Sunday, December 6, 2009

Two Thanksgivings!

A month or two ago we were introduced to the magic and wonder that is Portillo's hot Italian beef sandwiches. Portillo's is a restaurant chain in Chicago that specializes in Italian beef sandwiches as well as Chicago-style hot dogs. Chicagoans, as well as those who just appreciate the good food of Chicago, can order everything you need for a sandwich party on-line. After stuffing ourselves at our first introduction we had the idea that, instead of messing with the traditional Thanksgiving meal, why not just order the sandwich-making stuff and focus our culinary efforts on what really matters at Thanksgiving: pie.

So on Thanksgiving day at Matt's mom and dad's in Oklahoma instead of a turkey dinner everyone gathered around for Portillo's! The restaurant sends the meat packed in ice, as well as the gravy, hot peppers, buns, and detailed instructions on how the sandwiches should be prepared. After some initial doubts, all the family members decided that these are truly amazing sandwiches!

Here's a picture of nephew Tag sporting his very own Portillo's hat. As you can imagine, Tag was a big help getting dinner ready.

Niece Lucy, if she could talk, would be saying the following, "put that dumb camera down and get me out of this chair." Note that her Granddad had the excellent idea of taking some canned whipped cream and putting a huge pile of it right in the middle of her high chair tray. Hey, it's the holidays, and it kept her entertained (once we stopped taking pictures of her) for at least a few minutes. Sticky, but entertained.

The row of pies. This year it was pumpkin, pecan (definitely in the running this year for "best pie"), apple, chocolate cream (the other "best pie" nominee) and coconut.

The remains of a Portillo's sandwich. It looks like dog food, but it tastes great.

Three of Matt's favorite people: his mom, his grandma, and his wife. Notice the pies in the foreground look far less pristine at this point in the meal.

Nephew Tag watching a movie on grandma and granddad's bed! He followed this up with some coloring with Aunt Sharon, so it was a pretty good day for the Tagger.

We were quite proud of ourselves for being so unique and creative in our Thanksgiving dinner choice. Then we had a conversation with our friends the Grahams in which they told us they were not having Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving because they'd be doing some volunteer work that day (earning brownie points with the Big Guy Upstairs.) So the Grahams invited us over on the day after Thanksgiving for their traditional Thanksgiving feast! So, we got two Thanksgivings; one with family and non-traditional food on the day of and one the day after with friends and all the regular good eats. Matt volunteered to cook the turkey (he's been working on perfecting that task) and once again pie featured largely in the equation.

Yes, there were definitely left-overs.

The Graham kids mainly focused on the rolls, and with good reason. They were great!

So that was our Thanksgiving. It was great and we ate far more than we should have. Matt is glad that Thanksgiving has come and gone because now Sharon will let him listen to Christmas music in the car (she has a strict "not before Thanksgiving" policy.)

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!