Everyone deserves to spend some time with friends and family, which is why we’ll be taking tomorrow and Friday off to observe the Thanksgiving holiday.
So, what is there to be thankful for this year? We asked the question on Twitter earlier this week. Here are some of our favorite responses:
@borderstan Thankful for a strong and active community of neighbors who care about Dupont and are working to keep it great!
— Nicole Mann (@nikkimann17) November 23, 2015
@borderstan not traveling!
— Matthew Lawlor (@DrMattyO) November 25, 2015
@borderstan it was drum circles, but
— sharrowsDC (@sharrowsDC) November 24, 2015
— Ian Brinksman (@teamian) November 23, 2015
To those leaving the city and those staying within the District, we wish you a happy and safe holiday weekend. To tide you over until our triumphant return on Monday, here’s a rundown of some of the things you should keep in mind until next week.
- There’s a fundraiser for Garrison Elementary this weekend at Gallagher and Graham and Menchie’s on U Street next Monday
- Cyclists in plaid will zoom through Adams Morgan on Saturday
- And speaking of Adams Morgan, be sure to check out Small Business Saturday there and in Shaw for some big deals and special events
Stuff you should know:
- Here’s a list of everything you need to know about Thanksgiving in the District this year
- Thursday’s Department of Public Works (DPW) trash and recycling collections will move to Friday. Friday’s collections will be made Saturday
- Parking meters will not operate tomorrow and will resume service on Friday
- Metro rail and bus service will operate holiday service on Thanksgiving. Trains will begin running at at 7 a.m. and close at midnight. But no track work!
Photo via Flickr/icoNYCa
More than a thousand hungry people gathered at the Washington Convention Center this morning to eat and share memories during the 16th annual Safeway Feast of Sharing.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and D.C. Councilmembers Jack Evans, LaRuby May, Vincent Orange and Brandon Todd were in attendance to celebrate the event.
“I’m always happy to be here for the Feast of Sharing to celebrate and give thanks for all the many blessings we have in our great city,” Bowser said, addressing the crowd. “I want to thank you for all the trust in the faith that you’ve put in me to focus on the things that are important to Washington D.C.”
Those in attendance dined on a traditional meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, rolls and other Thanksgiving trimmings and were served by hundreds of volunteers.
Although Thanksgiving is only nine days away, it isn’t too late in D.C. to snag a reservation for a turkey dinner or order the bird, pumpkin pie and other fixings for a feast at home.
We’ve gathered the information for several restaurants and stores in our coverage area that are vying for your Thanksgiving business.
Here is what you need to know to prepare for a D.C. Thanksgiving:
For a Thanksgiving Out
10 Thomas at the Washington Plaza Hotel
10 Thomas Circle NW
“Enjoy a bountiful buffet featuring traditional dishes such as herb roasted turkey, honey glazed ham and pumpkin and pecan pies. $45 per person, $22.50 for children 5 – 12,” according to OpenTable.
14K Restaurant & Lounge
1001 14th St. NW
“Thanksgiving Brunch buffet $45 with endless champagne option for $15 extra and a build your own bloody mary bar for $9 each,” according to OpenTable.
Avenue Café & Lounge – Holiday Inn Central
1501 Rhode Island Ave. NW
“Join us for a Spectacular Thanksgiving Buffet from 4 – 9PM. Adults $27.95, kids under 12 $12.95,” according to OpenTable.
Cops based at a Metropolitan Police Department station near Meridian Hill Park are trying to help local families get the food they need to celebrate Thanksgiving.
The officers at 1620 V St. NW are looking for donations of canned yams, cranberry sauce, soup, stuffing and other non-perishable foods as part of MPD’s annual Food 4 Families campaign, according to the Adams Morgan Business Improvement District.
Donors can drop off their food at the station’s front desk.
Photo via Flickr/Fernando Mafra
At Borderstan we are thankful for many things. For example, we have had a great year covering the day-to-day of our community. We live in a diverse growing neighborhood where we can shop, enjoy restaurants and bars, galleries, theaters, great parks, sports and schools, all within walking distance.
Our contributors cover the neighborhood everyday, and they are also thankful for many things (and not so thankful for others). Here’s their list!
Rachel is thankful for
- Her family and friends.
- Her health.
- Blogs – all of them.
Scott is thankful for
- His family and friends – what’s life without them?
- Reverse commuting in a car. No traffic or Metro in his daily life.
- Chocolate. Mmmm.
Scott is not thankful for
- Presidential Elections – glad that’s over with.
- DC cabs still not taking credit cards. Reason #121343 we aren’t/won’t ever be near NYC.
- The best DC team not playing. Man he misses the Capitals. End this stupid strike.
Michael is thankful for
- Expanding number of restaurants to try in the neighborhood and around the District.
- Discovery of the pickleback shot and the myriad bars in town that serve it.
- Return of the use of the Dupont Circle South Metro entrance.
Michael is not thankful for
- Expanding number of people who fail to properly use and navigate a sidewalk.
- Discovery of the ACKC closure (yes, that’s right, it’s been almost a year and he still haven’t found a replacement).
- Return of the cold – is it just him or does everyone suffer from seasonal depression?
Leslie is thankful for
- The cutest small human she’s ever seen.
- Family and friends who love her despite faults (Husband most of all).
- Pumpkin-pecan pie.
Danny is thankful for
- Corny, but true: Friends and family.
- The Washington Nationals. As a DC native, he has never experienced the kind of joy that he did this year watching the Nats play. Even after feeling the crushing blow that was Game 7, it was amazing to care about a DC sports team that much.
- Good food. Watching the quick growth of DC’s food scene has been amazing, even if it still has lots of catching up to do. His three favorite new spots? Little Serrow, Toki Underground and Izakaya Seki.
Danny is not thankful for
- People biking on the sidewalk. Seriously, it is called the sideWALK. Warning: If you try to pass him on a bike while he is on the sidewalk, he will not make it easy for you.
- The Washington Wizards. If you are able to keep a Wizards game on for more than five minutes without convulsing/feeling ill/throwing something, than you should win a prize.
- Foodie culture. Food should be good; it should be fresh; it should be appreciated. But, it should not be some type of status symbol or idolized. There’s no such thing as that “hidden hot spot” and bad service at a restaurant should not be accepted as part of the “vibe” of the place.
Chelsea is thankful for
- Exact change. She doesn’t care how obsolete you think the penny is, because giving or receiving exact change is THE BEST feeling ever. And if you have an extra penny, leave it for the next person behind you or in the tip jar – pay it forward.
- The first amendment. In spite of differences in beliefs, the fact that this exists is so liberating and inspiring. Every year she is grateful that she lives in a country that allows her to freely express herself and live without constraint or self-restraint.
- Her community. People are friendly and inspiring. The compassion she finds among neighbors revives her faith in humanity and feeling, and she is grateful to have experienced that firsthand over the past year since she’s moved to DC.
Chelsea is not thankful for
- Georgetown on the weekends. Get a metro stop people. She needs to be able to get to the nearest Sephora without riding out to the next CITY to get her $40 moisturizers. Or get better parking. Better yet, make the walk over actually enjoyable by widening your sidewalks, since clearly every tourist and college student in town needs to use the entire pathway for themselves and their iPhone5s.
- Political parties. But at least the lack of bipartisanship makes her thankful that the election is over and she won’t have to hand over her abortion, voting or equal pay rights yet.
- Social media. She’s over it. She’s also over the articles you’re reading, the meme you laughed at and the photo you posted of your lunch.
Dafna is thankful for
- Family and friends.
- A roof over my head (and a walk-in closet).
- It’s a tie: Attractive, well dressed men/Karl Lagerfeld.
Dafna is not thankful for
- People with no sense of humor.
- Men in suits that don’t fit them.
Nick is thankful for
- The support of his partner, Chad
- Goodness of others
Cecile is thankful for
- Super grilled cheese and Stoney’s amber Ale at Stoney’s.
- Having access to so many art galleries, such as Long View and the Hamiltonian.
- People watching on a sunny day in Dupont!
Kim is thankful for
- The resurgence of offal on DC restaurant menus.
- Living in a city with underground power lines during a storm.
- Being lucky enough to have love, family and security in a world where those things are precious.
Kim is not thankful for
- That they’re even having discussions about Season 9 of HIMYM. I love the show more than life itself, but it needs to not keep dragging along. End on a high note, Carter and Bays!
- Another year of all my favorite sports teams losing in dramatic or devastating fashion.
- The ongoing failure of the DC Metro system.
Luis is thankful for
- The love of his little family, Matty and Lupe.
- A great team of contributors in Borderstan.
- Being able to enjoy what he is doing.
Luis is not thankful for
Matt is thankful for
- His husband.
- His dog, the most awesome in the world.
- Living in neighborhood where he can walk everywhere and always run into someone he knows
Matt is not thankful for
- A city government that still hasn’t figured out how to better deal with the city’s population growth and development.
- The DC metro area’s lack of adequate public transportation.
Aparna is thankful for
- Wine, great food, weekends, Netflix, Twitter, friends, laughter and a good night’s sleep.
- All the amazing opportunities she has had this year (even if she failed to use them!)
- Her husband emptying the dishwasher, doing the laundry AND making a delicious home-cooked meal.
Aparna is not thankful for
- The five pounds that she is going to put on during the holidays!
- People who get out of their seats on the crowded bus before their stop. Nice way to get everyone standing to move around and make it generally unsafe.
Alejandra is thankful for
- A booming dining and drinking scene in the neighborhood.
- A community where she can walk down the street and always run into people, shop owners and purveyors that she knows.
- A community that values living, eating and drinking better.
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The day after Thanksgiving is the retail world’s official start to the Christmas shopping season. Black Friday is known for its crazy crowds, long lines and ridiculously early morning hour specials at big box stores.
If you’re looking to avoid that train wreck, but still want to take part in the shopping and holiday festivities post-turkey day dinner, check-out some of Borderstan’s local stores for sales and gift ideas.
- Pulp is gearing up for a “funky Black Friday.” Shop the store from 11 am to 7 pm for some unique gifts and dance to some Christmas funk music. Pulp is located at 1803 14th Street NW.
- The DC Flea Market is going mad with a Black Friday Midnight Madness Sale on Friday, Nov. 23 from 12 am until 4 am at Montserrat House (2016 9th Street NW). Expect items from H. Darling, I Found That Vintage, Speak Vintage, Thembe Fashions and more. DC Flea Market will also provide drinks and music for the seasonal festivities.
- Ginger Root Design (1530 U Street NW) is promoting locally made items on Black Friday. Buy one local item and get the second 20 percent off. Also, the vintage collection will be 20 percent off. Ginger Root Design will be open from noon until 7 pm on Friday.
- Redeem (1734 14th Street) is opening an hour early on Black Friday (at 11 am) and will remain open until 8 pm.
- For the book lover on your gift list, swing by Kramerbooks and peruse the latest in literature. If all of the shopping works up your appetite (or your thirst), pop in to Afterwords Café for a beer or a bite to eat. Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café is located at 1517 Connecticut Avenue NW and is open 24 hours on Friday and Saturday.
- Table Top (1608 20th Street NW) will be open from noon until 8 pm on Friday. The Dupont Circle store is a great place to pick-up home accessories, books, kitchen gadgets and home décor.
- Looking for something to keep your head (and hands) warm this winter season? Proper Topper (1350 Connecticut Avenue NW) will be open on Black Friday from 10 am until 8 pm. Remember — hats and accessories make great gifts, too!
- Universal Gear (1529 14th Street NW) will be open for normal hours on Friday. Stock-up on men’s wear for the upcoming holiday parties.
- Current Boutique (1809 14th Street NW) is giving customers 20 percent off everything on Black Friday.
- Lettie Gooch Boutique (1517 U Street NW) will have several sales on Black Friday. From 10 am – 1 pm, shop the boutique’s Early Bird Sale for 25 percent off regularly priced items, 50 percent off jewelry and 30 percent off jeans. Can’t make it Friday? Some sales will also roll-over to the weekend, as well.
If you plan to skip the labor-intensive Thanksgiving cooking process this year (or if you burned the turkey and have a dining room full of hungry guests), don’t sweat it – several neighborhood restaurants will be open on Thanksgiving Day.
While some require reservations ahead of time, others welcome walk-ins.
- La Tomate (1701 Connecticut Avenue NW) will open at 4 pm on Thanksgiving Day to serve meals from its regular Italian menu, as well as dishes from a special Thanksgiving menu, which includes starters, an entrée and pie. Call 202-667-5505 for reservations.
- Bistro du Coin (1738 Connecticut Avenue NW) will be open on Thanksgiving Day at noon. In addition to its French fare, Bistro du Coin will also offer some Thanksgiving meal specials. For more information, call 202-234-6969.
- Sette Osteria (1666 Connecticut Avenue NW) will serve lunch, brunch and dinner on Thanksgiving Day from 11 am until 9 pm. The Dupont Circle restaurant has an entire list of specials for the day, available on the website. Call 202-483-3070 for reservations.
- Ulah Bistro (1214 U Street NW) will be open all day for Thanksgiving from 11 am until 11 pm. The U Street restaurant is featuring a $29.95 turkey dinner with all the trimmings. For reservations, call 202-234-0123.
- Lauriol Plaza (1835 18th Street NW) will be open from 11:30 am until 10 pm on Thanksgiving Day, for those diners who are in the mood for an unconventional Thanksgiving Day feast!
- Lincoln (1110 Vermont Avenue NW) will be open from 2 pm – 8 pm on Thanksgiving Day, and will feature farm-to-table specials on a traditional Thanksgiving Day menu. Guests can select seasonal soups and salads, as well as meats and fishes from a carving station. Lincoln will also serve-up pies and sides. Call 202-386-9200 for reservations.
- Whole Foods (1440 P Street NW) is open on Thanksgiving Day from 7 am until 5 pm for those who need to pick-up a last minute pie from the bakery (believe it or not, my aunt forgot to put sugar in her pie… two years in a row!), or for those who prefer to dine on dinner from the prepared foods section.
No matter how – or where – you choose to spend your Thanksgiving, I hope it is a happy one!
From Chelsea Rinnig. Email her at chelsea[AT]borderstan.com.
Healthier tips on cooking and enjoying decadent Thanksgiving dishes.
Healthy eating is not just about kale, fad diets or fat free foods–it is about balance and understanding when to enjoy yourself and the pleasure of a delicious meal shared with friends and family. However, if you are cooking or contributing a dish to a Thanksgiving celebration this year, there are definitely ways to lighten up your meal without compromising flavor. Here are a few ideas and tips on how to accommodate restrictive diets and ease the guilt of indulgence this year.
- A few common substitutions can lighten most casserole dishes: instead of sour cream, use plain, non-fat yogurt. For butter, try soy butter or light EVOO instead.
- Instead of mashed potatoes, try cauliflower. Roast in EVOO, salt and pepper at 425 for 30 minutes and mash a splash of skim milk (or almond milk for your vegan friends). I like to add parsley and lemon for flavor too.
- I love sweet potato pie with marshmallows on top, but I skip the cream and butter in the mash and just use water–or better yet, try coconut milk or almond milk for a twist that is just as sweet. Toast pecans in brown sugar and use that as a topping substitute for the marshmallows to avoid the processed sugar and corn syrup.
- Fresh cranberry sauce is always better than canned and most stores carry bags of cranberries this time of year for this purpose. Take the extra time to use fresh cranberries this year by simmering them in a cup of honey, a quarter cup of orange juice and a quarter cup of 100% cranberry juice (not cranberry juice cocktail). I like to add a little orange or lemon zest too.
- Instead of green bean casserole, try one of my roasted green bean combinations from this past article; or, roast at 425 for 15 minutes with shallots and hazelnuts and Dijon mustard dressing.
From Dito Sevilla. Email him at dito[AT]borderstan.com, follow him on Twitter @DitoDC.
The Holidays have arrived. Here we are once again finding ourselves smack in the middle of the “season.” Somewhere between door-to-door costumed candy raids and the glowing lights of yuletide splendor, beneath the canopy of autumn’s confetti of falling foliage rests Thanksgiving. Created by Lincoln, amended by Roosevelt, this eleventh month smorgasbord of seldom seen culinary treats may be as American as apple pie (or pumpkin in this case), but unlike white sneakers, Nascar, and the 40-hour work week, my family took an instant liking to this little slice of Americana.
Growing up, Thanksgiving meant much more to me than it did to all the other kids at school. These kids -amateurs as I saw them- were generally excited about a five day weekend or about the prospect of traveling to relative’s homes for some turkey. They seemed satisfied with Our Lady of Mercy’s incredibly confusing system of dealing with the concept of a “half-day.” Holding all seven class periods , plus recess and lunch in approximately half the time by cutting everything by 45% leaving hundreds of uniform clad Catholics running around in their own time elapsed version of a real school day.
Recess was 6 minutes, lunch 22. Mrs. Foley had barely enough time to wheel in her craft cart, fold up some paper, hand out scissors when “DING”, the bell rang leaving my brown and orange Pilgrim-shaking-hands-with-Indian (back then we called them Indians) garland looking rather ungrateful. Other schools as I would come to know, and at the happy-to-contribute-my-opinion age of 9 suggest, simply lopped off the last two periods, skipping lunch altogether and voila, there’s your half-day. But no, this was Catholic school- and they did things by their own rules, and rulers… so you didn’t question things too much, less it upset the Baby-Jesus and land you in the principals office, a room apparently decorated by Helen Keller’s lesbian Scottish cousin.
Anyway, I would sit at my desk, which I had set up nicely in the executive manner, with two chairs facing me so that I could interview my secretaries (female friends) and ascertain exactly what they would be served at their respective homes. The search for evidence being the driving force that it was, I kept copious notes, hoping to bolster my case at home and my need for a product I had seen on television. I had heard of this Stove Top Stuffing® a lot. Commercials were legion, advertising the fluffy seasoned crouton mush Americans literally stuffed into the caverns of the turkey emerging as a delicious accompaniment to the holiday feast.
I saw little Johnny rushing from house to house, conning mothers all over his fictitious TV town for second, and third helpings. The girls made it clear that they were always served stuffing, but they were not sure where it came from, how it was made, or whether or not it was StoveTop® brand. They assured me, where I to show up at their door unannounced, their mother’s would happily serve me anything I liked. I was satisfied. It was good to have a back-up plan.
Just hours later preparations for the next days gorging were in full swing. My family, didn’t eat “American Food” often, much less serve it to 40 people more than a couple times a year, so obviously it required a total overhaul of the kitchen. There were only two days a year that did not require the laborious and ongoing preparation of black beans — Thanksgiving and Easter. On every other day of the year, on three-hundred-and-sixty-three other days of the year, black beans for the next day’s meal would be cleaned, sorted, and soaked overnight. Latino meals it seems have no better friend than the nutritious, delicious, black bean.
More than 20 years, I ate them nightly served alongside everything from roasted chicken thighs to a mysterious orange noodle dish. The black bean made its appearance with rice, between slices of bread, blended with heavy cream it made a spectacular soup- even better with an egg poached in it. It was everywhere. Some days, I think I’m part black bean. But this was thanksgiving, and on this day, our beans were green, “French Style.” Oh, Fancy! However, as an aside I must be honest- there were always leftover black beans and they could be warmed at a moment’s notice should a bean emergency erupt. Meanwhile, while the Thanksgiving eve retrofitting continued family scrambled about, flatware was sorted, counted, polished, and counted again.
No silver spoon would wind up in the trash this time! Of course one always did, and sure enough there was good old Miguel dutifully rummaging through the bags of Turkey parts and dry pumpkin pie pieces on the hunt for the missing spoon. It was always found, no reward proffered. Tables of various sizes would be set up in different rooms, over the years we experimented with a multitude of creative layouts, biannually settling on whatever arrangement kept the children as far from the adults as possible. It was an opportunity to use cloth napkins, an experience I saw as my birthright, one which my grandmother did not. We laughed, we discussed. I wanted to use the finest porcelain, “it’s from France,” I insisted.
She laughed at me. I said, “look at this border, this is beautiful.” She said, “Yes, I served Nixon on those, you are not Nixon.” I sighed. She reminded me that I had once re-heated my uncle’s dinner plate in the microwave. After a rather excessive 2 minutes on high the baroque gold inlay exploded leaving her without a microwave, and unable to serve 36 in high style. We settled on a comparatively unceremonious Noritake pattern, I called it buffet ware, she agreed but said it was pre-war. Once she said war, the discussion was over.
I launched into my prepared remarks about stuffing, our need for StoveTop®, How everyone else was serving it. I was rebuffed. “Where does he get these ideas?” They asked? I ignored the rhetorical trap. I pointed out that Mimi had prepared Manwhich® when I begged. She said she only did it so I’d try it and dislike it, and did not think I’d love it so much. She was good, I was losing. But I was charming, so I played my last hand, the hand any first generation immigrant can use on their parents. I said, “But, it’s tradition!”
They all paused. Air slipped from their lips, eyes rolled. I got them. They couldn’t screw with this Rockwellian scene. We were making a meal totally unfamiliar with out culture, what did they know? After much feigned discussion, and the obvious realization I would not shut-up, and because I was so loved, my father came to my rescue, offering “alright, enough, shut-up, we’ll make it, we’ll make it, shut-up.” I was never so happy. I loved him more than I loved stuffing. My grandmother smiled that knowing smile. She admired my spunk, my love of food, family and tradition. To bed I went, dreaming of stuffing.
The next day, up I was dark and early, it was 4 am, time to put the turkey in the oven. Mimi, adjusting her morning pinafore apron looked the bird square the butt, the focus of a surgeon, 40 years of turkey cooking behind her steeled expression. There on the counter it sat, a 29-pound chicken-looking thing. So gross, so pale, so cold in it’s naked innocence. Soon it would be defiled by prodding and jamming, cracking, trussing and stuffing, and then roasted to perfection. I loved the transformative aspect of it, the druids I imagined did this, and perhaps even the masons had a procedure for turkey preparation.
It was magic to me, after all, it was the last time one could get a peek of the bird because after breakfast the cloak of secrecy would be pulled tight, the kitchens declared off limits. My grandmother’s cook and bean maker Emeleina would transform into a basting machine, cracking the oven door and squirting the bird every 15 minutes between her naps. Hours would pass, and then with what appeared to be the grace of a magician’s wand, we had food for 40, with leftovers for all.
Watching television, I became acquainted with the idea of a father figure presenting the turkey to an adoring family and subsequently carving it up for all and sundry to witness. That was simply no the way we did things. Out of the oven the beast would come, drained of all excess juices my father and grandmother would quickly begin the last stages of their work. The gallon or two of gravy would need to be prepared. The roasting pan spread over 4 burners to deglaze. Wine was added, though a blast of steam, a drop of flour sifted in- but not too much, careful and whisk, don’t stop whisking!
All the while the bird was brushed and drizzled with some cardiac arresting mix of clarified butter and bacon drippings. It looked more like it had spent a lifetime on the French Riviera than the last 12 hours in the oven. Out it went for all to see, there was applause, there was fanfare. Aunts, uncles, cousins salivated. After a quick tour of the first floor, the beast was returned to the kitchen, as chafing dish after chafing dish of the “French Beans” were set out, followed by an endless parade of rice, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, the obligatory salad as over-dressed as the woman of the family and of course my stuffing were brought out and laid to rest on the buffet line.
Eager was I to confirm that there was more held in reserve, I returned to the kitchen to see my father brandishing his electric knife, taking it to task on a steaming slab of turkey breast. My grandmother, a confirmed micro manager guided the serrated blades gently with her index finger ensuring uniformity in slice size. Out they went, 4 sliced turkey breasts. The beautiful white meat perfectly moist, expertly prepared fanned across a silver tray- wait, what? “4 breasts Mimi,?” She made no expression, just kept slicing. Across the room, with the noted exception it was missing a drumstick for my grandfather to enjoy, the turkey I saw, the turkey everybody clapped at was intact.
Mimi smiled and handed me some breast meat. It was juicy & delicious.
I said mischievously puzzled, staring at the 29-pounder soon to meet its electric end, “They don’t know that’s not all from one turkey, we’re fooling them?” With a quick glance towards the doors, she winked and said, “It’s tradition”
Borderstan recently welcomed Candida Mannozzi in the Lifestyle section. She is sharing her observations about people, places and general things she observes in the neighborhood.
From Candida Mannozzi. You can reach her at [email protected].
Happy Thanksgiving, Borderstan.
With the holidays upon us, a thought occurred to me: Instead of being thankful for the good people or things in my life (the exercise has at times felt suspiciously self-congratulatory), why don’t I do something to make someone else grateful? I’m turning Thanksgiving on its head somewhat. I hope that’s allowed?
My perception of Thanksgiving has, understandably, evolved over my many years here. In the mid-1980s, as a college kid and foreign student, Thanksgiving was barely a blip on my radar screen.
Do you know how many times Italian mamme (moms) pull these kinds of meals off, feeding friendly armies at almost no notice? But that culture operates in spontaneity. By contrast, Thanksgiving strikes me as an exercise in pre-arrangements.
We “internationals” spread out over a suddenly deserted campus on a long weekend, in the noticeable absence of most of our U.S. peers. All the favorite dining hall spots were free for the taking, the place echoed. We were not irritating others if we stopped to chat with the pizza guys in the off-campus dive, there was no line being held up, the place was ours!
After spending more time here and cultivating significant friendships with Americans, Thanksgiving became a more important feature on the annual calendar of festivities. Even though I still chuckle at the choice of turkey as the “piatto forte” (main dish) for this occasion, I have been invited to enough such gatherings to appreciate their underlying sentiment.
However, why Americans go through two major family reunions in barely a month, given the attendant drama that inevitably accompanies such events, is still a mystery to me. Gluttons all, for food and punishment!
I wonder at some aspects of Thanksgiving. The shopping and consumption frenzy that precedes and follows it is inexplicable to me. Store shelves emptied worse than during emergencies? Family phone and data plans go over their monthly limits with calls, travel arrangements, last-minute instructions and recalls.
Do you know how many times Italian mamme (moms) pull these kinds of meals off, feeding friendly armies at almost no notice with freshly made pappardelle? But that culture operates in spontaneity: “Ma, Marco! You brought four of your friends home for dinner without telling me?! Well, go grab the chairs in the good sitting room. Boys, we’re not setting up the main dining table now, sit with us in the kitchen. Pass the parmigiano!” (And you can bet Marco will be doing the dishes after the meal, with or sans help from his friends.)
By contrast, Thanksgiving strikes me as an exercise in pre-arrangements. Here, we mobilize: the men are in charge of… the women meanwhile… aunts, uncles and grandparents are tasked with… the occasional invited friend is asked to contribute… by the time we’re all seated at the groaning table, winded, celebrating our tactical victory over the outside world of equally crazed consumers – well, we’re understandably exhausted and roast turkey can, easily, seem a true delicacy.
I don’t think Tryptophan has a single thing to do with the post-prandial comas we all collapse into. Coming off the adrenaline rush that led up to the meal is what knocks us out!
Still, puzzlement aside, I admit there is something quietly comforting about being gathered around a table with close friends and family. All cultures have a ritual of this kind. It’s universally recognizable, no matter where you are or where you’re from.
So to deserve my place at that table, this year I’ve been trying to do a simple good turn for someone every day, and one for me, to keep those good wheels spinning. You know, I may just keep it up even after the holidays.
So, thanks for Thanksgiving, America, and I hope it was a happy one for you, Borderstan!
Gravy, more gravy and yes, of course, stuffing. Frankly those things were the only things on my mind this weekend as I enjoyed the season’s first cold weather (I say this because I bitterly wore my winter coat).
But as that weekend ends, we move on to this week, which always tends to get lost in the shuffle in terms of work productivity and actually accomplishing tasks because most people can only think about two things: gravy and stuffing. (Sorry, but actual turkey comes and goes, stuffing is special. Did I forget pie?).
Borderstan has several fine writers to give you recipes and food recommendations in DC, so I’ll just stick to what I know — what’s goin’ on in the sports world over the holiday.
Thanksgiving weekend can be a very full slate of enjoyable contests in a variety of sports. This year, thanks to the unwavering stupidity of the NBA (everyone involved), the menu is a little smaller but no less great. Here is the weekend breakdown, so after your meal, unbutton those pants, slouch a bit and enjoy other people being active.
Thursday: Gobble Gobble Day
12:30 pm, Green Bay Packers (10-0) at Detroit Lions (7-3), Fox. The Lions have been playing on Thanksgiving Day since Tim Allen was the coolest tool-man in Detroit, but for the last decade have been the joke of the league. Not the case this year as this division match-up is easily the best game of the day. Wake up hungover from your previous night’s awkward home reunions and enjoy the smell of the kitchen while watching Aaron Rodgers discount double-check all over the field. Important not to eat too much during this game. Save your capacity for prime-time: the bird.
8:30 pm, San Francisco 49ers (9-1) at Baltimore Ravens (7-3), NFL Network. Two brothers as head coaches facing off with easily two of the best teams in the league. As my roommate often says, if Ray Lewis (Linebacker for the Ravens) started a church, people would flock to him. This is the “digestion game,” most of your relatives will be asleep and others may just be a bit tipsy. This game goes well with a second round of the dinner food, pending there are leftovers available.
Friday: Did we really eat that much? Yeah, get over it!
1 pm, Detroit Red Wings vs. Boston Bruins, NBC. Wake up slowly with this game between the defending Stanley Cup champions and the octopus throwing Red Wings. I recommend hot mulled apple cider with this one.
2:30 pm, Arkansas (10-1) vs. LSU, (11-0), College Football on CBS. Both teams are ranked in the top 3 in the AP, ESPN, BCS, etc. (I really hate this system, but I’ll save that rant for later.) Only one of these teams can advance to the National Championship, so plenty on the line.
Sunday: Yes, I am still eating leftovers. Got a problem?!
6:30 & 9 pm, College basketball tournament finals, ESPN2. November is full of mini-tournaments in fun locations that tend to get the big teams playing each other before they hibernate to easy non-conference games (then around Christmas it switches to all conference). True contenders may show themselves, while flash-in-the-pans retreat to mediocrity.
There are lots of other games over the course of the week, but these are the highlights. This is also a great time of the year for some pickup hoops, backyard football, or cut-throat scrabble. If I missed a great event, let me know, otherwise safe travels everyone and have a great Thanksgiving, Borderstan.
Thought of the Week
- Will old NBA highlight reels get me through the lockout? Doubtful. Ugh Stern, Hunter, and everyone else involved…
Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!
I like to think of the weeks before Thanksgiving as “practice.” If your family is like mine, expectations run high to make something that can become a new Turkey Day tradition. Get to the farmers’ market this week to do some testing of your own with delicious winter greens and cold weather fruit.
Last year I shook up tradition by making curried cranberry sauce for the family, but with greens looking so good at the market this week, perhaps I’ll “practice” these creamed collard greens from Bon Appetit on myself.
The Dupont Circle Market will feature Asian long beans, collards, cranberry shelling beans, turnips, arugula, fennel, cauliflower and apples. You can also pick up a variety of pears including Asian, Bartlett, Comice, Seckel and Bosc.
Also look for sweet potatoes, radishes, carrots, lettuces and beets, as well as broccoli, potatoes, onions, kale, Swiss chard, mushrooms and spaghetti squash.
14th and U
Whisked! has Scalloped Potato Tarts with Asiago cheese, onions and fresh herbs, and homemade Chicken Pot Pies. Pre-order a white, broad-breasted turkey from Truck Patch at the market or pick up fall firewood from the Garner stand. In addition to pears and apples at the market, check out the Kuhn stand for sales on bags of red onions and half price on heirloom pumpkins during the last hour of the market.
Don’t forget, only three weeks remain for the 14 and U Streets NW Farmers’ Market season, so stock up on favorites soon.
Maybe it’s cheesy, but here at Borderstan we thought we’d share what we are all thankful for this Thanksgiving! Some of us got silly, some of us serious, some stayed in the ‘hood and some shared what they’re thankful for in life. But please know, dear readers, we’re eternally thankful for you. – The editors and writers at Borderstan
• • • • • •
Alejandra: I am thankful for good friends who share my love of Banana Leaves delivery. I’m thankful Whole Foods’ wine cheap wine selection. But most of all, I’m thankful for the great guys at Zorbas who know when one is sick, baklava makes it all better.
Danny: I am thankful for the endless discovery of the brilliant live music that flows through our nation’s capital. And I am extremely grateful for my incredible friends and family all around the world!
Luis: I am really thankful for all of the wonderful contributors who make Borderstan possible.
Mary: I am thankful for the yard/gardens at the corner of 15th and P, at 1521 P, and 1511 16th for making my day every time I walk by. Then there’s Robert who plays the saxophone by Whole Foods. And finally the pecan chocolate chip cookies at Whole Foods (when they have them!).
Matty: I am thankful for the croissants at Steam Cafe, the lox at Java House, great neighbors, and a neighborhood where I can walk most everywhere. At home, I am thankful for Luis, Lupe and my garden. I am thankful to live in a climate where winter is not five months long. And next year I hope to be thankful for an affordable diner on 14th St. where I can get a hamburger at midnight — I’d settle for 11 pm, indoors, because this is DC, after all.
Michelle B.: I am thankful for Chai Tea. I am thankful for my boyfriend and dance partner who is always so supportive of what I am doing. I am thankful for a weekend of non-dorm room diet.
Mike: I’m thankful for Express shirts that come in all of the amazingly bright colors that I wear every day. I’m thankful for Glee for providing me with hours upon hours of great music and entertainment. I’m thankful for ballroom dancing and my amazing coach. Most of all, I’m thankful for the unbelievable family members and friends who I love!
Tom: I am thankful to live in such a walkable and fun neighborhood. I am also thankful for all the eye candy in my neighborhood.
From Alejandra Owens at One Bite At A Time
Last call for turkeys! Well, if you want a Truck Patch turkey at least.
The 14th and U Street Farmers Market’s last weekend will be November 20th so this weekend is your last chance to order up your turkey.
And if you don’t want to worry about dessert, tomorrow would also be the time to put in orders for pumpkin whoopie pies, pumpkin pies, apple pies, her new spiced cake pumpkin rolls, sweet breads, etc., from Pecan Meadow.
The Dupont Farmers market is bringing you oysters and clams from Buster’s Seafood — I’m on a mussels kick right now, myself, but I’ll buy some clams and make this linguine.
For you exotic meat eaters, there will be duck and rabbit available from Garden Path Farm. And Next Step Produce has kiwi and persimmons (which is a word I can never pronounce correctly… is that just me?). And don’t forget brussel sprouts! I love that they come on those big, thick stalks and you can cut them off individually. And then pan fry them in bacon fat. How else would you eat them!?
Thanksgiving Menus from Food Bloggers
Finally… I know it’s on your minds finally! What in the WORLD will you make for Thanksgiving dinner!? Well, here’s a round up of Thanksgiving menus from your friendly DC food bloggers:
- Not Derby Pie
- Adventures in Shaw
- The Carnivore and The Vegetarian
- The Passion Fruits
- Modern Domestic did a round up of her favorite pies
#turkeytalk on Twitter
This is yours truly’s first Thanksgiving as a blogger, so we’ll see what I come up with! If you’re on Twitter and need ideas or help, use the hashtag #turkeytalk… I hosted a chat the other night and not only did we come up with some great ideas but there’s now a community of folks using the tag to exchange tips, tricks and recipes.
What will you be making this year?