Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Thanksgiving Unlike the Rest

This Thanksgiving was quite different than nearly all versions of the holiday that I have celebrated over the years. And I am so thankful for this change.

Firstly, a teensy bit of background info. My man-friend, who I have been with for just over three years (and living with for one year) and I have never been on a vacation. So we thought it would be a good idea to take a lil' mini vacation for T-day. I did a little investigation of some cutesy New England towns and Burlington, Vermont was recommended by more than one friend. So I booked a room for two nights, did pretty much no research on any sort of touristy destinations (although I did know about Church St), and that was that.

Thursday started off with a very slippery, sweaty, and probably unsanitary yoga session at Baptiste (I go there only a few times a year... when my gym is closed...heh...). Then I went home, cleaned up, packed, and we took off. Two episodes of "This American Life," some not-so-interesting local radio shows, Ani DiFranco, and a gorgeous drive later, we arrived at our cheap hotel. This was going to be awesome.

We took a nap, and by the time we woke up it was time to find dinner. We had no idea if anything was even going to be open. So while most families in America were either consuming thousands of calories or napping it off, we were starting to get grumbly tummies. First we went to Church St, walked up and down the four-block stretch, and found nothing. Well, Old Navy was open and I asked them if they knew of any place that was open. The cashier said, "Well, I'm not sure, but if you drive down the road a bit you'll see an Outback Steakhouse. There are other restaurants too..." Yeah right, Outback. So man-friend and I headed back to the car, went driving in the direction of Outback where "other restaurants were too," and weren't finding much. We thought of getting a bottle of wine and maybe stopping at some Chinese place for take-out (there was one open place, but we're not exactly fans of greazzzy Chinese food). Well, finally we stumbled upon Trader Duke's, which is the restaurant that's attached to the Double Tree Hotel in South Burlington. This was mostly likely a better option than oily string beans and wine.

So we go inside, and the place is packed. Probably 50 families chomping down on their Thanksgiving meals surrounded by three large television screens in the bar area playing "King of the Hill," local news, and sports. Trader Duke's had been taking reservations all week and of course we did not have one, but they were able to squeeze us in. It was 6 o'clock and the host said, "if you could finish by 7 that would be great so we can fit in all of our 7 o'clock reservations." Sure, whatever. We'll be out of there for sure. We go from not being able to find squat in town to being rushed through a meal. Go figure.

The vibe of the place was interesting. Yellow-ish lighting, wood panelling, maroon carpet with "wild" patterns, gold light fixtures, and floral "art." Also I don't believe there were any non-caucasian customers. Make what you want of that one. Anyway, the menus were all set for the evening, so being a vegetarian I had one option: vegetarian lasagna. It came with stuffing, sweet potatoes, roasted veggies, rice-or-mashed potatoes-or-baked potato, and a bread roll. And apple-or-pumpkin-or-pecan pie for dessert. I don't think they squeezed enough carbs into this meal. Well, I ordered this meal sans lasagna, asked for extra veggies, chose the rice, and took the dessert to go (which I knew I was not going to eat, but luckily my sweet-toothed-man-friend did). And yes we did, indeed, order a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. Also our waitress was just an added quirk to the whole experience; basically she was a huge spaz and demonstrated a variety of quasi-accents: Southern-esque, British-esque, New York-esque, and possibly more. Quite entertaining.

Anyway, the meal was actually really enjoyable. Not the food so much, unfortunately, but sitting down with my best friend and loved one is really what mattered most. We laughed at the whole deal, about how we "had to get out by 7," our lack of real plans for the weekend, how "King of the Hill" kept drawing our eyeballs to the screen (we don't own a TV), and how it was most unlike any other Thanksgiving we had ever had.

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