What I Did On Thanksgiving Day, by Mikey Dietsch, age 36.
[or skip the jabbering and go straight to Jen’s pictures]
Jennifer and I had a yummy Thanksgiving Day with lots of good food and fun things. First we went to Sarafina Broadway, where we met up with members of the Lunch Club. We had brunch while watching the parade pass outside Sarafina’s big picture windows.
Getting to Sarafina was a pain. We came up from the subway at 57th St. and 7th Ave. We first tried going over to Broadway and walking down to 55th St., but that didn’t work because the crowd was thick along Broadway (the parade route) and we couldn’t cut through. So we walked back to 7th, then down 7th to 55th St., and finally across 55th to Broadway. That worked pretty well, but then we had to cut through the crowd so that we could reach the restaurant. This elicited dirty looks from people convinced we meant to get closer to the parade. Also, I was ready to kick people because a group of about 10 were actually blocking the entrance to the restaurant. But we finally got inside and met our party.
Brunch was fun. We met new folks (including Jen’s long-lost sister), ate good food, drank cocktails, and watched the parade pass by. From inside Sarafina, we could see the balloons and the tops of floats, but we couldn’t see bands or other performers (although we could hear some of them). Eating and drinking, and meeting good people, while watching the parade from inside–such a New York thing to do, and easily the most fun way to watch the parade.
Brunch ended at about the same time that Santa wrapped up the parade, and to our delighted surprise, the crowd cleared out very quickly. Leaving Sarafina was much more pleasant than arriving. We headed home to relax a bit. At about 3, we had a mid-afternoon repast, of mousse royale, toma maccagno, Granny Smith apple, and bunderkase:
Oh, and fifteen-year-old Glenmorangie:
We rested up some more and then headed to dinner. Reservations were at 6 for Williamsburgh Cafe, a yummy comfort-food spot in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.
The staff at Williamsburgh went all out. They first brought out cups of chestnut soup, and then began bringing out plates and bowls of sides: garlic mashed potatoes, roasted apple and hazelnut stuffing, green-bean salad with feta, collard greens with cornmeal dumplings, pumpkin-apple gratin, and roasted yams with candied pecans. Then they served from the carving boards: wood-oven roasted turkey and rib roast. Finally, dessert: pumpkin cheesecake, maple bourbon pecan pie, and rhubarb and strawberry crumble.
Jen had an Argentinian Malbec with dinner, but I opted for beer: Pauwel Kwak, a Belgian ale with a slightly sweet, caramel, malty taste that went quite well with a harvest meal.
We ate to excess, our stomachs so full they ached. And in eating to excess, we still left some dishes either un- or undersampled. I ate only a small portion of most sides and wasn’t able to have a second helping of any, even though the bowls were on our table, family style. I didn’t get to taste the maple bourbon pecan pie at all, and ate only half of the rhubarb/strawberry crumble, even though it was delicious.
In fact, much of this long weekend has been an overstimulation of our senses. Wednesday evening took us to Fornino for wood-fired pizza. Friday, we went up to Arthur Ave. in the Bronx, New York’s “real” Little Italy, with its abundance of Italian markets, cheese shops, and bakeries. We bought fresh pasta and cheeses, imported canned tomatoes, and cannoli, and I ate raw clams on the half shell outside a fishmonger’s. Saturday was a shopping day, but we stopped long enough for hot dogs and chili cheese fries from Crif Dogs in the East Village, cream puffs from Beard Papa’s, and–at dinner–panini (for Jen) and roasted short ribs (for me) at Moto in Brooklyn.