Sunday, November 27, 2011

a nakano thanksgiving

"three turkeys?!"

when mrs. hapa ramen told me on our hiphop dance date that richie had three turkeys in their fridge for thanksgiving, i was both surprised and not surprised.

i was surprised considering how many events hapa had in the pipeline before thanksgiving....i.e,. a popup at bar tartine, two market days back-to-back, etc...which meant that there wasn't a heck of a lot of time to prep for thanksgiving. i don't think folks realize just how much prep work goes into hapa's regular gig at the tuesday and thursday farmers when adding things like popups and doesn't leave much time for coordination of a rather large holiday meal.

yet, i wasn't surprised...because...well, it is richie after all.

so after mrs. hapa ramen and i talked a bit more about thanksgiving, i didn't really think that much about the three turkeys. i figured that richie was going to do his thing and that i'd pretty much took it for granted that it was going to be great.

of course, it was.

i wasn't stressed about what i was bringing to thanksgiving because i had already arranged what i considered to be a rather fool proof strategy. sooooo....what do you do when you know that you are going to go to a chef's house (and not just any chef...but richie's pressure or anything) for thanksgiving? well, if you are the foodie buy food from another chef to bring for thanksgiving. and booze (i.e., templeton rye whiskey in this case).

when wing wings tweeted that they were thinking of offering up ready to bake biscuits for thanksgivng, i was ALL OVER IT. it was a no-brainer. i treat them like a bakery anyways, so i bought two dozen assorted (i.e., plain buttermilk, brown sugar black pepper, and bacon cheddar scallion) and picked them up the day before thanksgiving.

the FOH folks were really nice as usual. the ready to bake biscuits were packaged up and had heating instructions. i also received some additional instructions from the chef as well which was much appreciated.

i ended up baking them at my place before i headed over to richie's and mrs. hapa ramen's (yes, i'm calling her that because i don't have her permission to name her....but she really does have her own distinct separate identity). i had a feeling that the oven at their place was going to be in constant use and didn't want to add another potential stressor. baking the biscuits helped me get into more of a holiday mindset since a work project dropped on wed morning that i had to finish before i headed out for thanksgiving festivities at the nakano home.

when i arrived at the nakano residence, things were already in full swing. the apps of boccalone salumi, cheese from cow girl, gigantic shrimp that looked like mini-lobsters, etc where already on the table and bubbly wine was being passed around.

the aromas throughout the house were absolutely delightful. when i walked into their home, i walked into warmth, comfort, and hospitality. the hours went by quite quickly.....and then there was a flurry of activity to put out all of the thanksgiving mains and sides.

richie had deboned one of the turkeys and stuffed it.

oh yes he did.

he also sous vide turkey and then pan fried it.

oh yes he did.

of course, it was all so good.

there was no dry bland tasting turkey in the nakano residence that evening. absolutely not. as for the sides, there was also greens, brussels sprouts with guanciale, cranberry sauce, au jus gravy, a roasted squash with dates, dumplings (homemade russian style from svet), biscuits (wing wings), holiday souffle-like mash potatoes (riche's mom), and desserts (jesse).

the food was great. quite frankly, i wasn't expecting it to be anything less than great.

while the food was wonderful as expected, there were also some rather choice non-food moments throughout the evening that make me smile....and make the rather cynical foodie hunter all warm and fuzzy as i recall them days later.....
  • watching richie show his mom how to use a knife
  • colton dancing.
  • hearing how proud richie's mom was of him
  • mrs. hapa ramen and i discussing various options for our next date. richie trying to not look too excited or too encouraging about one of the specific shopping options.
  • jesse instigating a "making whipped cream contest". the young adorable brothers who put 300% behind the whisk. enthusiasm was infectious. i couldn't stop laughing.
  • my slight panic when i found out richie's mom had read "foodie hunter". i did a mental scroll through my blog...trying to figure out if i've written anything offensive. then panic completely dissipated when she let me know that she follows her son on twitter. then my reaction was sending richie a look that translated into "OMFG-your-mom-follows-you-on-twitter-especially-given-what-you-tweet". richie's response? a half shrug.
  • jesse and his wife holding hands. adorable.
  • getting to meet violet blue. i went to a commonwealth club panel earlier this year to specifically see her speak. smart, sassy, articulate, and even more uber awesome in person.
  • richie giving me a cup of coffee with a cheshire grin. anytime he smiles like that it means something is in the drink. sure enough, it had enough booze in it to put hair on someone's chest.
  • colton making a grunt noise to get my attention, holding up his arms, and wiggling his fingers....all indications that he wants to be picked up. i'm well trained.
  • at the end of the evening.....two seconds before i closed my eyes....trying not to laugh as a very inebriated friend gave his wife a lap dance. hence, my closing my eyes as i realized what was going on to prevent something like blindness.
  • the appearance of darth vader.
  • richie showing me video games, specifically the third person fighting game....which is like waving crack in front of an addict btw. i got a wee bit too excited and said that i had to stop. i was having flashbacks to being stinky at 3am with numb ass playing video games. this was thanksgiving after all.
  • the nerd moment when a group of us instantly identified that the picture of the space ship was serenity.
  • mrs. hapa ramen yelling out that she knew that i knew the answer to a movie trivia question because i read the young adult science fiction novel rather than watching the movie. we talk a lot. usually not about food.

thanksgiving at the nakano home was filled with so many lovely moments. many more than what i have recounted here. moments filled with family, friends, food, laughter, and many reminders of what i am thankful for.

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