Most people probably see cranberry sauce as a simple condement. And for such a simple condement, why should you spend a lot of time making it from scratch, when you can buy it for $2 a can? Why, you ask? Because the real thing is worlds better than anything you can get out of the can.
While I always liked cranberry sauce, I never felt like I could be bothered with the extra effort. The turkey, quite franky, was much more important and more worthy of my effort than some simple cranberry sauce. Boy was I wrong.
Last year at Thanksgiving, I made fresh cranberry sauce for the first time and I couldn't believe the difference. It was a simple recipe, with just cranberries, water, sugar, and a little orange rind. But it make such a big difference in our meal that I vowed never to eat cranberry sauce out of the can again.
This year, I decided to take the cranberry sauce to another level. We're having some friends over for Thankgiving this year and one of them is a big bourbon fan. So to kick up the cranberry sauce, I decided to use bourbon in the recipe. There isn't much guidance out there about adding Bourbon to cranberry sauce, but I did find a recipe on Epicurious about Cosmopolitan Cranberry Sauce.
This gave me an idea, maybe I can use a bourbon drink recipe as inspiration my cranberry sauce. So I looked for good bourbon and cranberry drink recipes until I came across this blog post about reinventing the Bardstown Sling (which I had never had before).
I improvised the recipe a little. I started with a basic cranberry sauce recipe and added any alcohol after the cooking cranberry sauce and letting it cool. In a short 20 minutes, during which I also made my boys lunch and changed a diaper, I had sweet, homemade cranberry sauce. The brilliant thing about cranberry sauce is you can make a lot of it in a short time and store it in the refrigerator for up to a week. Whatever is leftover, you can freeze and bring out for any meal in the future.
So here is my Cranberry Sauce for Grown Ups recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Bourbon Orange Cranberry Sauce
16 oz. fresh whole cranberries 1/2 cup water 1 cup sugar (use less if you like you cranberry sauce more on the tart side, you can also use honey or maple sugar) 1 tbsp lime juice 1 tbsp Cointreau 1/4 cup Bourbon
In a medium sauce pan, mix sugar, water, lime juice, and cranberries and bring to a boil. Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes until the cranberry sauce has your desired texture and thickness.
Remove the sauce from the saucepan and transfer to a mixing bowl until it is cool. (This would be the time to separate out the cranberry sauce for the kids from the adults.) Once cooled, mix in the Cointreau and Bourbon. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
This was my first attempt at cooking stuffing. This Thanksgiving I plan on cooking everything from scratch, and even though it is a big task to take on, I am very excited.
Last weekend I decided to do a test run for the stuffing that I will make for Thanksgiving day, because to me, stuffing is more important than the Turkey. I love stuffing and, in my opinion, having poor-tasting stuffing on the big day can ruin the whole meal.
The first thing I did to prepare for my big cooking day was to peruse the internet for stuffing recipes. I looked at the MarthaStewart website, where I got the idea to use bacon. I read Simplyrecipes, where I got the idea for using French bread. And then I read a myriad of other blogs to get the basics for cooking stuffing. I decided to make a medley of the different recipes and to make my stuffing with prunes, sausage, bacon, and french baguette besides the regular ingredients such as celery, chicken stock, onions and butter.
I woke up on Sunday morning and went to the Bethesda Central Farmers Market, and walked around to see which ingredients I could purchase. I try to prepare most of dishes with organic ingredients when I can. I stopped by the Meat Crafters stand and purchased some Kielbasa sausage. (Apparently their recipe is a traditional recipe made of fresh pork, garlic, marjoram, and black pepper.) Then I walked over to the Bending Bridge Farm stand and purchased some onions. They grow their produce with care and patience and offer a myriad of fresh, organic produce.
Beside sausage and onions, I was not able to purchase any of the other ingredients I needed, so I went to my local supermarket where I was able to find the remaining ingredients. I headed home and immediately began cooking.
Bacon-Sausage-Prune infused Stuffing:
1 whole wheat French baguette 1 cup prunes (cut the prunes in half) 1 cup chopped celery 1 cup chopped onion 1 1/4 cup of chicken stock 6 tbsp of butter 4 or 5 strips of bacon 2 keilbasa sausages chopped 2 tbsp of sage 1/2 tbsp of rosemary 1/2 tbsp of thyme Salt and Pepper to taste
I tore up the French bread into small pieces, and since it was not a day old, it was still very fresh, a good trick, I learned, is to put the bread in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees or until it dries out. Then place the bread in a medium sized saute pan over medium heat, cover the bread with 3 tablespoons of butter and let the bread brown but not burn. In a different pan saute the onions, celery, and sausage in 3 tablespoons of butter. Let the sausage fully brown then add the bacon. After the bacon has been completely fried and become crispy add the sauteed bread from the other pan, all of the chicken stock, sage, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Then cover the mixture and allow to simmer on a low heat for an hour. Every 15 minutes check on the mixture to make sure it has not become too mushy and is not sticking to the pan.
If I may say so myself, the stuffing tuned out well. It had the perfect balance of flavors and it was not too salty (I feared this because of the chicken stock). This stuffing was very easy to make and did not take a lot of prep time. Perhaps the one thing I will add for Thanksgiving day are some chestnuts. I find chestnuts to be a very fall/wintery ingredient and should add some texture to the stuffing.
Voila. You have a delicious organic easy to make stuffing for your turkey on the big day.
Thanksgiving Turkeys, Get your orders in while you can
This is just a friendly reminder to everyone not to wait too long to get your fresh turkey order in!
In my personal experience, a fresh turkey from a farm is much better than any of the frozen birds you can get at a grocery store. The benefits of a fresh bird are The cook time is almost half that of a frozen turkey and the turkey comes out much better tasting and juicy. Even at the farmers market, if you pick it up at the farmers market, many times the farmer the bird is still frozen before they give it to you, which really kind of defeats the purpose of getting it from the farmer. In any case, check with the farmer or vendor before you order it to make sure it will be delivered fresh and not frozen.
The problem is sometimes it's a hike to get to a "local" farm. So if driving out to one of the farms listed below isn't an option for you, check with your local Whole Foods, Moms Organic Market, or the Organic Butcher in McLean and ask to make sure the turkey you order will never be frozen. But just remember that you will pay a premium for the convenience.
The Grateful Harvest: A F@#%ING Cranberry Ale Worth Drinking.
Cranberry Ale! Cranberry, NUT CRUNCH F@#%ING ALE! Let me tell ya something folks, Cranberries and beer do not go together! One’s for bladder infections, one’s for getting DRUNK!
Thus spake then coke-fueled comedian, present-day animated saber-toothed tiger Dennis Leary way back in the early nineties. Funny rant, and there was once a point when I agreed. Don't remember the bit? Check it out below (suffice it to say, this is pretty damned NSFW, so put on some headphones).
The world of beer has changed a lot in the past 20 years. I wonder if the calmer, more well-heeled Leary of today feels the same about microbrews as he did in his psycho days. Well, the man did make a good point: Sam Adams Cranberry Ale sucks. This beer was also my introduction to fruit beers, and I did not take another turn at it for a many a year. Honestly, I don't know why they keep making that crap; I guess someone must buy it. In any case, another Boston brewery has recently taken up the cranberry for brewing inspiration, and pulled it off with style and grace.
Harpoon's Grateful Harvest Cranberry Ale is a new addition to the venerable old brewery's stable of lagers and ales, and the first whose proceeds go directly to Harpoon Helps, the philanthropic wing of said brewery. For each six pack sold, Harpoon donates one dollar to a food charity local to the point of sale. According to the brewery, Harpoon Helps has already raised more than $230,000 for local charities this year, and has donated more than 16,000 pints to charitable events.
Charity is all well and good, but if the beer is no good, they aren't likely to sell a bunch. Fortunately, Harpoon did a damned fine job with this one. The beer pours a pretty russet brown, with slightly red highlights, and a short lived, off-white head. The nose is a rich amalgam of roasted nuts, dark red fruit and earth, along with a hint of malted grain. On the attack this beer is both sweet and tart, and flavored of sweet malt and dried leaves. The beer is slightly creamy on the mid-palate, where the cranberry flavor kicks in, leading into a dry, malty, bitter fruit accented finish.
Where the Sam Adams Cranberry Ale is an over the top fruit bomb, Harpoon's Grateful Harvest is a highly drinkable, subtly flavored brown ale which anyone might enjoy. It's seasonally appropriate, charitable, and delicious; what's not to love? I picked up a six-pack at the Whole Foods in Arlington for $8.99, which I find to be a bargain. Unfortunately, I have not found a single other store that carries it in DC -- even the P Street Whole Foods doesn't have it, which really surprised me. I will keep my eyes open and update this post with more locations as I find them. In the meantime, the beer is available through December, according to Harpoon's website, and easily ordered from the local distributor, so encourage your favorite local shop to get you a case for your Thanksgiving shenanigans.
Last Minute Turkey Wines, and a Way to Perk Up Our Troops.
Thanksgiving is quite easily my favorite holiday. Sure, Christmas is great, but it's expensive these days; Halloween hasn't been anything worth getting excited about since I was like 10; Easter has kinda lost its charm since this lapsed Catholic has realized all the various ways in which he is damned. Thanksgiving, though, is perfect -- all the gluttony and overindulgence, without the crassness, and costumes, and guilt about going to hell and junk. But with all the prep work that comes with preparing for family, it's understandable for one to forget a detail or two. For those of you who left wine till the last minute this year, I've got a couple of quirky all-American crowd-pleasers that pair well with practically any meal.
David Hill is a small, 140 acre farm winery based out of Willamette Valley, Oregon. This humble field blend -- a mixture of Semillon, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and Sylvaner -- pours a pretty, pale straw yellow. This wine gives up plenty of muscat grape, pear and golden delicious apple on the nose, along with tropical undertones. The attack is slightly sweet and a bit minty, leading on to more grape and some zesty lime, and ending with a pleasant dry finish. This combination of sweetness and high acidity is unusual in a wine of this price, and makes this one a winner with everything from appetizers to dessert.
Edmunds St. John "That Old Black Magic" -- 2006, Purchased at Ace Beverage for $19.99
The Berkeley-based Edmunds St. John is one of the few domestic producers to specialize in Rhone varietals, and they make some really novel, food friendly wines. This blend of Grenache and Syrah offers lots of complicated autumnal scents on the nose, featuring overripe apple, curry spice, and dark berry fruit. Chewy tannin and dark plummy fruit lead into a medium-bodied, bold, velvety mid-palate, and a lengthy, fruit and curry flavored finish. This spicy treat would match well with any of your traditional Thanksgiving foods, and according to the label, is "Cellared and Bottled by Wayward Pilgrims of the Vine," making it an all but a perfect pickup.
But of course, Thanksgiving is about more than just gluttony -- we Americans have plenty to be thankful for, and owe a lot to the people that protect us. If you find yourself in the Georgetown neighborhood in the next few weeks, take a swing by the Starbucks at 3122 M St., and pick up a coffee for our troops. Apparently, the US Army's 1st Cavalry Division is short on coffee, and one thoughtful Starbucks manager has decided to do something about it. When you pay for your latte, you can also pay for a few packets of Via -- Starbucks' new coffee concentrate -- which they will ship to our troops stationed in Baghdad. The thought of going through a day without caffeine makes me slightly sick; I can't even imagine doing so under the constant physical and mental stress inherent in combat. Though a cup of coffee might seem insignificant, to someone so far from home, undergoing such deprivation and hardship, even the smallest comfort can make a huge difference.
Foodie To-Do List: Restaurants Open Thanksgiving from Dining In to Carrying Out
As part of an ongoing effort to alert you, the readers of DC Foodies, to all of the really cool food-related events, classes and opportunities throughout the Washington Metropolitan area, we give you this week's edition of the Foodie To-Do List.
While we usually dish up a trio of upcoming events for you to put on your calendar, this week we're taking a look at some of the many restaurants offering Thanksgiving specials that can help take some (or all) of the stress off the host. Whether you're looking to purchase pies, ship in some sides or just let the pros handle the whole meal, we've got you covered:
1789 Restaurant and Clyde's Restaurant Group:
The historic 1789 Restaurant, located at 1226 26th Street, NW in Georgetown, is creating a menu to satisfy both traditional and adventurous palates this Thanksgiving. Available from 12 Noon to 9 p.m., the new seasonal a la carte menu will include oyster and Applewood smoked bacon gratin with braised salsify, aged gruyere and brioche croutons; sweet potato gnocchi with toasted walnuts, baby spinach and ricotta salata; fresh ham with roasted pineapple and Montgomery cheddar casserole served with stewed mustard greens and Blis Bourbon Barrel maple syrup glaze as well as braised beef short ribs served with honeyed parsnip puree, citrus baby carrots and horseradish jus. A $50 fixed price (excluding gratuity and tax), three-course Thanksgiving menu is also an option, which includes a choice of pumpkin soup or bitter greens and citrus salad, turkey with all of the trimmings, and a full selection of desserts accompanied by coffee or tea. Valet parking is complimentary. For reservations please call (202) 965-1789.
Additionally, ten landmark restaurants within Clyde’s Restaurant Group will also be featuring a traditional Thanksgiving feast on Thursday, November 26th. Turkey with all the trimmings is priced at $24.95 for adults and $14.95 for a child’s portion (exclusive of tax and gratuity). Menu highlights include sage-sausage stuffing, green beans, whipped potatoes, glazed sweet potatoes, classic turkey gravy and cranberry sauce. For dessert, guests will have a choice of apple or pecan pie à la mode or pumpkin pie topped with a dollop of whipped cream. The full Thanksgiving menu will also be available to enjoy at the bar for those who would like to watch football. For more information about the ten participating Clyde’s locations and hours of operation for Thanksgiving, please visit http://clydes.com/main/Whats_Happening.cfm?Section=Thanksgiving_2009.
The aptly-named 701 is located at 701 Pennsylvania Ave., NW. The recently renovatedrestaurant will feature a special Thanksgiving menu priced at $45 per person, excluding gratuity and tax. The prix-fixe holiday menu is available from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and it features three courses of Modern American cuisine with choices including Alaskan King Crab Risotto with black trumpet mushrooms, squash, and wilted greens; Roast Pork Chop with potato gnocchi, baby vegetables, gala apple, and whole grain mustard butter; and the 701 Turkey Breast with duck confit stuffing, potato puree, root vegetable brunoise and cranberry relish. 701’s live jazz duo of piano and bass will be performing during the Thanksgiving service. Valet parking is available for $7. For more information and reservations please call (202) 393-0701.
Ardeo, located at 3111 Connecticut Ave., NW, is presenting a three-course Thanksgiving dinner for $40 per person, excluding gratuity and tax. Dishes include fennel pollen-crusted ahi tuna with fennel puree, wild arugula, cara cara orange; roasted Duroc pork loin with savoy cabbage, heirloom apple puree, baby carrots and the traditional roasted turkey with chestnut and sage stuffing, mashed potatoes, dried cranberry gravy. For dessert, try pumpkin bread pudding with vanilla crème anglaise and toasted pepitas. This holiday meal is available from 12 noon to 8 p.m. and valet parking is available for $5. For reservations please call (202) 244-6750.
The recently opened Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca, located at 1100 New York Ave NW (entrance on 12th and H Streets side), will feature a special Thanksgiving menu on November 26th from 12 noon to 8 p.m. The three-course pre-fixe menu is priced at $45 per person and will feature starters such as Castagne, chestnut soup with Cotechino sausage, grappa cream and seppie in umido and Adriatic fisherman’s cuttlefish stew with chickpea puree and flat parsley. Featured entrees include butternut squash ravioli, brown butter, sage, armanetti and the duo of turkey with free range turkey, potato mousseline, "Financiere"stuff. Finish off the meal with seasonal desserts such as roasted carmel apple and butternut squash robiolita cheesecake, roasted butternut squash and cow's milk cheesecake on a pistachio crust with an amaretto anglaise. Valet parking is available for $8. For reservations or more information call (202) 216-9550.
The Bombay Club, located at 815 Connecticut Avenue, NW, will feature their popular Thanksgiving Day special, Tandoori Turkey, priced at $16 excluding gratuity and tax, in addition to the full a la carte menu. =Tandoori Turkey presents boneless chunks of white meat, marinated with yogurt, ginger, garlic and fenugreek leaves. The Thanksgiving turkey is offered from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and for dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Bombay Club offers valet parking for $7. Reservations can be made by calling (202) 659-3727.
On Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 26th, BOURBON STEAK will offer an a la carte menu from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. with holiday specials to include starters such as Brown Butter-Basted Maine Lobster with Acquerello Carnaroli Risotto and Perigord Black Truffle; Roasted Chestnut Soup with Foie Gras Cromesguis and Spices Marshmallows and Endive & Asian Pear Salad with Candied Walnuts, Pomegranate, Rogue Creamery Smokey Blue. Entrée choices include Salt Roasted Prime Rib with Yorkshire Pudding, Horseradish Cream and Braised Oxtail; Glazed Duroc Pork Rack with Mustard Fruit and Stuffed Cabbage, as well as Roasted Ayreshire Farm Heirloom Turkey with Foie Gras Stuffing, Grilled Turkey Sausage and Cranberry-Orange Confit. Dessert will feature Kabocha Squash Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butter Pecan Ice Cream, and Pumpkin Seed Nougatine; Winchester Apple Confit with Spiced Rum Financier and Goats Milk Dulce de Leche as well as Silken Chocolate Panna Cotta with Red Velvet Cake, Cocoa Nib Ice Cream and Crispy Beets, the perfect ending to any holiday feast. Menu specials range from $11 to $44.
BRABO by Robert Wiedmaier and The Butcher's Block:
BRABO by Robert Wiedmaier will offer a special three-course Thanksgiving dinner. On Nov. 26, 2009, diners can enjoy a traditional turkey menu from 2:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. for $65 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. They will begin with options such as mixed green salad with seasonal vegetables, raw and braised, with a lemon vinaigrette; duck confit ravioli submerged in a creamy squash soup or Scottish smoked salmon served with potato blini and quail eggs finished with crème fraîche. For the main course, entrées include a traditional turkey dinner with sweet potato purée, Brussels sprouts and cranberry relish, served with chestnut dressing and giblet gravy; seared Chesapeake Rockfish potato gnocchi, baby artichokes and wild mushrooms and a pan-seared rib eye steak, Pennsylvania mushrooms and potato purée served with a bordelaise sauce. Dessert includes pumpkin pie served with a spiced crème fraîche and a pecan tart paired with bourbon ice cream and triple chocolate mousse terrine with white, milk and dark chocolate mousse, burnt orange cardamom sauce and pistachio tuile.
The Butcher’s Block, A Market by RW, is offering prepared dishes for Thanksgiving Day. Guests can choose from Murray’s Amish Turkeys, ordered whole and raw at $4 per pound ranging in size from 10-14 lbs; 14-18 lbs and 18-20 lbs. each. Prepared turkeys come as stuffed turkey breasts with poached and stuffed turkey thighs at $5.50 per pound. Six side dishes are available, including chestnut stuffing, sweet potato purée, cranberry relish and traditional gravy and cost $9 - $20 each for six servings. Traditional pumpkin pies will also be available for $20 each. Orders must be received today (November 18) by calling (703) 894-5253 or emailing Salena.Zellers@braborestaurant.com. All items must be picked up at The Butcher’s Block by 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 25.
In preparation for America’s iconic dinner, The Butcher’s Block, A Market by RW will host a wine tasting and chef demonstration this evening, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009, at 6:00 p.m. Potomac Selections’ Eric Hauptman will choose four wines to complement a Thanksgiving menu as Chef de Cuisine Chris Watson demonstrates how to break down, stuff and prep Murray’s Amish Turkey.
BRABO by Robert Wiedmaier, BRABO Tasting Room and The Butcher’s Block, a Market by RW, are located at 1600 King Street in Alexandria, Virginia, adjacent to Kimpton’s new Lorien Hotel & Spa. For reservations or additional information, please call (703) 894-3440 or visit http://www.braborestaurant.com/.
Co Co. Sala:
Bring home one of Co Co. Sala's Precious Pies ($18 - $22), with festive flavors such as Triple Chocolate Pecan Pie and Maple Co Co. Pumpkin Pie. Also available, Thanksgiving-themed treats such as the Hot Harvest Bar with habanero crunch and cinnamon bits ($6), the Somethin' Pumpkin Bar with pumpkin spiced chocolate truffle ($5), White Cran-Orange Bar with cranberries, oranges & pretzel sticks ($6) and Chocolate Turkey Place Card Holders ($4).
For those spending the holiday with friends & family, Co Co. Sala has designed the perfect dessert package to complete any Thanksgiving feast. Each 'Thanksgiving Dessert Buffet To-Go' is styled in a custom leather tray and filled with the following Fall favorites:
Triple Chocolate Pecan Pie Maple Co Co. Pumpkin Pie Caramelized Apple & Cinnamon Cheesecake Tart 4 Chocolate & Pumpkin Seed Brittle Barks 4 Chocolate & Caramel Baby Apples 4 Chocolate Turkey Place Card Holders
Each package is priced at $115. Orders will be taken until Monday, November 23rd and must be picked-up by Wednesday, November 25th. Co Co. Sala is located at 929 F Street, NW; Washington, DC (202-347-4265; www.cocosala.com).
CommonWealth is offering a special family-style Thanksgiving roast featuring a three-course menu of seasonal dishes. The Thanksgiving feast will be offered from 1 p.m.-8 p.m. for $35 per person, excluding gratuity and tax. The menu includes comforting holiday favorites such as roast turkey with cranberry sauce, roast beef with shallot au jus, and sides such as winter squash gratin, collard greens, and two kinds of stuffing. Guests can also choose from the a la carte menu of British-inspired snacks ranging in price from $5-$13 and the pub menu will be offered from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Complementing the comfort fare with autumnal flavors, CommonWealth boasts an impressive selection of UK and American beers. Located at 1400 Irving Street NW, CommonWealth will be accepting reservations at (202) 265-1400.
LincolnThanksgiving at Firefly President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a National Holiday. In honor of Lincoln’s proclamation, Firefly is collecting Lincolns, a.k.a $5 bills from all guests throughout the month of November. All funds collected will be donated to DC Central Kitchen - www.dccentralkitchen.org. For every ‘Lincoln’ collected, $5 will be deducted from the guest’s final check. **$5 check credit is limited to $5 per person. Firefly is located at 1310 New Hampshire Avenue, NW – www.firefly-dc.com
The Grille at Morrison House:
This year, The Grille at Morrison House will offer an a la carte menu as well as a Thanksgiving tasting menu for $85. Dishes on the tasting menu include a pig in a blanket amuse with pork Daube in phyllo, first course apple and parsnip bisque served with duck confit, apple chips and cinnamon mascarpone, a second course tasting of oyster “po-boy” featuring blue point oyster fritters, comeback sauce and cole slaw, a third course tasting of pan-roasted rockfish with clams, fingerling potatoes, spinach and a chowder cream. Fall Trio, an intermezzo of pear granite, apple paper and apple cider gelée will be served before the turkey dinner entrée of turkey roulade, turkey leg confit, cranberry chutney, pomme purée, brioche chanterelle dressing, haricots verts, sweet potato “pie” and a sage-turkey gravy. A sweet treat of pumpkin bread pudding, maple crème brulee and apple cider foam finishes the meal.
The a la carte menu features appetizer options of a waldorf salad ($11) with butter lettuce, apple, red flame grapes, toasted walnuts and celery aioli, apple and parsnip bisque ($12) and oyster “po-boy” ($14). Entrée choices include turkey day dinner ($44), ribeye steak ($40), and rockfish ($33). Dessert options include individual apple pie tarts with caramel sauce ($10), pumpkin tasting ($11), and trio of chocolate, vanilla and cinnamon ice cream ($7.50). A kid’s menu is available for $30 and includes fruit and berries to start, a turkey day dinner of turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans and gravy, and chocolate chip cookies and ice cream. Tasting menu price is exclusive of beverages, taxes and gratuity. For reservations and more information call 703-838-8000.
Jackson 20 will serve up a three-course family style meal of good old comfort food this Thanksgiving. Chef Dennis Marron’s first course features include a fall market salad with candied walnuts, goat cheese and cranberry vinaigrette and a roasted pumpkin and parsnip soup. The bird of the day, a Southern-style roasted farm-raised Virginia turkey will be served with braised collard greens, candied yams and cornbread stuffing. Traditional desserts include sweet potato pie, and southern pecan pie served with caramel sauce and whipped cream. The special menu, which is the only menu being offered on Thanksgiving Day, will be available from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The meal will be served family style and is priced at $45 per person, exclusive of beverages, taxes and gratuity. Kids 6-12 are $20 each and children under 6 eat for free. For reservations and more information call 703.842.2790 or visit www.jackson20.com
The Oval Room:
=The Oval Room, located at 800 Connecticut Avenue, NW, =is preparing a three-course holiday menu from 12 noon to 8 p.m., priced at $50 per person, excluding gratuity and tax. Highlights from their Thanksgiving menu include autumn vegetable salad with pomegranate, parsley and warn bacon vinaigrette; charred foie gras ravioli with ice wine reduction and liquid gingerbread; free range turkey with chestnut stuffing and sweet potato puree and Snake River Farms pork with cranberry-miso and salsify and celery gnocchi. Valet parking is available at The Oval Room for $7. For reservations, please call (202) 463-8700.
Rasika, located at 633 D Street, NW is adding Turkey Pasanda (turkey breast stuffed with cranberry and pistachio with a saffron and cashew nut sauce) to its a la carte menu for Thanksgiving. The turkey dish is accompanied by butternut squash bharta and chili Brussels sprouts for $16 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity. The complete a la carte menu is also available on Thanksgiving Day and Rasika will feature seatings from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Valet parking is available for $7. Reservations can be made by calling (202) 637-1222.
Just north of Washington in Bethesda Row, Redwood at 7121 Bethesda Lane, Bethesda, MD, is offering a three-course Thanksgiving feast highlighting naturally raised and locally sourced ingredients. The American harvest menu will be available from 12 Noon to 6 PM and is priced at $59 for adults and $29 for children under the age of 12. Guests can choose from first course options such as shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad and butternut squash soup. Roasted turkey and baked ham will be the main attraction and will be served family-style with mashed potatoes, sweet potato gratin, leek and brioche stuffing and roasted fall vegetables. For dessert, guests can choose from pumpkin or pecan pie. For reservations or additional information please call (301) 656-5515 or visit www.redwoodbethesda.com.
From 1pm-6pm on Thanksgiving Day, Restaurant 3 will offer guests a three-course Thanksgiving meal of Southern favorites for $33 per person, exclusive of beverages, tax and gratuity ($15 for children). Reservations for the festive Southern Thanksgiving may be made by calling the restaurant at (703) 524-4440 or online at www.opentable.com. The full Thanksgiving menu is listed below.
A Southern Thanksgiving
Hot Cornbread & Sweet Butter
Butternut Squash Soup or Garden Greens Salad
Traditional Turkey dinner with stuffing , mashed potatoes and vegetables or Stuffed Pork Loin with apple-sausage stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes & green bean casserole or Southern Fried Catfish with Hoppin’ Jon & greens
Turducken. (Go on, we dare you) mashed potatoes and creamed corn
Dessert bar with homemade pumpkin pie and apple cobbler
3 is located at 2950 Clarendon Blvd. in Arlington, VA, across the Clarendon Metro Station. For more information or reservations please call 703-524-4440 or visit the website at www.restaurantthree.com.
Trummer's On Main:
Take a break from cooking at home this year and make your way to Trummer's On Main to enjoy a three-course Thanksgiving dinner. At $59 per person, this three-course menu includes favorites such as Waldorf Salad, Turkey with cranberry jam & pumpkin puree and Pumpkin Panna Cotta with cinnamon & walnuts. Pair the meal with a specialty cocktail like the seasonal Hot Spice Sangria and Pumpkin Daiquiri or a more traditional wine pairing. Trummer's On Main will be open from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on November 26th, to make a reservation call 703-266-1623. Trummer's On Main is located at 7134 Main Street; Clifton, Virginia (703-266-1623; www.trummersonmain.com).
Food Drive at Urbana Beginning on Friday, the 20th of November, and available throughout the week of Thanksgiving (through November 29th), guests who visit Urbana Restaurant and Wine Bar with a non-perishable food item will receive a choice of appetizer or house-selected wine. All food collected will be donated to Dupont Circle’s Church of the Pilgrims, located at 2021 P Street, NW. Urbana is located at 2121 P Street, NW – www.urbanadc.com
We know there are plenty of other options out there for Thanksgiving - both in terms of restaurants offering specials for those who prefer to dine out and in terms of selling a la carte items like turkey breasts, sides and desserts. Let us know what we've missed!
If you would like your events posted here, please email email@example.com with the event info.
Food & Friends' Slice of Life: Eat some Pie... for Charity!
So, honestly, can someone name me something better than pie? Okay, there is Thanksgiving dinner, that's pretty good... and made even better when topped off with pie. So what's best of all, then? How about Thanksgiving, pie, and the feeling of knowing that your dessert helped feed some people in need?
For 20 years, Food & Friends has supported thousands of our neighbors living with cancer, AIDS, and other life-threatening illnesses, providing them with groceries, hot meals and nutritional counseling. Through the diligent work of some 6,500 staff and volunteers,Food & Friends prepares and delivers over 3,000 meals a days, disseminating them to 2,600 clients in DC and surrounding counties.
Of course, even with the most dedicated staff in the world, delivering a million meals a year doesn't come cheap. That's where you come in. Enter Slice of Life, F & F's annual city-wide bake sale. For the third year running, Slice of Life offers a selection of delicious handmade pies, delivered to a number of convenient neighborhood locations, available for pickup on Tuesday, November 24th. Every pie you buy pays for a full day's meals for one of F & F's clients; buy a pie for one of said clients, and you will be automatically entered in a drawing for two free round-trip airline tickets. The 10" pies come in five great flavors: Picture Perfect Pumpkin Pie Thanksgiving would not be complete without this
traditional favorite. The creamy pumpkin filling, in a delectable
crust, has the perfect mix of spices and great pumpkin flavor. You'll
certainly want to more than one for your family and friends. $25
Harvest Apple Crumb Pie Perfectly flaky with just the right amount of
sweetness, you'll enjoy this classic pie filled with a bushel of
apples, spices and topped with sweet crumbles. Whether you serve your
pie alone or a la mode, it's a must have. $25
Oh So Sweet Potato Pie For many, Thanksgiving
means Sweet Potato Pie. This southern specialty, filled with creamy
bright orange sweet potatoes, cinnamon and nutmeg is sure to warm the
hearts of your holiday guests. $25
Southern Pecan Pie Embrace true hospitality by sharing this Southern treat with
your holiday guests. Ya'll will love this delicious buttery crust,
loads of pecans and sweet gooey filling. $35
Creamy Chocolate Cheesecake A chocolate lover's delight! Your guests will go crazy over
this rich, creamy cheesecake topped with a decadent dark chocolate
ganache. It is sure to be a crowd pleaser. $35
Pies are available for purchase here at Food & Friends' website, where you can also register to volunteer on pickup day.
We all know store-bought crust doesn't taste right, and that you just don't have time to make it yourself from scratch! Complete the meal, and do some folks a solid, by visiting that website by Thursday, November 19th — I promise, your dessert will taste all the sweeter for the effort.
UPDATE: Lisa Shapiro of Dining in DC has pulled together a team of local food bloggers to help move some pies. Help team "Food Bloggers for a Cause" meet their fundraising goal by buying your pies here!
Thanksgiving Wine: Classic Matches for the Classic Meal
On the surface, your traditional Thanksgiving spread looks like a nightmare for wine pairing. Turkey, that's a white food, and cranberry sauce is definitely red; green beans go with Sauvignon Blanc, but this is a casserole; and what the hell goes with mashed potatoes? In reality, Thanksgiving is a really forgiving meal in both substance and spirit. The experience of drinking wine is highly subjective — If you taste a wine when in a crappy mood, you are bound to be critical; taste that same wine along with good friends and an awesome dinner, and you might just find it great. At the Thanksgiving table, people want to enjoy themselves, so chill out! What critical thoughts people do have in their heads are going to be subconsciously suppressed, or redirected at Uncle Ted (can you believe he's drunk already?). Whatever misgivings are left will be quickly put to bed by tryptophan.
Of course, you should still keep a few rules in mind. A simple tactic for Thanksgiving, or really any meal of numerous constituent parts, is to play towards the middle: keep the reds light and the whites big. Assuming you are not serving mutton or steak, your middle of the road wines are not likely to overpower any of the the dishes, but will certainly have the weight to hold their own.
I am not the first to make this claim — far from it, in fact, so there are numerous "traditional" pairings for the classic turkey-centric American meal. Below are some of those classic pairings, and some good value examples for each.
Alsace Pinot Gris
Though Pinot Gris/Grigio is most well known as the source of the typically banal Italian incarnation, in the Alsace region of eastern France, the grape takes on a very different character. Where the former is typically light and bland, Alsace Pinot Gris is quite full, almost oily, with exotic flavors of green apples, straw, and even acetone (trust me, this isn't always a bad thing). One of my favorite examples is the 2006 Mader Pinot Gris (about $18), which has a full body contrasted with an almost effervescent tingle, and finishes very dry.
Alsace and German Riesling
Riesling is one of those wines that has the unfortunate stigma of being considered "sweet." The inundation of the US market in the 70's with cheap German wines like Liebfraumilch and Zeller Schwartz Katz have left all Rieslings with a reputation for cloying sweetness and... not much else. In reality, Riesling is a highly versatile grape, which, depending on where and how it is grown, carries a range of
sweetness from bone dry to liquid sugar. Most Rieslings from Alsace are quite dry, and bear a certain resemblance to Alsace Pinot Gris, though often with a floral component and some honey notes. Mader also makes a
fine example of this wine, which has great melon fruit flavors and a long finish.
If your taste does lend itself towards sweet wines, the right German Riesling would also work quite well. For most foods that aren't particularly spicy, you are not going to want to go too sweet — a good rule of thumb is to look for a wine with an alcohol content around 11 to 11.5%. The Weingut Johannishof Charta Rheingau Riesling 2006 (about $25) has been a favorite of mine for some time. This full wine has just a hint of sweetness, which accentuates a core of spice and mineral flavors, balanced out by just the right amount of acidity.
Though rather uncommon in the US, Grenache is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world, and is the dominate varietal in several parts of France, Italy and Spain. Regardless of where it is grown, Grenache is typically light to medium bodied, high in alcohol, and full of red fruit and spice. Cotes du Rhone is Grenache's most well known appellation, where it is often blended with the fuller bodied Syrah. Higher end CDRs like Chateauneuf-du-Pape can get quite pricey, but some lesser known areas represent excellent values. This year, try the Domaine Catherine Le Goeuil Cuvee Lea Felsch Cairanne 2005 (about $18) — though the name is awkward, the wine is superbly smooth, with great raspberry and apple skin flavors and a long, long finish.
For a different kind of Grenache, try the Argiolas Costera 2006 (about $17). Made in Sardinia from 100% Cannanou (a native type of Grenache), this wine has lots of strawberry fruit, along with a earthy element and lots of acidity — a great pick if you happen to be doing pasta next Thursday.
Pinot Noir and Gamay
Wherever they happen to be grown, the two native red grapes of Burgundy are as good as it gets when it comes to turkey. Pinot Noir, with its elegance, subtle aromatics, and lets face it, name recognition, is a great wine to pick when you are trying to impress. This year, one of my surprise favorites has been the Sebastiani Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2006 (about $16). This wine has a great profile of black cherry and pepper, and unlike a lot of Pinot Noirs from California, vibrant acidity and little oak influence.
If a lush texture and fresh, jammy fruits are more your speed, try serving a Gamay. Most commonly associated with Beaujolais Nouveau (which hits the shelves today, fyi), Gamay is also the grape of the numerous cru Beaulolais, which run stylistically from bubblegum fruity to dark and brooding. The Louis Claude Desvignes Morgon Javernieres 2006 (about $26) is of the latter type; full textured, with dark purple fruit and granite flavors on a medium body with supple tannins.
Though more often thought of as a stand alone celebration sipper, sparkling wine can actually make a fantastic match with shellfish, chocolate, and yes, turkey. Like still wine, sparklers have lots of taste improving acid and aromatic compounds, but bring along the added bonus of bubbles, further heighten flavor sensations on the palate. Though I love Champagne, I can hardly suggest that its price is justified — for a good value, one has to look abroad, which can often be a dicey proposition. Recently, I picked up a bottle of an Aussie sparkler called Taltarni Brut Tache for $20, and I was wowed. Made from the classic grapes of Champagne, this wine has a full mouth feel and notes of toast, peach and apple flavors, and a crisp, dry finish. The word "tache" refers to the slight pink tinge achieved by adding a tiny bit of red wine to each bottle. This festive wine is one of the best I have had under $40, and would be great before, during, or after the main event.
Turkey Time: With All These Options Why Buy Frozen?
With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, some of you have probably already selected the bird for your holiday feast. Who am I kidding? Some of you more dedicated foodies probably picked your bird soon after it was hatched and tracked its growth all season long!
For those of you who are still searching for that ideal turkey, however, we're happy to provide you with a pretty extensive list of options. Last year, Ramona walked you through the essentials of selecting a bird for your Thanksgiving feast. If you didn't read it then, take a few minutes and check it out. Once you've got a better handle on what you're looking for, check out the list below to find the purveyor that works best for you.
We found that prices can actually vary significantly from farm to farm and even between the farm and retailers for the same turkeys, so you may want to take convenience into consideration as you make your choice. Is it worth a twenty-minute (or more) trip to save a dollar or two per pound?
Once you've made up your mind, do yourself a favor and call to confirm the details - you may even be able to place your order over the phone right then and there. That way, you'll maximize your chances to get a turkey that is roughly the size you want.
If you've got any questions about what we've found, feel free to leave a comment and we'll do our best to resolve them for you.
Enjoy...and save a drumstick for us!
Washington-Area Sources for Fresh Thanksgiving Turkeys:
Capitol Hill Poultry Eastern Market's new East Hall 7th Street between Pennsylvania and North Carolina Avenues, SE Washington, DC 20003 (202) 544-4435 Cost: $2.79 per pound with a $10 or $20 deposit
One of the two poultry vendors at Eastern Market, Capitol Hill Poultry can be found at the far end of the temporary East Hall. They'll be bringing in fresh Maple Lawn turkeys in sizes from 10 to 30 pounds for pickup on the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving. They require a deposit or $10 or $20 depending on the size of the turkey you order, and your best bet is to stop in to fill out the request form in person. Alternatively, you can call in your order at the number listed above. At roughly a dollar more per pound than Maple Lawn is charging for on-site pickup, this is a pretty minimal markup to get your bird right on Capitol Hill.
Let's Meat on the Avenue 2403 Mt Vernon Ave Alexandria, VA 22336 (703) 836-6328 Cost: Local = $3.25 per pound; Eberly organic turkeys = $5.45 per pound
Boutique butcher Stephen Gatward's Del Ray shop will be selling both local and organic turkeys and will be taking orders until Thursday. He expects most of the birds he brings in will be between 10 and 14 pounds, but the earlier you order the better your chances of getting the size you desire. His local turkeys are free-range, raised without steroids and hormones. The Eberly birds come from Pennsylvania, and they are the same organic turkeys that Balducci's is selling.
Market Poultry Eastern Market's new East Hall 7th Street between Pennsylvania and North Carolina Avenues, SE Washington, DC 20003 (202) 543-7470 Cost: $1.99 per pound
The second vendor at Eastern Market, Mel Inman and son are selling local turkeys from Hillside Farm and Eastern Shore for $1.99 per pound in weights ranging from 8 to 28 pounds. They'll be taking orders through next Sunday. If you've always wanted a fried turkey but worry about your fire insurance, they will also be selling fried turkeys up to 14 pounds for $1.99 per pound plus a $30 frying charge. To order a fried turkey, stop in and pay the $30 as a deposit and place your order before next Saturday.
Organic Butcher of McLean 6712 Old Dominion Drive McLean, VA 22101 (703) 790-8300 Cost: Natural = $3.49 per pound; Organic = $4.49 per pound; Local = $6.99 per pound
Offering two size ranges (8-13 pounds and 13-18 pounds), the Organic Butcher of McLean will be bringing in three different types of turkeys for every taste. If you want a local turkey, you'll need to get your order in by the 24th. For an organic bird, you should be able to walk in purchase one right up to Wednesday, the 26th. Very convenient for anyone whose Thanksgiving plans end up coming together at the very last minute!
Balducci'swill be offering all-natural turkeys from New York's Plainville Farms for $2.59 per pound and organic turkeys from Pennsylvania's Eberly Farms for $3.99 per pound. They also have several oven-ready and pre-cooked options available.
Marvelous Markethas one option for your holiday turkey: a maple-thyme roasted turkey breast for $69.99.
Trader Joe'swill be offering brined all-natural turkeys for $1.79 per pound and Glatt kosher all-natural turkeys for $2.29 per pound. Both will be delivered fresh (not frozen) to their stores, who are keeping sign-up sheets. Stop in to pre-order.
Whole Foods has natural free-range turkeys for $2.49 per pound and organic turkeys for $3.49 per pound. Check out their "Holiday Table" section for a wide range of oven-ready options and ask in your local store if you want to know the provenance of their turkeys.
Ayrshire Farm c/o The Home Farm Store 1 East Washington Street Middleburg, VA (540) 687-8882 Cost: 10-12 pounds = $135; 14-16 pounds = $165; 18-20 pounds = $180
By far the most expensive option out there, Ayrshire Farm's turkeys are "Free-Range, Certified Organic and Certified Humanely-Raised and Handled Heritage Breed." They are "produced without hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, insecticides, herbicides or artificial fertilizers. Our birds are free-ranging with full access to the outdoors and are fed 100% certified organic feeds without animal by-products." If you live in Hunt Country and Middleburg isn't too far a drive for you, this is certainly a top-quality option. You can order by phone or online (email firstname.lastname@example.org) and pick up in store from 10 AM to 5 PM Monday through Wednesday the week of Thanksgiving. They require a non-refundable $50 deposit to hold your turkey.
Eco-Friendly Foods 3397 Stony Fork Road Moneta, VA 24121 (540) 297-9582 Cost: $3.85 per pound<
Eco-Friendly will be bringing their locally and humanely-raised turkeys to the Courthouse and Dupont Circle farmers' markets next Saturday and Sunday, respectively, but you need to pre-order to pick one up. You can pre-order online by emailing email@example.com with your name, phone number, email address and the approximate weight range you'd like. You'll also need to pre-pay a $40 deposit, payable via Paypal.
Fields of Athenry 38082 Snickersville Turnpike Purcellville, VA 20132 (540) 687-3936 Cost: $7.25 per pound
"Truly all-natural, free range, broad-breasted birds" are offered by Fields of Athenry, in weights from 15 to 35 pounds. You can order via email by filling out this form and sending it to MElaineBoland@aol.com. Be sure to include a credit card number for the $40 deposit. You can pick up your bird onsite on Monday 4-7 PM, Tuesday or Wednesday from 9 AM to 7 PM. A word to the wise - the Organic Butcher of McLean has indicated that some of their local turkeys, which will be selling for $6.99 per pound, may be coming from here.
Jehovah-Jireh Farms 7033 Ed Sears Road Dickerson, MD 20842 (301) 874-6181 Cost: $3.79 per pound
Jehovah-Jireh will be offering pastured turkeys in weights ranging from 10 to 18 pounds for pickup onsite the week of Thanksgiving. You can arrange to pick up your bird on Monday or Tuesday from 1 to 7 PM or Wednesday from 9 to 5 PM. They can't guarantee a specific sized turkey, so you may want to show up as early as possible to improve the odds of getting just what you want.
Maple Lawn Farm 11788 Scaggsville Road (Route 216) Fulton, MD 20759 (301) 725-2074 Cost: Hens (smaller) = $1.95 per pound; Toms (larger) = $1.75 per pound; Smoked = $4.50 per pound
Maple Lawn Farm provides free-range turkeys to a number of local retailers, but you can't beat the price if you're willing to pick them up on site. Even with the $3 per bird 'drawing charge' - the charge to clean and prepare your bird for cooking - you're still saving a dollar or more per pound relative to what you'll pay if you buy from a retailer in Washington. Pickup is available Monday through Wednesday from 7 AM to 5 PM, and you can email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out their site for ordering information.
Springfield Farm 16701 Yeoho Road Sparks, MD 21152 (410) 472-0738 Cost: Natural broad-breasted white = $2.75 per pound; Pastured broad-breasted white = $4.00 per pound; Pastured heritage or broad-breasted bronze = $5.75 per pound
Springfield Farm raises several breeds of turkeys, including a few of the more prized heritage breeds. If you're looking to try a taste of classic Americana, these turkeys promise deeper, richer flavors than your average roaster. To order in advance, you can call or email - just be ready to drive north of Baltimore to pick up your turkey next Saturday and Sunday. Added bonus: the world headquarters of spice giant McCormick is located in Sparks! No word on whether they offer tours or free samples, but it's something else to do while you're up there.
I don't think I am out of line when I say that Washington is a town of workaholics. With their crippling workloads and often far-off families, for a lot of locals, the chances of enjoying grandma's green bean casserole this Thanksgiving are slim. Fortunately for them, the DC restaurant scene is equally hardcore -- dozens of area restaurants will remain open on the 27th, their staffs shunning friends and kin to serve you, the dining public. Below are my picks for Thanksgiving 2008 -- bear in mind, the OpenTable reservation status is based on availability at the time of the publishing of this article. Although, if OpenTable says that the restaurant is booked, you may want to try calling, because restaurants sometimes hold back tables.
1789 For those looking for classic American fare in one of the classiest joints in town, Chef Daniel Giusti will be offering a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings for $54 per person. Considering the meals I have enjoyed here in the past, I am sure that the meat will be spectacular, and the desserts sublime... just don't forget your sports coat, as jackets are required.
Open 12 to 9 1226 36th Street, NW Washington, DC 20007 www.1789restaurant.com (202) 965-1789 Reservations: Looks like it's booked! Try Calling or try OpenTable
2941 Though I haven't had the pleasure, 2941 has a magnificent reputation for innovative cuisine, and has an undeniably great wine list, as recently confirmed by the Wine Spectator. The six course tasting menu looks particularly patriotic, featuring all the bounties of the east coast, including Maine lobster, Hudson Valley fois gras, and Maryland turkey. Damn!
Bistro Francais In addition to its normal menu, M St's premier cute little French bistro will be offering a three course turkey meal for both lunch and dinner, for $19 and $26 respectively. I love the chicken frites here, so I imagine they can do wonders with a turkey.
Blue Duck Tavern This relatively new addition to DC's thriving "American Cuisine" market has made its reputation on the merits of its fowl, fish, and duck fat fries. Expect copious amounts of decadent food at Blue Duck's holiday buffet (10 am to 4 pm), with the normal menu served thereafter, along with the chef's take on a turkey blue plate special.
Charlie Palmer Steak Though I am a bit wary of chain steakhouses regardless of price, Charlie Palmer looks like it is going to be putting out quite the spread. For $65 a head ($20 per child), CPs offers a diverse menu, featuring a selection of six firsts ranging from sashimi to fois gras, and a selection of hearty main courses, including pheasant, turkey, venison, and even a pan roasted sea bass for the odd vegetarian out.
Chef Geoff's Chef Geoff's is an obvious weekend choice for its obscenely well priced bar food and beers; for the holiday, it might just be the perfect choice for a group of friends to enjoy a casual Thanksgiving in the absence of home and hearth. Both uptown and down, CG's will be offering an array of festive soups and starters, along with the usual assortment of gussied up meats and fishes. If you plan to head up New Mexico Ave, sausage-brioche stuffed turkey will be on the menu.
Citronelle While Michel Richard's cuisine is kind of the antithesis of mom down home cookin' (my mom never cooked with "g's"), he certainly has a pretty healthy spread out for the 27th. For $80 ($37 for children), Citronelle is offering a holiday buffet, including such classics as potato salad, lamb au jus, glazed ham, cranberry sauce, turkey, and the like. There are not a lot of places where I would spend $80 to try some guy's interpretation of baked beans and candied yams; Citronelle just happens to be one of them.
Clyde's Clyde's will be open at all of its six area locations, offering a well priced traditional Thanksgiving meal at $23 a head. Given my experience with this DC area institution, expect authentic but unexciting food which will leave you plenty full, and a seat with an unobstructed view of Detroit and Dallas getting the crap kicked out of them.
Commonwealth Gastropub Though one might imagine British food to be at odds with the spirit of our American holiday, I have little doubt that you carnivores out there would get over that juxtaposition real quick. Commonwealth will be featuring a prix-fixe roast beef and turkey dinner — featuring sweet potatoes, oyster-mushroom stuffing, and housemade pies — for only $25. Judging from previous experience, I expect the portions to be more than ample for the price, and the quality of the meats to be superb, though I suggest leave the vegans at home.
Corduroy The first Thanksgiving in a new home can sometimes be a lonely experience -- not so for Tom Power at his new Shaw area digs, as Corduroy is already nearly completely booked for the holiday. Expect Power's usual commitment to freshness and innovation in his take on the classic turkey dinner, prix-fixe at $55 per person. Call now! Their menu is on their web site here.
The Manor House Restaurant Okay, I've only eaten here once, but I can safely say that this little inn outside of Warrenton makes the best she-crab soup I have ever tasted. Period. The Thanksgiving menu looks outstanding, with several entrees featuring something-or-other confit, which as everyone knows is the best way to cook anything. The optional wine pairings actually look like a real deal, and feature some well thought out, esoteric wines, including a New York State Champagne, a Gigondas and a New Zealand Chardonnay. $72 Adults ($99 with pairings), and $25 for children.
Open 1 to 6 9245 Rogues Rd Midland, VA 22728 www.manorhouseatpoplarsprings.com (540) 788-3400 Reservations: Good Availability. Make Reservation Old Ebbitt Grill DC's oldest bar and grill will be offering much the same menu as its brothers in the Clydes group, at the same low-low price of $23. Old Ebbitt stands out from its siblings in terms of ambiance and service. The OEG is easily one of the coolest restaurant spaces in Washington DC — being all cavernous and full of marble and dark wood — and I have always found that the level of service far surpasses the price. Incidentally, if you are planning a meal at home but are short on time, Old Ebbitt can hook you up with the sides.
Vidalia Eschewing the prix-fixe route, chef Jeff Buben will instead feature a variation on his typical menu with an array of Thanksgiving themed dishes, including milk-poached Amish turkey breast, Southern-style cassoulet, and an assortment of pies and torts.
Willow In the fratty and chain-driven neighborhood of Ballston in Arlington, Willow is a much loved oasis of good wine and quiet sophistication. On Thanksgiving, Willow will be offering a combination turkey dinner/ dessert and appetizer buffet for $75 a head (full menu here). For an additional $38, enjoy a selection of paired wines with each course -- I know the price sounds a little steep, but the bar and kitchen work phenomenally well together at Willow, so I'm sure the matches will be excellent.