Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving at Ad Hoc Restaurant

I am attempting to eat at Ad Hoc Restaurant 366 times within mine or the restaurant's life. Each time represents a day during a calendar year. This is a tricky proposition because Ad Hoc isn't open every day (they're normally closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays), and closed on major holidays. For instance, 2012 is a Leap Year, however February 29th will fall on a regular Ad Hoc day off, so I'll have to wait until 2016 to eat there on a February 29th.
When I heard this past Spring that the restaurant (my favorite) would be open (as a one-off) this Thanksgiving I asked early and often for a seat. We've dined often enough to become pretty good friends with a number of the employees. It feels like family.

Prior to Thanksgiving dinner there were murmured rumors . . . "a whole turkey per table," "Chef wants one of each pie made per table," etc.
Pastry Chef Sarah Z. at 2 am finishing her Thanksgiving pies
Finally, the big day arrived. I ate a persimmon for breakfast and tried not to eat anything else before our 3:30 pm reservation. We drove past our friends' San Francisco apartment and picked up pineapple treats they'd brought back from Taiwan. We each ate one, which saved our grumbling tummies.

Once we arrived, we didn't have to wait long for the great appetizers. Every bit was housemade, down to the crackers. Hor d'oeurves featured olive and eggplant spreads, wrapped bread sticks, stuffed mushrooms and smoked salmon.
White bean soup
The turkey roasted for our table.
Turkey with all the fixings: onions, Brussels sprouts, yams, green beans, bacon celery stuffing, whipped potatoes, cranberry sauce, and little drop biscuits. The mushroom soup on the green beans was out of this world.
Our table of two was served half of each pie--pumpkin, apple and pecan with vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce and whipped cream. (Tables of four were given three full pies!)
This was my second time eating in a restaurant on Thanksgiving day. The first time didn't feel like Thanksgiving, this time definitely did. The entire staff went out of their way to devise a plan to make their friends and family feel really, really special. Everything about the meal was planned to create a feeling of home, comfort, memory, etc. We brought home a file box full of leftovers, just like the leftovers of our past Thanksgivings.

Ad Hoc's careful planning succeeded.  I felt extraordinarily lucky to have such a love-lavished meal.

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