Friday, November 24, 2006

The Grinch that (almost) stole Thanksgiving

Abstainer: a weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure.

Ambrose Bierce

I was set on abstaining from Thanksgiving celebrations this year. Normally, it’s one of my most favorite holidays. But this time around I wanted to stay home, go on hikes and watch movies. I mean, you’re expected to eat too much – what’s the fun in that?

In addition, I’m not a fan of a lot of typical Thanksgiving fare. Stuffing. Pumpkin. Butternut squash. Turkey. So, we declined a few invitations and chose to hunker down and enjoy four glorious days of doing nothing.

Or so I thought.

Luca surprised me with reservations at Cetrella, a restaurant on Main Street we go to when we have something to celebrate.

When this was first announced, I was bewildered. Had I not been saying that I was looking forward to just hanging out at home? Had I not recently confessed to not being a fan of yams? I looked longingly at my reading nook and resentfully jumped in the shower.

I’m so glad Luca yanked me out of my pre-holiday funk. We had a HUGE lunch, to celebrate this fantastic holiday with the dignity and reverence it deserves. We started with roasted pumpkin and pear soup. Then, a mixed green salad with persimmons and blue cheese. After that, we were served slow roasted turkey (moist! yummy!) with cranberry and orange compote (the combination of cranberry and turkey is just brilliant. Brilliant.) and (“And”. Not “or”.) rosemary honey glazed smoked ham.

As side dishes, we had wood roasted Brussels sprouts with lemon and smoked bacon, roasted yams with goat cheese and toasted pecans (I finished them – yams with goat cheese and pecans rule) and brioche sage stuffing with wild rice, roasted vegetables and toasted chestnuts. (As you can see, there was a lot of roasting going on at Cetrella.)

Also, ceremoniously breaking my nearly two month abstinence from sugar in honor of Thanksgiving, we had pumpkin pie – possibly the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever tasted, with spiced cream on top - and chocolate pot de crème for dessert.

After that, we rolled into the car and drove along the coast, to take in the perfect, cloudless, crisp fall day. We went on a couple of short hikes on the cliffs to see the Pacific Ocean (photo above.) Then we came back home and I happily partook in another honorable Thanksgiving tradition. I took a two-hour nap.

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