I hope you guys are having a wonderful Thanksgiving, I have so far and I’m not done yet! Pu-leese, do you think I would only be satisfied with one dinner. Hell nah!
Kicking off the holiday weekend was a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving with my girlfriends. I supplied the Honeybaked ham and some wine, my girls did everything else. It was a such a perfect way to start off Thanksgiving, spending time with close friends, relaxing with good food and wine. I’m so thankful I have these girls in my life, they have enriched my life and I wouldn’t know what to do without them.
Today was my Chinese Thanksgiving feast. A traditional hot-pot with my mom and my sister, as well as my mom’s closest friend and her family. Absolutely delicious. And what better way to top off this meal was with pumpkin pie! What? Pumpkin pie and hot-pot don’t go hand in hand? Huh, could have fooled me. But it was a lot fun catching up with old friends and spending time with the family. I’m so thankful for my mom and my sister and family friends who have always been there for us.
Tomorrow, we will conclude the feasting by heading over to Bob’s parents’ house for a traditional turkey and stuffing dinner. So, I won’t be missing out on turkey, yum! We are very thankful for that — and his family, too!
I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving. Embrace that food coma, today is really the only day that it’s acceptable.
Appetizer: Gorgonzola Cheese Ball: An addicting dip if you are a fan of bleu cheese. I couldn’t get enough, my favorite are the pear slices with it.
Entree: Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon. Okay, this is a super-easy way to make Beef Bourguignon. If you want to take on Julia Child’s original recipe, be my guest but we weren’t up for the challenge. The beef was tender but one criticism is that the pearl onions took on a lot of the wine taste, so much so it was a bit overwhelming.
Side Dish: Simply Mashed Yukon Golds. This recipe is included in in the Beef Bourguignon link. I thought it was a bit bland and probably needed a little more sour cream/milk for more of a creamy texture. But when you mixed it with the sauce from the entree, it worked out fine.
Dessert: Apple Cider Doughnuts: Apple cider doughnuts, perfect for a dreary fall evening. There was a little trouble with the dough since we didn’t have a doughnut cutter, but Katie made it work (apparently, shot glasses have multiple uses). Very tasty with the cinnamon-sugar dusting on top of it.
Appetizer: Cheese and Guinness Spread. It’s Beer Cheddar soup, in dip form! Yum, you definitely taste the beer, but don’t worry guys, I wasn’t too drunk to make dinner.
Entree: Broccoli Beef. An adequate recipe. I was expecting it to be more flavorful but I guess chinese restaurants add an exorbitant amount of salt, hence the difference in taste.
Side Dish: Asian Green Beans. Straight-forward green beans, with an asian twist.
Dessert: Cookie Dough Eggrolls. A dessert that goes along with our asian-themed dinner. Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies? We did have a slight problem with the eggrolls bursting when baked, but that did not hinder the tastiness.
Day three brought us to another long road trip: the 2 hour jaunt from LA to Joshua Tree National Park. We snagged some provisions at Albertson’s and set off. The ride was beautiful desert scenery, through some mountainous ranges and past a giant windmill farm by Palm Springs. Pretty neat!
Once we arrived at the national forest, we stopped to eat a sandwich and take in the scenery. The wide open vistas, beautiful rock formations and thousands of alien-like Joshua Trees made for a unique experience.
In the park, there are several short trails for daytrippers like us to take, so we first went to Barker Dam.
Back in the day, people thought that this would work out as a place to graze cattle, so they built a dam to get some water and let their herd roam free. While that didn’t work out, the dam is still here, and although it is no longer in service, its ruins make for interesting scenery.
Also: no swimming allowed.
Not sure what is going on here…
Another trail takes us into the Hidden Valley. This valley was huge, and filled with all kinds of different foliage. We tried our hand at some rock climbing:
No, serious, that is the Great Burrito, a famous sheer rock face. We went on a little bit more sedate path:
Still got up pretty high though:
After that trail we headed down to Keys’ View, a grand lookout that on a clear day (it was a little hazy on Day Three) you can see to Mexico. The view was spectacular though, looking out over the Coachella Valley and down to the Salton Sea.
Finally, we went to Skull Rock, a rock that kind of looked like a skull. Pretty neat.
Directly across from Skull Rock, I noticed one that should be called Gorilla Head Rock.
Heading back to LA, we were tired from being out in the sun all day. Once we returned, we got cleaned up and ready for our dinner at animal.
One of the highlights of the trip, we had been saving this for last, and for good reason. It is a small place, with no sign on the door, but inside it holds wonders. Pork belly with kimchi, head cheese, flatiron steak, brisket, Mexican Coke, the animal house cab… these things make for a spectacular meal. Truly an eye-opening gastronomic experience.
Satisfied, we headed back to Downey knowing that our vacation was nearing the end. Tomorrow, we would hit In-n-Out Burger (a must for any west coast trip) and get back on a plane to carry us back to St. Louis. A great time for us, and hopefully one for our hosts as well. Thanks to Drew and Jeff for putting us up and showing us around town. Having a local at your side give you great insight, especially when it comes to restaurants.