Monday, November 30, 2009

Hosting Thanksgiving (with an assist from Zola Wine & Kitchen)

As a new couple in a new city, the holiday season is a busy time to say the least. In addition to the cross-country travel and family commitments that other people must deal with, new couples need to balance old and new family traditions within a new family dynamic. After all, the marriage of two people is seldom the union of just two people; it is the blending of two families.

For us, it has been about as easy as anyone could hope for, but that doesn't mean there aren't challenges. Fortunately, everyone gets along, which is the most important thing. But beyond that, 3,000 miles, varying work schedules, and other factors necessitate months of planning.

In order to unite our two families in one location and lessen our own time in busy airports, J and I have managed to host one holiday in DC each of the last three years. We've found this newly emerging tradition challenging, but also immensely worthwhile.

Now that Thanksgiving is over and we can sit back and enjoy the peaceful satisfaction of a job well done, we've come to realize that the third time is truly the charm. We've become decent tour guides and passable chefs, but more generally, we've become a great team. And that's a good thing, because for the two weeks prior to our parents' arrival, J was in Anchorage for work. This made it necessary to plan the meal via email and call in some reinforcements.

When J told me that she ordered an oven-ready turkey from Zola Wine & Kitchen, I was worried that it wouldn't be worth the cost. After all, why pay for something we can do ourselves? But after being able to serve the best Thanksgiving turkey that I've ever tasted, I can say without reservation that it was worth every penny. But don't take my word for it, just listen to J.

J Says

A week and a half before our families were to arrive for Thanksgiving, I was sitting in an Anchorage, Alaska office building learning that my trip was being extended by another week. This meant that I would be arriving home less than one day before our parents arrived. I knew then that my grand plans for Thanksgiving dinner were going to have to change, and I needed a way to make things easier.

Coincidentally, at the same time, a co-worker of mine sent around an email saying that Zola Wine & Kitchen was selling oven-ready turkeys (as well as prepared turkeys and all of the trimmings). The menu promised that it would be herb-seasoned and ready to stick in the oven. Based on my past positive wine purchasing and cooking class experiences at Zola Wine & Kitchen, I didn't hesitate to place my turkey order.

After a phone call and a few emails with the manager, my order was confirmed and I scheduled the pickup for the day before Thanksgiving. On that day, they had my turkey ready to go and even brought it out to the car for me.

Since this wasn't the cheapest turkey option ($79 plus tax), I was a bit worried that it wouldn't be worth the cost. My worry was completely erased as we began to carve the perfectly-browned bird and juices poured from every inch, accompanied by a wonderful herb scent that filled the kitchen. It was the juiciest and most flavorful turkey I've ever had. It also couldn't have been easier. It was cleaned, stuffed with herbs (even under the skin with butter), placed in a disposable roasting pan, and packaged with cooking instructions (lots of basting).

On this Thanksgiving, we give thanks to Zola Wine & Kitchen for saving the day and allowing us to spend time with family instead of stressing in the kitchen.

P.S. Even the leftover turkey is excellent!!!
Zola Wine & Kitchen on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Vidda said...

And we were so blessed to be part of the diners and family. XOXO Mom and Dad