The second part of 2016 brought a second Pacific Northwest reunion with my bestie Raquel and nephew Spencer! I flew into SeaTac and we headed southwest for a weekend in Tenino and Olympia before returning to Seattle for a week of fun and food.

The small city of Tenino is the home of one of the best Mexican meals I have ever had, at Don Juan’s Mexican Kitchen. Back in Seattle, highly recommended The Walrus & The Carpenter took us to food and dining nirvana with fresh local oysters and an open kitchen. And we found sushi salvation at Umi Sake House, too.

Spring into summer is one of my favorite times to be cooking, and cooking we did, with recipes from the grill to the oven to the stovetop. With salt potatoes, garlic scapes, halibut, chimichurri, steak, stuffed mushrooms and more, that time of the year is just around the corner again.

There are a couple of “never to be forgotten” nights out in New York City in 2016 with friends, such as at the James Hemings Foundation dinner at the James Beard House for a multicourse culinary re-enactment of the Jefferson-Hamiliton dinner of 1790. A talented group of chefs, including some of Harlem’s own, came together and put on a truly transformative evening. Also, the pop-up dinner hosted by Blue Moon and Los Angeles food truck guru, chef Roy Choi, broke the routine of just dining out.

A late summer return to Martha’s Vineyard is always welcomed, but last year brought dining at the exact table of the first family at Down Island for a seasonal local meal with my first family. Daily trips to the beach were replete with simple but memorable salads and bites from Rosewater and Black Sheep I want to duplicate. Caviar on the beach sent me over…

An always-welcomed visit to friends Lisa and Doug’s home in the Berkshires, of course, brought not only copious cooking but also a first-time visit to Great Barrington farmers market and to my first county fair. Although I would not get on any of the rides at the Columbia County fair, I would certainly have a corn dog and fresh lemonade while taking in everything the fair had to offer.

Fall of 2016 brought a girlfriends’ weekend in Austin, Texas. Although it was our first in five-plus years, it was right on time! Meals at Dai Due, Forthright, Franklin Barbeque and Emmer & Rye were not to be forgotten—ever! Chicago 2017!

Since I was halfway to LA, I decided I would continue from Austin for my first visit in more than seven years. With the journey more about reconnecting with friends than food, Magpies soft-serve ice cream, fresh eats at Lemonade and the brunch at the SoHo House in Malibu were standouts.

As Nov. 8 drew near, came and went, I consoled myself with my slow cooker, my first Friendsgiving in Virginia and dinner at the newest Tom Colicchio restaurant, among others. Tuscan vegetable stew, ribolita, drew me back in time to a milestone birthday in Italy. Friendsgiving is now added to the rotation, and although expensive, Fowler & Wells and The Beekman Hotel are worth a visit back in time.

Now, I worked on New Year’s Eve 2016, which means prosperity for the New Year. Look out 2017!

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 her blog, Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback?  Invitations!  Email AmNewsFOOD at Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @NYAmNewsFOOD and tag us with #SoAmNewsFOOD with your food finds!