We did it. We made it through summer 2020 in COVID times. I do not take it for granted. I feel fortified for fall and the November battle against tyranny, delusion and ignorance. YOUR VOTE COUNTS! Start making your voting plan now!

So what, the unofficial end of summer has come…the party is not over! Let there be plenty more socially-distant gatherings…with select friends and family…outside…with masks. Yes, I know…but we are survivors, people! Continue to celebrate life!

For inspiration, I flashback to one such gathering had during my stay in Martha’s Vineyard to celebrate a friend’s birthday. The theme, Tacos + Tequila. My cousin Quinn and her man Bob put the mash down on it all. I sous-cheffed Bob and put my foot up in a coupl’a thangs.

With an abundance of fresh, seasonal and high-quality ingredients available, one must do right by them. For his proteins, Bob would only shop at Edgartown Meat & Fish and I would find out why. Gorgeous meats, poultry, seafood and fish, house made sausage and hotdogs. My favorite was all of the freshly marinating cuts of meat and wings. Such a brilliant idea to assist shoppers and cooks in the kitchen.

Bob’s menu called for flank steak, wings, beef tips and shrimp. Each protein was marinated in their own concoction before being kissed by the grill. The beef and shrimp were for tacos and the wings for…wings (duh!).

The vegetable accompaniments were the requisite late summer juicy corn on the cob, slightly charred on the grill and a deftly prepared Veracruz style shaved red coleslaw. I added sliced zucchini, salted the day before to draw out moisture before brushing with olive oil and finishing on the grill.

In building the perfect taco, Bob knew rice and beans were essential. He did his secret magic on some dynamite black beans in the morning. I made my aromatic cilantro-lime rice with cilantro stems, onion heel, garlic, salt and pepper and butter. Once done, I grated in the zest of one lime and its juice.

And just as important as the main ingredients is all of the condiments and taco toppings. Bob made fresh pico de gallo, lime crema, cotija cheese, thinly sliced jalapeno and radish and lime for that last kiss. Oh, and Bob’s quick guacamole trick? Ripe avocados and your favorite salsa filled with all of the necessary guacamole ingredients (onion, garlic, tomato, lime, salt, cilantro) plus fresh cilantro. Done.

As we gear up for what is to come do not let the moments overwhelm you. Lay it down for a spell and give the party within you a little shine. Blessings.

Stay safe, wear a mask, eat well 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 over 15 years. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @SCHOPgirl, on Facebook, /SCHOPnyc, and 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!