It’s been a delicious whirlwind of a week.
For the first time in a dozen years, we celebrated Thanksgiving at our house instead of celebrating with David’s family in Los Angeles.
David’s mom Ruth and his ex-wife Anita came up along with their son Daniel and his girlfriend, Tessa.
Aren’t they so cute?
We also had the pleasure of hosting David’s nephew, Joseph, a college student studying at Santa Cruz.
We had a blast all hanging out — and boy did we eat well all week long.
We started our time together with a spectacular dinner at Nostrana.
There were those fabulous signature salads with radicchio
plus homemade foccaccia and Pugliese-like bread
and then we had pizzas
and flat iron steaks atop arugula
and then the creme de la creme…
Dungeness Crab Cannelloni.
This homemade pasta was stuffed with luscious crab and a fennel crema — and it was a mind-blower.
It seems like we were eating so well 24/7.
We had big breakfasts at home, eating egg sandwiches on croissants with chicken apple breakfast sausages
or pumpkin muffins and smoothies.
This in turn would be followed by more deliciousness just a few hours later.
Nothing wrong with a tomato soup with basil and Manchego cheese croutons.
We also had lunch out at food carts downtown one day.
Joseph had never been to Portland and he was bowled over by the scope of food carts in general. He took note of the crowd interest in one particular cart and then ordered their one offering: a Chinese crepe filled with egg, pickled veggies, a spicy hoisin sauce, black bean and chili paste and cilantro. Oh, and crunchy won ton crackers.
Bing Mi is making this wondrous jian bing, and it’s now one of my favorite new food cart dishes.
We all picked well at the food carts around 9th and Alder.
From another cart, Sawasdee, we enjoyed Chicken Red Curry on brown rice and Pad Kee Mao Noodles.
Another cart provided us with warm grilled chicken souvlaki sandwiches with garlic yogurt sauce.
Tessa, my stepson’s adorable girlfriend, was enjoying her inaugural trip here too and she loved her Bibimbap from yet another cart.
What else did we eat this week?
There was a blowout at Duck House Restaurant downtown, currently my favorite place for Chinese food in Portland.
We had a huge table in the back of the restaurant and we ordered eleven different dishes, including these spicy wontons which are always UNREAL.
We also really loved the pork and green bean dish.
And on our last night, we had another solid night out at Jade Teahouse in Sellwood.
Jade has such an eclectic menu and they do everything well: burgers, stir-fries, soups, garlic shrimp, Asian bowls and more.
And then besides all these great meals out around town, we had plenty of time at home, playing endless Scrabble games
making pumpkin pie bunting
and our one crafty group effort: decorating our gingerbread house.
Charlotte and I bought a sizable portion of candy to decorate our pre-made house, and we enlisted the crew to sort the candy
and then deck out the house.
I loved the jimmies pathway, and the hatched roof.
It was Charlotte’s idea to use shaved coconut and then stain it with blue food dye for the chimney smoke, and I think it turned out great.
Because I’m always so focused on food, Thanksgiving Day meal was just another wonderful meal this week.
I started with a beautiful turkey from New Seasons.
I roasted it almost all day and then made Yukon Gold potatoes, cornbread stuffing with Andouille sausage, asparagus with truffle oil and a cheesy potato gratin plus a thyme garlic gravy to go alongside.
There were lots of dirty pans but it was so worth it.
Trader Joe’s makes an excellent Cranberry and Orange Sauce
and it was the final last piece in my Thanksgiving puzzle.
So a big thanks to all the California folks that flew up to celebrate this week with us. I’m so grateful to be part of this sweet and interesting crew – and how about my 93 year old mother-in-law?
Hope you all had fun and feasted well, too!
Next up, I can’t wait to show you next time my favorite new dessert.
I made it for Thanksgiving and it’s a stunner. Here’s a hint — it involved raspberries and the below ingredients.