Feast For The Senses: Thanksgiving Ideas For Home And Away

The Grand Del Mar

The Grand Del Mar

This Thanksgiving holiday, it doesn’t matter if you’re a homesick expat far from home, on the East Coast or West Coast, or somewhere in between, the wandermelon staff has rounded-up some far-and-wide ideas for enjoying the holiday with exceptional aplomb.

East Coast Thanksgiving
With fall foliage ablaze in rich colors and mountain peaks rising above the streams and groves of one of Upstate New York’s natural wonders, we can’t think of a better East Coast Thanksgiving retreat than the Adirondacks.

the sagamore

The Sagamore Resort

THE SAGAMORE RESORT: Situated in the Adirondack Mountains on its own private 70-acre island with stunning views of Lake George, the seasonal Sagamore Resort offers luxe accommodations, family friendly entertainment, and a multitude of outdoor activities within the rugged Adirondacks.  With its grand, colonial architecture and breathtaking setting, this historic hotel offers a memorable backdrop to enjoy a scrumptious traditional Thanksgiving dinner and holiday weekend. Feast on a gourmet Thanksgiving Buffet at the resort’s La Bella Vita restaurant and choose from enticing options like an Italian Antipasto Board, Fall Harvest Pasta Station, Festive Carving Station, Roasted All Natural Maine Turkey, and Truffled Spaetzle and Confit of Brussel Sprouts. For a new take on sweet potatoes, try the delicious Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter.  Buffet: $39.95 per person; $16.95 (children under 12).

For those looking for a more casual dining experience, reserve a table at Mr. Brown’s Pub from 11:00am to 10:00pm. The Sagamore’s culinary team offers delectable options like Winter Squash Bisque, Smoked Duck Salad with Frisee and Watercress, Whipped Potatoes, Traditional Stuffing, and non-traditional items like Sizzling Olives, and Lemon Basil Gnocchi with Lobster Broth. $29.95 per person, plus tax and gratuity; $14.95 (children under 12). Following Thanksgiving dinner at Sagamore, kids will have plenty of activities, including a tree lighting reception with Santa.

Making A Weekend  Of It:
 Thanksgiving at The Sagamore includes: Three nights accommodation in either The Lodges or Historic Hotel; Breakfast Daily; Thanksgiving Day Buffet; and Holiday Reception Friday evening followed by Annual Tree Lighting with Santa.
Rates start at $597 for a Lodge Room and $807 for a Hotel Room.  For more information on The Sagamore, click here or call 518 644 9400.

West Coast Thanksgiving
It doesn’t get more West Coast than sun-soaked San Diego, where you can surf or sail before you feast. We’ve included a Southern California classic where you can welcome the holidays but feel like you’re living an endless summer.

THE GRAND DEL MAR: With its Old World sophistication, brilliant food and stellar service, this resort has just the right festive ingredients for a perfect Thanksgiving with family and friends.  San Diego’s grand dame has three options for dining this holiday, including brunch, a sumptuous three-course meal, or Chef William Bradley’s haute cuisine at the resort’s stand alone gem, Addison. The gourmet brunch buffet will be served in the Capella, featuring made-to-order waffles and omelettes, along with citrus gravlax, smoked green lip mussels, house-cured tuna, Snow Crab claws and slow-roasted veal loin.  The Carving Station tempts diners with prime rib, salmon en croûte, whole-roasted turkey and honey-baked ham. ($85 adult; $25 child). Amaya, located inside the main hotel with Chef Camron Woods at the helm, boasts a three-course fall tasting menu for Thanksgiving with entrées like roast rack of lamb, Loch Duart salmon and filet of whole-roasted beef tenderloin in addition to turkey.  Medleys of seasonal vegetables make for gourmet fixins, with sweet potato pie or pumpkin tiramisu for decadent dessert. ($65 adult; $90 with wine pairings; $25 per child). Or experience Thanksgiving à la Chef William Bradley at Addison, considered San Diego’s finest restaurant.  Chef Bradley takes the traditional meal to new haute heights: think gourmet surprises like ham hock risotto and turkey rôti with caramelized cornbread and Périgord truffles and baby sea scallops with crispy creminis and sweet curry.  Then there is Sommelier Jesse Rodriguez’s wine pairings to please the palette and celebrate with loved ones. ($98 per person).

Making A Weekend Of It: The Grand Escape package rates start at $325 Sunday through Thursday, then go to $355 per night over the weekend.  Regular room rates start at $395.  For more information, click here or call 858.314.2000

Dining At Home
For those dining at home, Executive Sous Chef Ramon Garcia of San Diego County’s Kitchen 1540 at L’Auberge Del Mar has this dessert suggestion:  “For a simple and unique Thanksgiving dessert, try an Apple Walnut Upside Down Pie. Melt brown sugar and butter and add walnuts to the mix. Peel Granny Smith apples, cut into wedges and add cinnamon, sugar, pineapple juice and corn starch for the inside of the pie. Create your own favorite pie crust.  Use a pie pan lined with wax paper, one layer of pie dough for the bottom crust; add the spiced/sugared apples and another layer of pie dough for the top crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes. This can last for a couple days and can be served cold or hot, no need to add vanilla ice cream as this recipe is perfect by itself. Have it for breakfast the next day by pouring the walnut and sugar mix on top and pop it in the microwave for one minute. Thanksgiving is about simple recipes that make amazing dishes.”

Turkey, Aussie-style
Maybe you’re not traveling this holiday, but there’s no reason your turkey can’t have some international flavor.  We’ve got the goods from Aussie chef Curtis Stone, who not only is gifted in the kitchen, he was named by People Magazine as one of the sexiest men alive.   Classically trained in London under the legendary Marco Pierre White, the young Australian Chef is also the star of TLC’s hit series, ‘Take Home Chef’ and the globally successful cooking/lifestyle program, ‘Surfing the Menu’. He also recently launched his new cookbook: Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone: Recipes to Put You in My Favorite Mood. “For me, there are few things that are more relaxing than lingering at the table with good friends,” says Curtis. “But I know that for a lot of people, putting together a meal, especially for guests, is the opposite of relaxing… I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t have to be that way.”  We’re of the same mind, so start celebrating this Thanksgiving with a  Down Under turkey recipe from Curtis to get you on your way: Turkey with Orange Thyme Butter and Fennel and Bacon Stuffing (click here to catch the maestro making the dish and here to get the full recipe).

Spirit of Thanksgiving
Finally, holidays just aren’t festive without the inclusion of spirits for a little good cheer, so we checked in with mixology consultant and spirits and wine writer Natalie Bovis-Nelson, creator and editor of  The Liquid Muse, an online compendium of all things cocktail, for some recipes perfect for Turkey Day.  In addition to the multiple hats she wears, Natalie is also a national spokesperson for major beverage companies who has appeared on shows such as E! Entertainment, and is the author of “Preggatinits™: Mixology for the Mom-to-Be,” so we’ve included a “virgin” cocktail recipe for non-tipplers and expectant moms.

Preggatini - Pumpkin Pie

Preggatini - Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving:  Pumpkin Pie Preggatini™
(c) 2008 Natalie Bovis-Nelsen, TheLiquidMuse.com, Excerpted from “Preggatinis™: Mixology for the Mom-to-Be.” Used with permission.

1 heaping tablespoon canned pumpkin
1 1/2 ounces sweetened condensed milk
2 ounces milk
1 ounce Fees Brothers Spiced Cordial Syrup
2 graham crackers
Graham cracker crumb rim and whipped cream

Grind graham crackers into fine crumbs in a food processor.  Pour onto a small plate.  On a separate plate, pour a small amount of spiced cordial syrup.  Dip the rim of the martini glass into the syrup, then into the graham cracker crumbs, set aside.  Vigorously shake milk, sweetened condensed milk, remaining spiced cordial syrup, and pumpkin into mixing glass, with ice.  Slowly strain into rimmed martini glass.  Top with a dollop of whipped cream.

Tippling  Turkey Punch
© 2009 Natalie Bovis-Nelsen, The Liquid Muse.com. Used with permission.

1 liter cranberry vodka
5 cups pomegranate juice
3 cups blood orange juice
2 cups fresh lemonade
1 bottle chilled sparkling wine
2 oranges sliced into rings
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
Cranberry Ice Cubes:  Freeze 2-3 cranberries into 3 trays of ice cubes.

Pre-mix pomegrante juice, lemonade, blood orange juice, vodka and orange slices in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (at least 3 hours, preferably overnight). Transfer to a punch bowl before guests arrive and add chilled sparkling wine.  Ladel into wine glasses or punch cups and add a couple of cranberry ice cubes. Makes about 24 servings.

Cheers! and Happy Thanksgiving from wandermelon!

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