24 November 2012

Thanksgiving Recap And Some Other Stuff

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!  For some reason I really love Thanksgiving.  However, it is not because I am uber crazy about the food, nor is it particular family members I enjoy seeing nor is it watching the parade on TV--I'm not really crazy about any of that.  It's not either that I am steeped in tradition.  I'm open to doing new things each year, branching out with foods, eating at a different place, etc.

That all said, I was doing some reflecting and trying to figure out why I like Thanksgiving so much.  I think it's a couple of things.  I like bonding with my mom, as we bake together in the kitchen.  I like that the weather outside is cold and crisp.  I like that this holiday is the kick-off to the Christmas season.  I like its gentle reminder that a new year is not far away.

This year it was just me and my mom and she asked if I might be open to going to the Holly Hotel for Thanksgiving dinner instead of making a traditional meal at home.  I responded with an immediate, yes!

I had never been to Holly Hotel but it is a historic hotel, which no longer serves as a hotel but as a banquet hall/restaurant/comedy club/etc.  It maintains its historic-ness, though, despite its many faces.  The space is relatively small (for a hotel).  There are antique photographs covering the walls from floor to ceiling.  There is a bar with a stained glass backsplash of Poppy flowers (although I think Holly flowers would have been more suiting) and the words "Holly Hotel."  The windows along the first floor of the hotel boast similarly lovely stained glass windows.

The dining rooms were just barely illuminated by delicate-looking and very simply designed light sconces, which appeared to be original hotel features.  For the Thanksgiving holiday, and I'm sure Christmas too, the Holly Hotel had decorated trees and boughs of Evergreen with lights woven through.

 A diner offered to take a photo of me and my mom while we were waiting for our table.

I took some shots of me and my mom while waiting for our table.

Shot number two!

A lovely photo of my mom.

 I took this photo of my mom while waiting for our table.  I really like it of her--I think she's beautiful.
Even though she made reservations, we still had to wait close to an hour for our table--it was that busy!  Neither of us minded and it gave us time to people watch, explore the hotel a bit and develop an even greater appetite for dinner!

 Me seated in the Holly Hotel!

 My mom said it looked like the flowers were growing out of her head!

The menu for the day was soup, salad, choice of entree and dessert.  Drinks were not included in the blanket price of the meal but there was an extensive list of wine, champagne and other alcohol.

A thin, broth-y, gingersnap-y butternut squash soup was the first course offered, followed by a salad of mixed greens, candied nuts and chipped Derby (which I learned was a form of cheddar cheese) in an apple cider-honey vinaigrette.  The dinner options were the usual turkey, pork, salmon or a butternut squash vegetarian option.  The dessert options were pumpkin pie or apple crisp.

Like I said, I'm not sure what all was in this but it was good!  There was one questionable ingredient--not in terms of its being vegan but in terms of its identity--that I picked out.  Usually my palate is very discerning but even I did not know what it was.

Obviously, many of the options were not vegan but many were, and those that were not were veganized!!  The soup, minus the croutons, was vegan-friendly.  The salad was almost entirely non-vegan, which is unusual for a salad, so the chef stripped it bare and added cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and a different dressing.  I had a modified version of the vegetarian squash entree and skipped dessert altogether, which was okay with me, since I was full and since I had made my own vegan and gluten-free pies earlier in the day.

My own Vegan/Gluten-Free Single Crust Apple Pie.  This was delicious but I liked the pumpkin better ;)  I am more of a pumpkin pie type of gal, though!

I didn't get many pictures of my food because the lighting in the hotel, while cozy, was otherwise abysmal for photographing food.  I did manage one of my entree, which turned out okay, and a couple of my mom and me.  I also got some of my pies, with hopefully more to come later!  I often struggle with photographing my food because all I want to do is eat it!

Though I posted some Instagram pie photos above, here are some more of my pumpkin pie, before it's about to go in the oven!  I'll likely be posting more pie photos in the coming days ;)

Switching gears: the "Some Other Stuff" part of today's post heading refers to the fact that I've started running!  I always branded myself as a non runner--someone who does not like it.  I always got that gross phlegm in my throat when I ran, my shins hurt and I ran out of breath in, like, two minutes.

My friend, Megan, who teaches yoga at the studio where I work, runs and kept inviting me to run with her.  I accepted a couple of times and then backed out each of those times.  I finally went with her though and actually really enjoyed it, to my surprise!  Not only did I enjoy it, but I was, surprisingly, in shape!  I'm not fast, by any means, but I was able to keep her pace and did not feel out of breath or feel a need to stop and walk!  My legs and breath are strong from my dedicated yoga practice.  I am in greater shape than I was years ago when I first branded myself a non runner.

So in the past week, I've run three times!  And good distances too, like, 3-4 miles/time.  I cannot express how proud of myself I am!  While I did have my iPod, on my run I thought of so many things, like a moving mediation of sorts.  I thought a lot of Scott Jurek, too, having read his P-H-E-N-O-M-E-N-A-L book, Eat and Run.  He is a vegan who runs ultramarathons.  He's very bad ass.  I read his book this past summer and remembered thinking, I wish I liked running.  Now I do!

Blogger might delete this photo down the road but for now I'm posting it!

I will close here.  I apologize that this post is so long.  Typically I do not like such long posts but hopefully the pictures will help to offset some of the length.  These posts, too, are for me, and they help me to express myself and reflect on things.  I do not mean this in a selfish way but sometimes there is just a lot I need to get out, be it something major or unbelievably inconsequential!

Have a great weekend everybody!


  1. Aww you and your mom are both so beautiful! It sounds like a really amazing day and an amazing dinner. I love that they were able to accommodate and veganize most of the dishes for you. The meal sounds delicious and it looks like you had amazing company :) Both pies look so beautiful! I am a sucker for pumpkin pie but that apple pie looks really amazing.

    Great job with the running! I wish I could run but I'm just not cut out for it lol. I've tried at several different points in my life to start running and it never stuck. The most I've ever run at one time was 3 miles and it took me like a month and a half to build up to it though. I prefer fight training haha!

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  2. A wonderful, memorable Thanksgiving, that's for sure! I enjoyed "reliving" our great day through reading your wonderfully descriptive, entertaining post. And yes, the pies are as delicious as they loo :)

  3. Thank you so much, Sarah! And yes, it was a great Thanksgiving--I hope yours was too! I love when restaurants are accommodating!

    Did you do a lot of cooking/baking? I know you had your leftover cheesy cauliflower mash (yum!) and mashed sweet potato (yum! yum!) but did you have pie or anything?

    THanks so much, too, for your positive encouragement of running! I SWEAR I was in the same boat as you: I was like, I am NOT a runner. But I practice yoga pretty regularly, as I mentioned, and am in better shape now, so I was like, I'm gonna give it another whirl! And, like my yoga, it's kind of like a moving meditation (not to sound weird), especially given the slow pace I move, and I really like that about it!

    FIght training sounds awesome though! You must just feel so powerful and invigorated! I used to do my mom's Tae-Bo workout tapes with Billy Blanks and actually really loved them! I hope you're not cringing at that, lol! But I totally get your liking fight training (granted, Tae-Bo is probably a little different than the type of fight training you do!!)

    1. Thanks I had a great Thanksgiving :)

      I didn't really do that much cooking or baking. I had some leftover chocolate chip cookies from the cupcakes I made for my niece's class so I just ate two cookies for dessert :) I do a lot of baking for the holidays though!

      Maybe one day I'll try running again. I'd rather start up with yoga again for now though. Lol less stress ;)

      It is really fun! I had to take a little bit of a break while I figure out what's going on with my health but hopefully I'll be back to it soon! I do a lot of boxing and kickboxing :)

  4. That's awesome! Yes, I understand about having to put certain things on hold while you figure out what's going on with your health.

    As for running vs. yoga, I'm with ya girl: start with the yoga first. Considering the fact that I've been practicing yoga for two years and I've been running for, hmmm, three days (not even consecutive), I'm definitely a more staunch yoga supporter :)) Good luck!