I’ve been lucky to spend three Thanksgivings in a row in the Free State of Jones at my mom’s table. She has really perfected the art of the turkey day meal and I have perfected the art of eating it. But this year my sister will be watching the Macy’s parade in person, so it looks as if it may just be my brother Big Al, Lucas, Graham and me at her side.
It will be a bittersweet moment, for my sister will certainly be missed along with my niece and nephew and brother-in-law, but there will be no fighting over deviled eggs. It’s astonishing how a 95-pound woman can take down deviled eggs — stealthily, I might add — and hoard crescent rolls like a squirrel hoards nuts. (Nobody wants crescent rolls anyway. It’s so dumb.)
So, here is how this year will go. Big Al and I will fry up about a half-dozen turkeys for friends and neighbors. But if we fry up a turkey for you we will keep the giblets. At the very least we get the liver as tribute. Separately, we fry up livers and douse them with ketchup and hot sauce. While each turkey is being fried, we’ll throw the football. Timers will be set. Propane will be exhausted. Birds will be delicious.
This year I intend to do the dressing here and bootleg it across state lines. My mom handles the rest. Casseroles, desserts and all cold items will come from her kitchen. Maybe we can experiment a little this year.
For the most part, I hope to stick close to tradition. Maybe a crescent roll moratorium is in order. Here in Mobile, though, you have plenty of options to take the family out for many fantastic meals. Let’s see what’s in store for the non-DIY crowd.
The Battle House
The Battle House’s Trellis Room is proud to present its Thanksgiving Brunch Buffet in the Crystal Ballroom, and this may be tough to beat.
Start yourself off with a spinach salad with hard-cooked eggs, house-cured bacon and sliced mushrooms or a Caesar with Kalamata olives, red onions, eggs and house-made croutons. If those don’t sound appealing, you might be forced to try the shrimp remoulade salad with organic spring mix, grape tomatoes, hearts of palm and chilled jumbo shrimp — with house-made remoulade, of course.
After your greens, visit one of the three carving stations. House-smoked turkey breast with turkey demi-glace cannot be skipped on turkey day. Slow-roasted prime rib with freshly shaved horseradish sauce sounds delightful. Glazed smoked ham with pineapple chutney is a must.
Dressing, sweet potatoes, cranberry salad and a mac-and-cheese station with shrimp, lobster, tasso, bacon and jalapenos are amped-up normal sides. Haricots verts and Spinach Madeline put the hoity in the toity.
Wash it down with pumpkin cheesecake, apple cobbler with crème anglaise or pecan pie.
Price is $59 per adult, half price for children ages 6-12 and children under 6 eat free. For reservations, call 251-338-5441.
Across the bay the menus sound sweet, too. First course at Fairhope Inn is a choice of roasted butternut squash, apple and fennel soup or fall mesclun mix with poached pears, candied pecans, Gorgonzola, grape tomatoes and roasted-onion balsamic vinaigrette.
For entrees the choices are roasted turkey with a Conecuh sausage stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy with haricots verts or bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin with a sausage lentil cassoulet and apple demi-glace. A third option is cornmeal-seared red snapper with whipped sweet potatoes, haricots verts and hollandaise.
Tiramisu, pecan pie a la mode and pumpkin cheesecake are the desserts. Adult plates are $40. Good luck deciding.
Also available is a kids menu with chicken fingers or small turkey, macaroni and cheese, green beans and ice cream for $20. Call for reservations at 251-928-6226.
Plans for Thanksgiving at Point Clear’s Grand Hotel Marriott Resort are humongous. The day buffet is unreal. Let’s begin with the soup. Red curry shellfish, lemongrass, ginger, wild mushroom, thyme, tarragon and brandy sounds exquisite.
I believe I counted 10 different salads.
The displays are far too many to mention, but include cold smoked Gulf fish, Alabama oysters, PEI mussels, littleneck clams, pork belly and blue cheese, Robbie’s Tabasco and Gulf crab, artisanal cheeses and crab legs.
Stations have pecan-smoked tomahawk prime rib, Black Hills Farm porchetta and a whole hog stuffed with Conecuh sausage, herbs and Covey Rise Farm apples.
Entrees include traditional items but grab you with sweet-tea-brined roasted turkey, smoked turkey neck gravy, steamed crab legs with butter, butternut squash mezzalune, red chili molasses sweet potato with melted marshmallows and sorghum-glazed root vegetables.
The desserts are far too many to list. As a matter of fact, each section of this menu has more than I can fit. The price per adult is $64.95 and $32.50 for children ages 5-11. Call 251-928-9201 for reservations.
Go out or stay in, either way everybody wins. Pass the deviled eggs, please.