* Disclosure: I was invited to dine as a guest. All opinions are my own.
Feasting with loved ones? ...yes please. Hearty comfort food to combat the November chill? ...I'm with you so far. Festive spices like cinnamon and nutmeg? ...bring it on! Turkey? ...meh. I'll admit I'm a very harsh judge of the traditional Thanksgiving (and Christmas) centrepiece. You can spend literally days and weeks prepping the gobbly thing and, in my opinion, it still won't beat a nice rack of beef ribs or a roast goose. Nevertheless I accepted my invitation to a Thanksgiving gathering at Rail House Cafe with an open mind.
The verdict – pleasantly surprised by the turkey! How huge were these turkeys if the breasts are this big?! I imagine it's easier to ensure the meat is cooked through perfectly than with whole birds. Also, the magic of the sous vide is a game-changer. Alongside the Norfolk roast turkey, we devoured cornbread and sausage stuffing, mac and cheese, cream corned casserole, glazed sprouts and bacon, green beans and praline... all drizzled with Calvados gravy and cranberry orange relish.
No Thanksgiving meal would be complete without at least two types of pie – a wise lesson from my American buddy Katie. Rail House Cafe served up pecan pie and pumpkin brûlée pie with whipped vanilla cream. Cinnamon old fashioned cocktails (made with Calvados and Bourbon-soaked cranberries) completed a wonderful feast.