New year’s goals

New Year's Card

New Year’s card by SeaAndLake via Etsy

Hey, who am I to argue with the artificial “re-set” that the calendar affords us each year? I’m going to go with it and set some intentions for a fabulous 2015. Here are my goals:


Food is my passion, my livelihood, and my commitment. So I’m darn sure going to make it fun, too. For 2015 I’m going to try a new dish each week to expand my range as a chef. This past week I tried lamb shank for the first time. I look forward to new fish, proteins, and a ton of different veggies in the summer, along with new ways to combine, prepare, and pair it all!

In the past I’ve printed my wine list by the season. But since I’m constantly bring different vintages into the restaurant, I want my customers to know about them right away. So for 2015 you can expect to see our wine list updated more often. I’m really looking forward to expanding our list and making sure our customers get to try all the different wines I buy by actually putting them on our list!

I will aim to receive another — our fourth — Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. This is an award that I’ve been so proud to have won — one of a very few establishments with a 100 mile radius that has done so — and I’d like to keep it up by winning again in 2015. This takes work, planning, a commitment to stocking and pouring a range of wines. Well, that’s what we do and we take it seriously. So this is a goal I can really pursue and enjoy!

Some recent changes in my life have made it possible to spend more time with my family and friends. And choices I make — like how to structure my free time — makes it more possible, too. All work and no play makes Mary Beth a dull girl. I can’t work all the time. Even though I love my job, there’s so much more to life. So get ready to see more of me, loved ones! :)

While I’m pursuing life’s pleasures I think I’ll travel a little more, too. Last year I went to Washington DC, San Antonio, and Austin. I want to double that this year with trips to New York and Savannah. There’s a possibility that Nashville and Asheville could be in the cards, too. And I’m hankering to try Vedge in Philadelphia! So many places to eat and so little time to do it! But I’m going to try harder to do my part to see and eat and eat and see. Life is for living!

Out, about, and on the couch, too

I vow to walk my dogs, Napoleon and Jolson, more. I get so lazy when it gets cold. We all put on our winter weight. Even when it’s chilly out I need to take out the stinkers out a little more. Walking will do us all some good.

Here’s where it gets tricky, the old exercise plan. I don’t want it to be just “exercise,” so my plan is to do more yoga. At one point I wanted to be a yoga instructor. I stopped doing yoga for a while and I recently started going back to classes and forgot how much I love it. Time to get back to it!

And finally, my priorities are really in line when I schedule time to finish seeing Top Chef. I’m down to my last two seasons! It’s been a long and arduous journey through 11 seasons and I am ready to be finished. It’s less inspiring because it’s almost a chore to watch now. But I’m determined, even if it takes a weekend on the couch, take-out from all my local haunts, and a binge watch. Top Chef, I’m ready to quit you, but not before seeing you in all your glory.

What are your 2015 plans?

Well, Happy New Year whatever you do, and remember to check out my holiday week hours.

— Mary Beth Harris, Proprietress, AVA Restaurant and Wine Bar

Mary Beth Harris About Mary Beth Harris

Mary Beth Harris is the proprietress of AVA Restaurant and Wine Bar. She's been in the restaurant business for 12 years and is the former owner of The Darjeeling Cafe.