Happy Thanksgiving 2015!

Happy Thanksgiving 2015!

Thirty guests for the holiday feast this year! We host our large annual gathering of family, friends and friends of friends. Visitors to our home included folks from faraway places: Finland, France, Scotland, the Czech Republic and West Hollywood.

You can compare this year to last year’s pics (in the previous Blog post), it was another very good year for food. I am truly thankful for this bountiful feast and the family and friends I shared it with. I am truly thankful for many things, including you reading this blog!

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 – A Dozen Beautiful Roses! “There’s gonna be a party tonight!”

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Thanksgiving dinner,
Our annual food orgy,
A friendly feast!

Preparations begin early in the week and continue all the way until the meal is served. The party was called for 4:00pm pst on Thursday and we always allow time for our guests to arrive before the dining commences.

The turkeys are thawed and prepared the night before. This year we had two 18 pound organic turkeys, seasoned with a herb & butter rub under the skin. One bird cooks at our house and the other at my sister’s kitchen. She also makes the garlic mashed potato, chocolate bread pudding and fudge. This year her vegetarian friend was visiting so they made the summer squash as well.

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 – Turkey #1 BEFORE

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 – Turkey #1 AFTER

Thanksgiving 2015 Dinner Menu:
Two 18 pound organic turkeys, gravy, two kinds of stuffing, garlic mashed potato, corn pudding, yam puree, asparagus, creamed spinach, mixed grilled vegetables, summer squash, fruit compote, cranberry sauce and cornbread muffins.

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving Feast 2015!

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Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving Feast 2015!

And there was some wine and other beverages:

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 – Wine and Finnish chocolate brought by our guests from Finland

Thanksgiving 2015 Dessert Menu:
Pumpkin, pecan and apricot pies (we also had an apple but didn’t bake it); chocolate chip cookies, 2 kinds of fudge, blondies, chocolate bread pudding & fresh whipped cream, Czech cake with marzipan, a chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream (someone brought a flourless chocolate cake but we didn’t even put it out) and Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake!

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 – the Dessert Table is waiting!

I did a little baking the night before as I mentioned in the previous Blog post:

Thanksgiving 2015 - Baking (the night before)

Thanksgiving 2015 – Baking cornbread muffins & Grandma’s cherry cheesecake (the night before)

2 Dozen Cornbread Muffins and 1 Dozen Mini Cornbread Muffins:

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 – A Bowl Full of Cornbread Muffins!

And this year, by request, I baked my Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake:

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 – Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake!

It was a great meal! And complete dessert overkill as usual. I had a full plate of tasty food for dinner and then only had a small piece of cheesecake and a couple pieces of fudge for dessert. And a good time and meal was had by all.

We have the whole process down and this year we used plastic (for dinner) and paper (for dessert) plates, so there was less to clean up and we saved some water in exchange for creating some additional trash.

I finished eating, helped with the clearing and clean up, watched the end of the Bears-Packers game and fell asleep. When I woke up, most of the final cleaning was done, the guests were gone and the tables and chairs were put away. So, BIG THANKS go out to my Step-Brother for helping out while I was napping!

It was an okay day for football. Detroit beat Philadelphia and Carolina beat Dallas, but Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers couldn’t finish and lost to Chicago, so I went 2 out of 3 on my picks. Bad news for Cowboy fans because Quarterback Tony Romo was seriously injured in the game and is out for the rest of the season. Sorry Bob.

Thanksgiving 2015 - Carolina Panthers vs. Dallas Cowboys

Thanksgiving 2015 – Carolina Panthers vs. Dallas Cowboys

Okay, we have “to go” boxes for our guests to take home leftovers from the feast if they are so inclined. I had cranberries with my brunch leftovers, but there wasn’t enough left for dinner the next day… we also sent most of the desserts home with our guests too.

Day After Leftovers for Brunch: turkey, stuffing, garlic mashed potato, cranberry sauce, gravy and cornbread muffins. (repeated for dinner without the cranberry)

Thanksgiving 2015 - Leftovers for Brunch the morning after!

Thanksgiving 2015 – Leftovers for Brunch the morning after!

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All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” to view previous Blogs:
Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake Recipe – Read the Blog> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1SV
Read last year’s Thanksgiving 2014 Blog> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1mW

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Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 – Pretty flowers on the dining tables too.

Happy Birthday Dinner at Mario Batali’s Carnevino at the Palazzo Las Vegas!

Happy Birthday Dinner at Mario Batali’s Carnevino at the Palazzo Las Vegas!

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Friday night! We were celebrating in Las Vegas at the Palazzo Hotel and made a dinner reservation for 7:15pm. We arrived on time and were seated without having to wait.

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Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – The Carnevino Bar!

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – The Carnevino Bar!

We had a choice of the Dining Room or a table in the Carnevino Bar with a view of the casino. We chose the Dining Room which was almost full, so we were seated at a 4top in the back of the house by the service doors (more about this later) and the entrance to the “group” and private dining rooms.

The Dining Room has a large metal cow in the center. We were sitting in the back of the house with a nice view of the cow’s ass. The space has an “old-world” rustic Italian theme. There are bottles of wine used as window display, and there’s a nice view of the Wynn and Encore hotels.

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – View of the Wynn & Encore Hotels

The service was excellent and the large restaurant staff is very well trained and extremely well managed and monitored! There is a defined procedure for every step of the meal followed by the waiters, servers and bus people. The meal was perfectly timed, done to order and everything we ate was excellent!

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

White linen tablecloths, a great menu with lots of variety, tasting menus and an extensive wine list were on the table and available.  As I mentioned before, we were seated at a 4top in the back of the house by the service doors. There’s a very large staff and they move very quickly. They also have carving carts for table presentations and large group rooms beyond the Dining Room accessed through the back of the house. I know this because of the constant stream of traffic rushing by our table, and the carts trying to fit between the chairs. There was also a clown car length line of business people that walked past our table to get to their party in the group room, probably 50 or so people parading past our table. It was a little distracting, and almost annoying, but we were enjoying the food and this is really my only complaint about the dining experience. I would advise requesting a table away from the service doors and back of house to anyone eating here.

The food was terrific. Everything was cooked to order and prepared with care. The presentation and plating was clean and simple, the food being the focus. We made our choices and chose a glass of wine (rather than a bottle) from their extensive list. I really enjoyed each delicious dish, which is the sign of a great kitchen.

On The Menu:

Cheese puff appetizer starter, Grilled octopus appetizer, NY Strip steak (bone in, cooked medium), charred asparagus, mashed potato with poached egg & bacon, bread with butter & lardo, a glass of red wine and a coke.

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Cheese puff appetizer starter course

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Bread with butter & lardo (pork fat)

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Grilled Octopus in Limoncello

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – NY Strip Steak (bone in, cooked medium)

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Mashed potato with poached egg & bacon

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Charred Asparagus

A fine wine: 2009 Ciacci Piccolomini d’ Aragona Brunello di Montalcino

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Fine Wine!

ROSSO DI MONTALCINO DOC – Tuscany, Italy
The Grape varietal of this wine is 100% Sangiovese Grosso; fermented & refined in stainless steel & glass concrete vats w/temperature controlled through cooling plates & jackets, aged roughly 12 months in 20-85 Hl Slavonian oak barrels. Rosso di Montalcino fruit-forward, spicy & floral. Red berry fruits notes are enriched by slight floral & spicy hints. Warm, soft on the palate w/great structure & round tannins.

The wine was a wee bit tannic at first, but was great with the perfectly cooked meat.

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – a coke and a smile

For Dessert: Birthday tiramisu, peanut butter & chocolate torte with almond brittle and caramel sauce, an espresso and shortbread cookies with black currants to finish.

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Happy Birthday Tiramisu and an iced espresso

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Double Down on Dessert at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Peanut Butter & Chocolate Torte with Almond Brittle and Caramel Sauce! Like a Snickers on Crack!

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Shortbread Cookies with Black Currants to finish

Thank you Carnevino! Thank you for a wonderful birthday dinner! I really enjoyed the food and the service was terrific. I would definitely return and recommend it to my friends. It really is one of the best steaks in Las Vegas.

GOOD SHABBOS!

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Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

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All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

Vegas Leftovers!

Vegas Leftovers!

Vegas Tip! (or tip for any hotel stay): Request an in-room mini-refrigerator for a “special diet” or “medical reasons”! They usually provide them without a charge (ask them to waive the fee if there is one) and you’ll have a place to store leftovers, food you bring/buy outside the hotel, and a place to keep beverages cold (much better than the ice bucket). My Vegas leftover breakfast: cold NY strip steak, cold boneless buffalo wings with ranch dressing, pineapple juice, tiramisu, slightly stale donuts & a banana (not pictured)

Friday Night Dinner – Good Shabbos!

Friday Night Dinner! Good Shabbos!

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I did a little happy cooking in the kitchen today! ON THE MENU: Sticky roast chicken with carrots and onions, roasted garlic red potato, sautéed asparagus, crudite’ (celery, carrots, cucumber, radish) with ranch dressing, tortilla chips with fresh guacamole, fresh made raspberry lemonade and an iced espresso.

Starter course: Crudite' (carrots, celery, cucumber & radish) w/ranch dressing

Starter course: Crudite’ (carrots, celery, cucumber & radish) w/ranch dressing

Starter course: Fresh made guacamole with tortilla chips

Starter course: Fresh made guacamole with tortilla chips

Sticky Chicken

Roasted Sticky Chicken (cooking)

Sticky Chicken

Roasted Sticky Chicken with carrots and onions (cooking)

Sticky Chicken (done)

Roasted Sticky Chicken (done) with carrots and onions

Vegetable course: Sauteed Asparagus

Vegetable course: Sauteed Asparagus

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Potato Course: Roasted Garlic Red Potato

Dinner Plate

Dinner Plate: Sticky roast chicken with carrots and onions, roasted garlic red potato, sautéed asparagus, crudite’ (celery, carrots, cucumber) with ranch dressing

Fresh made raspberry lemonade

Drink: Fresh made raspberry lemonade and an iced espresso

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Dessert Course: Mixed Berry Tart

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Happy Thanksgiving! Pictures From The Feast!

Happy Thanksgiving 2014!

NOTE: I’m posting this Blog on 12-14-14 and will reference it in my next Blog “12-13-14”

All Day Holiday Entertainment! NFL Football on Thanksgiving! 3 Games on Thursday! DETROIT LIONS v. Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys v. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES, and SEATTLE SEAHAWKS v. San Francisco 49ers. (Winners are capitalized) There was also a Great Halftime show in Dallas with Pitbull, Neo and the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders!

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Pitbull & Neo rock Dallas at Halftime with the Cowboy Cheerleaders!

Pictures from the Thanksgiving Feast! WARNING: The following pics of Good Food may cause you to salivate, drool and/or develop mild to severe hunger pains. You’ve been warned. Enjoy!

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! The Dining Room Table is Set and Ready (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving dinner menu: Roast turkey with gravy, cranberry sauce, garlic mashed potato, corn pudding, candied yams, carrot & yam puree, 2 kinds of stuffing, asparagus, brussel sprouts, creamed spinach and home baked challah bread. Red wine, white wine, coke, cherry coke and coffee to drink.

Here are some pics of great holiday food:

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! The Feast! Dinner is Served! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! 25 Pound Turkey “Before” (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! 25 Pound Turkey – “After” (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! White Meat covered with seasoned skin (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Dark Meat (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Stuffing #1 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Stuffing #2 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Cranberries and Gravy (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Garlic Mashed Potato (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Candied Yams with pineapple topping (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Sweet Potato and Carrot Puree (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Corn Pudding (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Creamed Spinach (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Asparagus and Brussel Sprouts (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Home Baked Challah Bread (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Soda pop and Wine on both tables (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! The Feast! My Dinner Plate! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving Dessert menu: Apple-Pecan torte, Lemon cheesecake, Chocolate-mocha Parisian cake from Bea’s, Pumpkin cheesecake, 2 kinds of cookies, 2 kinds of fudge, and my sister’s Chocolate-Cherry bread pudding served with fresh made whipped cream.

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! The Desserts! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! The Desserts! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! 2 kinds of cookies, 2 kinds of fudge (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Pumpkin Cheesecake (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Upside Down Apple-Pecan Torte (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Lemon Cheesecake (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Chocolate Mocha Parisian Cake from Bea’s (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Chocolate-Cherry Bread Pudding (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! My Dessert Plate – Sweet! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

NOTE: I was going to bake a cherry cheesecake, but because I knew there would be enough dessert and due to a lack of “baking enthusiasm”, it did not happen.

I hope you enjoyed seeing this meal as much as I did eating it! And there were leftovers…

And then the “TURKEY COMA” followed by a nice nap. I was invited to another party, but had to send my regrets. Too full, too tired and too late. It was a wonderful day.

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