Il Giorno di Tacchino / by Julian Focareta

Safe to say that Thanksgiving morning was an unusual, yet good one this year. My good English friend and great Chef, John Gyles, joined me for the wonderful holiday of Turkey and tons, and tons, and tons of wine..

However, we kicked this year off with a great start by stopping by our good friend and mixologist Dimitri Zahariadis' new crafty cocktail bar (Highland Brass Co) for some kegs and eggs. (Part owner along with Roger Gross and Corey Bondo). However those kegs really turned into Bloody Mary's with freshly grated horse radish and topped with vietnamese shrimp. They also were making fresh bacon, egg, and cheese's served on a glazed doughnut. (I know, heart-attack on a bun, but my god, they were tasty and they could kick a hangover better than any trick you know).

While we were driving to my aunts house we had to make a pit stop by our friend Augustine Sanchez to say hi and interrupt his preparation for Mexican thanksgiving. Augustine, John, and I go way back to the first days in the restaurant for actually all of us. Augustine is an immigrant from Mexico and every year he does a Mexican thanksgiving for his buddies in the surround area. This year's menu: Tamales. 

Both were made with Masa harina which is the traditional base to most Tamales. The "rojo" had a little bit of milled Marinara type of Sauce and grated cheese. The "verde" had a tomatillo based sauce with a little chili pepper mixed in for some kick and fresh chicken thighs. 

I can't tell you how lucky I am to have been able to try such a perfectly executed traditional Mexican dish in Waterbury, CT in a small apartment above our restaurant. Paired with an extremely chilly Corona, it was by far the highlight to my Thanksgiving weekend. I also can't tell you how lucky I am to know some of the most talented and amazing people in the culinary industry in such a small hub. Waterbury, CT is not known for it's exquisite cuisine, but I can promise you it has so much character and hidden talent that needs to be revealed.

(I also do apologize for the iPhone photos below.. I needed a day off from any sort of professional shooting)