Recalling MY Weird and Great Thanksgivings
I’ve had my share of weird Thanksgivings, as most people have. Some, like turkey day at Waffle House, I’ve written about before.
The best one was when my daughter was about nine or ten, and she planned, shopped, and prepared an entire day of feasting beginning with breakfast, with some very sophisticated food choices. Amazing. I kept her prep list as a memento. (pic below, fading with the years….like me).
My first Thanksgiving in China was memorable, as a local restaurant put on their idea of the holiday feast for a small crowd of expats.
I have had a couple of disappointing ones, as well. In Hong Kong, years ago, the woman I was living with, failed to show up or let me know she wasn’t going to show up for the meal I spent all day preparing. When she finally arrived home near midnight, she said that Thanksgiving had never been a “significant” holiday to her, and of course, this should have been a relationship red flag for me on her dysfunctional family upbringing. Took another year before I figured that out.
In 2011, I had a ball, went to the lake home of a woman I had been in lust with for years, for a giant pot luck, and most participants were foodies and great cooks, so the food was ample and wonderful. Still in lust with her, never told her, she probably knew, and haven’t been in touch with her for two years, due to peculiar circumstances. Really miss her. One of the sexiest brains I have ever encountered. Miss the feeling of that day.
Two years ago, Thanksgiving happened a week before the passing of Mrs. Burgerdogboy, due to alcohol poisoning. (Who knew you’d die from ingesting two liters of cheap vodka in a single session)?
Thanksgiving was one of her last (mostly) sober days. There were a lot of people around, none very interesting, some of her addict friends, who got sloppy of course, and the one relative she was on a speaking termss with, a bitter old crone widow of an even more bitter old man. Insanity is rife in Mrs. Burgerdogboy’s family, so we (I) never had much contact with them. Thank god for small favors.
Today, I am in L.A., it’s 7:00 AM, 62 degrees, heading for 80,and I’ve already strolled out of Shutters, and along the beach at Venice. I’ll have my feast with pals at the Palm, one of my favorite restaurants in the world. (My favorite, Musso & Frank, also here, is closed today). A small chain of elite steakhouses based in New York, for years, the Palm’s original L.A. location in West Hollywood was the consummate “Hollywood deal” restaurant. The maitre d’, “Gigi” who passed a few years ago, was an Italian immigrant who worked his way up from busboy at the original New York location. Gigi’s gift was making everyone in the restaurant feel like they were the most important guest in the world, whether they were a megastar from the movies, or a blue collar worker who saved for two years for a special anniversary dinner.
While the menus and prices of the Palm and its competitors, Smith & Wollensky, Morton’s, Ruth’s Chris, are all relatively the same, the Palm is my go to place. Especially for a “get lucky” meal. Or Dan Tana’s. (Depends on the level of sophistication of the date, of course, and Mrs. Burgerdogboy was genuine trailer trash, so she only required Taco Bell). Find your nearest Palm here.
Today, I started with the half and half, as usual (half an order of onion straws and half an order of house-made cottage), but was torn whether I wanted a steak, veal, or a burger (this will also depend on whether they have the burger on the holiday menu, which I am doubtful of. Dilemma. I wasn’t paying, so that didn’t figure into it. As of this minute, I’m leaning towards the veal. Memories of one of my most romantic weekends every, in Vienna, and a lot of veal was involved! (Update, had it, great. Pic below)
Want a recipe? Here’s how Frank Sinatra preferred it.
If you’re visiting the Palm on a date or to celebrate a special event, throw caution (and your wallet) to the wind and order the five pound lobster. Sometimes they have larger. Ask them to prep it for you table side (they will probably offer). An impressive dish.
Here’s the Palm’s dinner menu. I have lived in L.A. three times. Now, near it, a fourth time. I love L.A. So does Randy Newman.