The New Thanksgiving Basics — Caviar and Nutter Butters

There seems to be a big trend in unconventional Thankgsivings (so many New York City restaurants were open and busy on T-day and one of my colleagues had lasagna for dinner; another had lamb). Me, I'm a big fan of traditional Thanksgivings—turkey, stuffing, the whole nine yards—and I spend the whole day cooking. But this year, I decided I should be a little bit more flexible, especially because I got to watch the Thanksgiving Day parade from the city's best fancy restaurant, Per Se. I didn't see the Shrek balloon, or much of the parade, though, because I was so busy running around to all the different serving stations chef/owner Thomas Keller had set up around the dining room and kitchen (he even provided handy xeroxed maps for all the stations): At the kitchen's entrance, Per Se's chef de cuisine Jonathan Benno (an F&W Best New Chef 2006) was serving fried soft boiled eggs (as good as they sound) and rib eye. Back in the pastry kitchen you could find the waffles and pancakes with rhubarb compote and whipped cream. But my absolute favorite place was the caviar station that also had platters of ridiculously good smoked salmon and sable and an endless supply of brioche toasts. I finished up at the dessert table, which was loaded down with mini apple tarts, little chocolate pecan cakes and those awesome nutter butter cookies from Bouchon Bakery. It wasn't easy finishing my cup of hot chocolate. Next year, I might just serve nutter butter cookies for Thanksgiving instead of pumpkin pie.

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