The November Nutshell That Was Once a Turkey Still Is a Turkey

Now with the nest all emptied out, my culinary experiences have gone hog wild. This is because the youngest, Ms. MiniD, always complained about my cooking. She said that I made “weird” foods, and normally turned her nose up to my offerings. Then she would enlist her boyfriend to go to Taco Bell and eat fake Mexican cuisine.

(As a side note, my son also felt the same way when he left the house, until he endured four months of eating nothing but ramen noodles and turkey sandwiches. Now he lurves my cooking.)

Now that I’m free from that white noise, I’ve been going nuts. It’s just my husband, Mr. Demonic, and me, but we are a couple of food snobs, and I mean that in the worst way. I’ve been busy whipping up pasta from home grown tomatoes, preparing veal piccata, fish dishes, osso buco, veal chops, steak drenched in a bleu cheese sauce, grilled quail, slow roasted pulled pork sandwiches, well, you get the picture. Our one and only goal is to experience the best food before the end draws near. Which may be death, or when the world collapses in a massive depression. (I’m thinking the latter has a better chance of occurring.)

While the Sick Man’s mother stayed with us, I regaled her with my outstanding cooking. I’m sure she left, teary eyed, wondering why her son hadn’t ended up with me for a wife. The week before Thanksgiving, I decided to get the turkey and all the accompanying accoutrements, and have our Thanksgiving dinner then. My plan was to go out for Thanksgiving dinner and be served, for once. I couldn’t see making a turkey (even a small one such as the one I got – a little bigger than a chicken) for just two people. Even a baby bird weighing only ten pounds is about three pounds more turkey than I’d like to have, especially without company.

My turkey dinner ROCKED! It was great, we had garlic smashed potatoes, and a lot of juice came out of the bird, thus ensuring plenty of gravy. We also had the jellied cranberry sauce (I’ll eat the other kind too, but this is so out of my childhood memories, that I always serve it), roasted brussels sprouts with crimini mushrooms, and roasted yams. The stuffing turned out great (I make mine using the gizzards), and we had pie for dessert.

After that, I enlisted Mr. D to make dinner reservations for the real Thanksgiving Day. He kept putting it off and putting it off, until it was the day before. I wanted something nice, good food and not too fancy. He chose our favorite restaurant, Lily’s, a seafood grill which is right downtown and within walking distance. Their menu consisted of deep fried turkey and all of the fixings.

I was excited. This place, while not in California, is always experimenting with preparations. We’ve rarely had a bad meal there, maybe two in the last ten years. Thanksgiving was one of the two. I should have known by how crowded the place was, that this was not going to be a fun experience. Even though we had reservations, we were relegated to the bar. Both of us Demonics are allergic to cigarette smoke, and it’s precarious sitting on a high bar stool with a narrow table.

There was more bad news. After being seated in the very crowded bar area, we waited for a good fifteen minutes before a server came by. Luckily, the program included all you can drink mimosas that night, so we went straight for that. Once situated with our own bottle of champagne and jug of orange juice, we were left to ourselves for another half hour. This is really bad news. I’ve been known to charge hostess stands if left alone with with an unlimited supply of alcohol and no service. (I should write about that. I nearly beat up a hostess at an Outback Steak House, and another similar joint when someone stole our reservation right from under us.)

The delay was because our server was also the only bartender. Mr. D wanted very much to leave and go home to eat leftovers. I told him to wait five minutes before doing so.

The bartender-slash-server must have telepathically realized our dismay. He came right out with salads. Then we were left alone for another fifteen minutes. Mr. D was ready to shoot someone, but we had invested too much time to bail now. Finally the server came out with the rest of the dinner, served family style. Our narrow bar table could barely hold our plates, much less anything else. There was deep fried turkey (too fried, it was dry and crusty), mashed potatoes (passable, not like home made), a cranberry relish (very good), stuffing supposedly made with oysters (tasted like Stove Top, too salty, and if an oyster was in there, I didn’t see it). There was also an appetizer (served with dinner, a no-no) but for the life of me, I can’t remember what it was. We also had pumpkin pie, but again, the gold standard is my home made pie, with fresh-out-of-the-garden pumpkins.

We walked home, full but slightly dissatisfied. Our regular date night at the restaurant was the next day, but Mr. D didn’t feel like going.

My word of advice from this experience: do NOT under any circumstances go to a seafood restaurant for a Thanksgiving dinner. Their expertise, after all, is in the fishy foods. I would have preferred a fishy food Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe next year.