Sunday, November 23, 2008

Jeudi Gras

Advent, about which you might consider reading more here, is a fast season. Should this be true, however, it lends new meaning to the pleasures of Thanksgiving. In the Christian economy, fasts draw their meaning from feasts, and vice versa. Accordingly, here are my pre-Advent picks:

Beer: Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale, like everything that brewery puts its minds to, is superb. Tröegs and Victory are two outstanding East Coast breweries that can hold their own next to Sierra Nevada (try the Pale or Pils), but the seasonal offerings of both sound way too sweet. (A chief micro-brewery mistake seems to be trying too hard.)

Rare Vos is an excellent choice for those corked single bottles, but they're so many of those to try that I'm not ready to repeat just yet. And there's always Chimay (my favorite is the triple), which contains the added benefit of supporting monasticism. Their cheese is great too.

Wine: Due to all the flavors in a Thanksgiving meal, what wine to serve is a famously difficult quandry, but here goes: For red, I suggest the longtime Milliner house favorite, Philippe Teulier's Marcillac. For white, go with the Petit Paris Bergerac Sec. Trust me on these two. Both in the 9-12 dollar range, and for Princetonians, both available at the Screw!

Food: Everyone has their Thursday sugestions, but what about Friday? I almost look forward to our annual Friday Turkey Pot Pie dinner as much as Thanksgiving itself. Expect nothing less from your leftovers. Instead of a formal pie, just fill a glass caserole dish with a sea of turkey pot pie goodness, and place biscuit "islands" on top. Don't forget to open another bottle of Marcillac.

Après dîner: I don't know port or brandy, but when it comes to whisky, the peat-packed Caol Ila 18 cannot be beaten (though Highland Park 12 is a bit sweeter and more affordable).

That is all. Enjoy, knowing a four-week fast season is on the way, a fast that requires one to ignore the fact that Tröegs makes a beer for fasting seasons too.

Your suggestions, granted they're as well researched and refined by years of trial and error as are mine, are heartily encouraged.