Friday, 28 November 2003

BGM: Diana Krall's Live in Paris

Good afternoon everyone!

I took Grandpa and Grandma Ongg to Thanksgiving dinner last night at a Californian restaurant in Ebisu (Tokyo) called "Cabana." The food was not traditional home-style or lavish hotel style, but it was nice, light (quite an oxymoron to "Thanksgiving dinner"), expectedly chic, and rather satisfying. Grandma seemed quite happy and the usual platonic Grandpa seemed like he might have enjoyed the slight change from the usual. I took a few pictures.

The course started with a mango sparkling wine, which Grandpa and Grandma opted to replace with just mango juice. Of course, I had the more exciting original version. The first course was large servings of Caesar's salad with just the right amount of ground anchovies in the dressing and shaved parmesan cheese dressed over the top. Next marched in chic little bowls of pumpkin soup with a little bit of whisked cream spiraled into the soup at the top. Then we were presented with a triangle of neatly stacked rosemary roasted turkey with a light gravy, accompanied by a small tower of creamy mashed potatoes decorated with colorful vegetables on the side, and of course...a cut of fresh bread pudding with a pleasant hint of rum. Coincidentally, one of the two American expats at the next table was celebrating his birthday, so when the waitress brought the cake lit by thin, sparkling candles against the dim but warmly lit background, the entire restaurant joined in singing a happy birthday to him. What a lucky fellow to be away from home, yet surrounded by friends and other well-wishers on Thanksgiving Day. What a lucky girl I am to be in a foreign land and still have family to celebrate Thanksgiving with! To finish the night of appreciation for our loved ones and everything we have, we were brought a pumpkin seed and walnut pie laced with caramel on a deliciously crumbly crust and topped with a fluffy scoop of whipped cream accompanied by a beautifully spooned serving of vanilla ice cream next to a small pool of bittersweet chocolate syrup that even Grandma finished!

The food was wonderful and the company I had it with made everything work. Without the right people to enjoy the cuisine with, the best dishes made by the most famous of chefs in the world will taste bland. Thanksgiving means a great deal to me, having spent most of my adolescence in the U.S. It's like Chinese New Year, where everyone goes home to be with Mom and Dad that they haven't seen or probably even called in...probably too long. It's a time to catch up on what the brothers and sisters have been doing lately while being put to work by General Mom in her kitchen supervised by the family dogs, and seeing what new additions to the family there has been while losing to them at Monopoly by the warmth of the welcoming fire in the living room.

It looks like the older we get, the more we'll be able to appreciate these moments. So I suppose growing up isn't such a terrible thing after all! In any case, I'm looking forward to Christmas!