Sunday, November 27, 2005

Thanksgiving at the Federalist

We have no-travel rules in effect over Thanksgiving and other holiday weekends; the airports are zoos, the trains are so crowded one can hardly breathe and the roads are a nightmare, especially up here in the Northeast corridor. We will drive if it's not too far (say to our niece's or nephew's houses in Maine or New Hampshire), but on Thanksgiving, we've found we like to walk, especially if we are walking to a very nice restaurant to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner someone else has cooked!

Last year and this, we went to the Federalist at the Fifteen Beacon Hotel (the site is pretty but content-starved; I don't know how an independent hotel survives these days without decent website content). There are plenty of reviews of it online, so I won't go on about it. It's a top restaurant in Zagat, and a great one in our opinion.

The restaurant had a three-course prix-fixe menu, including soups and shellfish for appetizers, turkey (of course) and seafood for entrees, and desserts like pumpkin creme brulee and pecan pie. My husband chose the traditional route (sort of), having Maine diver scallops as an appetizer, turkey and trimmings as his entree and the pumpkin creme brulee as his dessert. I chose a truly yummy celery root soup as my appetizer, duck leg confit and roasted breast with root vegetables in a pinot noir sauce as my entree and pecan pie for dessert.

One of my favorite things about this restaurant is the room; dark, rich wooden paneling, high molded ceilings (white with dark wood) and high windows with dark brown wooden blinds. A banquette runs around the room that's well-upholstered and bouncy, and they have the requisite white linen tablecloths and napkins. The effect is one of rich coziness; sitting on the banquette having a glass of champagne on a holiday is the nicest feeling.

Our reservation was for 2:00pm, so we were able to sleep in, have a lazy morning, then get all dressed up (suit and tie, skirt and blouse) to walk over. From our place, it's a quick walk unless one has high-heeled boots on, then it takes a bit longer, especially in the snow. This was not a fast meal; we weren't home until maybe 5ish. And no supper later on, just a movie and a glass of water!

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