On Tibetan Food, Baby's First Gravy & Coming Home
Thanksgiving 2016 started as most Thanksgivings do: with sheer terror. Cut to Rem and Em standing in Herald Square near a street meat cart, grasping each other amid the pudgy and faintly almond-scented tourists, when Southwest's alert system diiiings RCP's phone. "FUCK! the flight is no longer delayed!!!! We're not gonna make it! RUN!" And we took off like bats in hell, trucking it through Penn Station to the C train, headed to Queens.
40 mins later, we found Em's boyfriend Kelly (hi Kellz!) at Friends Corner Cafe in Jackson Heights, chilling with inherited L.L. Bean duffel bags and a ginger ale, waiting on an order of chicken momos, chow mein, and then thug (fresh dough with meat and Himalayan spices, similar to a potsticker -- think that's what it was, but Menu Pages is sometimes confusing...). Anyway. There was a picture of the Dalai Lama hanging over the deep fryer and we grabbed our order, got an Uber and made it through security at LaGuardia, easy peazy. At LGA, we found Em's brother (hi Joe!), another friend from Chicago (hi Ryan!) and ate our Himalayan eats sitting atop our luggage, thrilled we were going to make it to sweet home Chicago.
Arrive we did - circa midnight - just in time to nab a few hot dogs at Gold Coast Dogs, devoured in the backseat of Em's parents car (thanks again for the ride!).
Wednesday I worked from my mom's office - sweet talked Juve, her faithful chef, into giving me some chocolate brownie, apple, and pumpkin pies for a post-Thanksgiving celebration at my house, and remembered how good it is to be surrounded by history and people and the streets of Chicago which I had missed so damn much.
And Thursday, WSP and I cooked the Thanksgiving feast - or rather, I played sous chef. Mom made a biiiig, banging, beautiful bird (basted diligently, of course), sweet potatoes, non sweet taters, string beans, cranberry sauce and stuffing. And the real kahuna: actual gravy. Now - full disclosure - I don't love gravy. Or rather, I'm impartial but it doesn't tug my heart strings. But mom and I were like fckkk it, let's go hard, so we broke out the iPhone and got flour all over ourselves and did it forreal. Now, to make gravy, girl's got acquainted with a lil something I call a giblet. Giblets are not for the faint of heart. Those bad boys look like weird organs and continue to look weird, even as they're browning on your stovetop. But it's always good to push the comfort zone an inch from where it was yesterday and add another dish to one's "repertoire" so we plugged ahead. We browned the giblets on the stove, made a broth from the turkey drippings, spooned the broth into the giblet sauce, whisked in flour, salt, pepper, and worcestershire sauce and voila! Kinda super delicious, salty organ-y gravy. My grandparents - Chanel and Pinky as they're known - came over for dinner and we feasted in velvet, like the Baz Luhrman wannabees we are.
The next day, Friday, I had my Chicago peeps over for pie, coffee, mimosas and their leftovers; the Eugenios (hi Kris & Morgan!) brought over their pumpkin bread, Sara (hi bb) brought over sticky buns, Em brought over tangerines, and the rest of the gang feasted on cheese, grapes, strong sweet coffee and riffled through my dad's records.
And on Saturday, my parents and I drove to Avondale to check out Pisolino - brain child of Rachel and James DeMarte - near and dear family friends. Though we pretended like dinner was an after thought and "of course we're not actually hungry because god we've been eating all week" we devoured everything at the restaurant (which was cheee divino) - orrechiette with spicy sausage and rapini, bucatini carbonara and perfectly crispy thin crust pizza with fennel sausage and super creamy stracciatella. Really fcking good, go go go Chicago friends.
And this morning we rounded out the weekend with a trip to Chanel's for an NY Times frittata, black coffee and dumpster diving in my grandmother's closet (hello 1970s flats, I've been waiting for you).
And now I'm writing to you all, from the floor at Midway, with randos reading over my shoulder.
All in all, it was a perfect Thanksgiving and gentle reminder: home is where the books, records, and #YYF eats are.