obsessing over dinner at Nix with my Fab 5 crew. The Michelin-starred chef of Dovetail’s newest restaurant serving only vegan and vegetarian foods was slightly terrifying, but not one corner of flavor is held back there. My recommendation to vegetarian friends for a romantic dinner hit the mark, again!

Spring brought the second annual Harlem EatUp! festival and some tremendous dining experiences both in and out of Harlem. AmNewsFOOD showcased three winners of the I’m So AmNewsFOOD contest during the festival and, in 11 years of our section, we had our very first eight-page pullout highlighting the events, people, art, culture and food of the festival. Thank you to all for your help!

Transformative dinners included the east Harlem darling, Mountain Bird, for some truly masterful cookery, warehouse dinner at the Italian importer, Gustiamo, from chef Stefania Barzini, and a welcomed Chinese surprise at Shanghai 46 in Fairfield, N.J. Can’t forget my birthday dinner at chef Scott Conant’s latest restaurant, Impero Caffe, either.

Stay tuned for summer and fall of 2016 memories next week.

Happy eating and thanks for reading!

Kysha Harris is a food writer and editor, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service in NYC for more than 15 years. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @SCHOPgirl, on Facebook, /SCHOPnyc and on her blog, www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations? Email AmNewsFOOD at AmNewsFOOD@SCHOPnyc.com. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @NYAmNewsFOOD and tag us with #SoAmNewsFOOD with your food finds!