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A Traditional New England "California" Thanksgiving - Menu Idears... ;)

This year is going to be my BEST thanksgiving EVER!!!! SO has to work on the Thursday and Friday...


So we aren't going to do the family thing and stay home. Which means NO TURKEY!! *DANCES!!*

Instead I've sold him on the idea of doing California Lobsters on the BBQ grill because it would honor his roots (I think the pilgrims ate lobsters for thanksgiving!) and mine (BBQ!!!) This is the recipe we're going to use:


The thing, what other twists on 'traditions' will I go with with the Lobster? The only thing I can think of is a Wild Rice and Cranberry Pilaf, but anyone else got any good ideas? All Side, Veggie and Dessert recs welcome! :)


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  1. I've been giving it some thought and I tend to be a purist on lobster and don't want much to interfere with the lobster flavor. Some really good potato chips and maybe a slaw of some sort. Blueberries, I know it is Nov. but you may be able to find some good frozen berries. That recipe at Epicurious for the Buttermilk Blueberry Tart with lemon is hard to beat.

    Another thought is to make a bearnaise sauce to go with the lobster, maybe shelled and sandwiched between puff pastry squares, sort of a lobster pie. Bearnaise made with fresh tarragon is a wonderful flavor pairing with lobster then a simple green salad and maybe a fruity dessert and not too creamy because of the bearnaise.

    1. You could do Mac and Cheese with VERMONT Cheddar... BOSTON Style Baked Beans... Tossed salad with MAPLE vinegarette.

      1. Lobster eggs benedict....

        * * *

        Anyway, lobster is the centerpiece of the New England clambake. Properly done at the beach, taking all day, eating at sunset. Preferably without greenhead flies (late July, early August, the great stretch of marshes between Gloucester, MA and Cape Elizabeth, ME...)

        Instead of chowder, try kale soup with linguica. Lobster, other shellfish, corn, potatoes, drawn butter, et cet. Pies for dessert: apple, pumpkin/squash (I prefer sweet potato, but that's more southern), mincemeat, et cet.

        The virtue of apple pie is that you eat with the cheddar for breakfast the next morning. That's New England.

        1. This is going to be like spam since I've recommended it a few times the past couple of days but Durgin Park has some good recipes: corn bread (or you can make blueberry cake with the recipe, too), indian pudding, baked Boston beans. Here's their site:


          When it comes to lobster, I think it summer so it might be hard to get some of the other things I associate with it, like corn on the cob, blueberries/strawberries (shortcake).

          4 Replies
          1. re: chowser

            The love of Durgin Park food MUST be a New England thing. People ket on pestering me to eat there when I was up for business. I finally gave in. The food reminded me of the stuff they serve my grannie in the old folks home. The bright side, or maybe odd thing about the place, is that people were telling me that the serving staff was gruff and rude. I found them to be ever so attentive, perfectly friendly and the highlight of the visit.

            What is the draw????

            1. re: Wanda Fuca

              Did you have the prime rib? The Indian pudding?

              1. re: Wanda Fuca

                I used to go years ago when I worked in downtown Boston. For $3.95 (at the time), you got corn bread, pot roast, veggies or same sides only w/ chicken pot pie. What a deal! I don't think the food was particularly chow-worthy, at least not the cheap lunch I got, but I did love the corn bread! When the serving staff was rude, it was on purpose, in a joking manner. One waitress berated my friend on how he was cutting his pot roast, scooted him over and showed him how it was supposed to be cut. That type aside, the service was fine.

                1. re: chowser

                  I have been to Durgan Park many a time and in fact I had one of the last meals with my Dad there, along with Jake Worth's His favorites in Boston.

                  I have made their Indian Pudding with great success and am contemplating making it for Dommy!'s Family when we make Prime rib that weekend. As for Baked beans, My one attempt using Alton Browns's recipe was over cooked Once again I might save it for the Prime Rib, along with Steamed brown bread or Popovers.

            2. I hope this is not posting twice, as I just had a computer glitch. Dommy, I always look forward to your posts! We love and adore the classic Baja lobster dinner...grilled California lobsters with beans/rice/tortillas and fabulous salsas. I know you are thinking of sides with a twist...but what beats the classic? It's always our New Year's Eve meal! Perhaps oysters/clams/mussels to start? Hey, the Pilgrims foraged for these. Black beans instead of pintos? Seek out the most fab fresh hand made tortillas. The greatest, most interesting salsas! I think this is a fabulous idea! I may (sure) be in the minority, but it's not the meal, it is the company, and the spirit! While the traditional 'Thanksgiving' meal is long established, truth is..it isn't based on any accuracy. Your wild rice with cranberries seems like a nice addition. Something with corn, not on a cob? SPilgrims foraged for wild berries. Perhaps a berry type dessert. What unusual berries are at the farmer's markets these days? Yummmmmmmmmmm!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jesdamala

                ..."Something with corn, not on a cob?"...

                Dommy - Since you've relocated closer, or in, W.L.A. I suggest you get all your T-Day corn cravings satified by getting them to-go from L.A.'s #1(?) Corn Preparing Expert:


              2. Here's a few more idears ... are you SURE the S/O is from New England? I thought that was more of a rural NY way of speaking.

                Anyway, was looking at this magazine Raley's puts out and your quest jumped to mind.

                Instead of cole slaw how about Cranberry, Apple and Jicama Slaw?

                Of course, elote with chili powder instead of plain corn on the cob.

                For dessert: Sweet Tamales with Yams and Pecans

                And some pumpkin beer to wash it down. Cranberry margaritas or pumpkin pie martinis?

                Pumpkin pancakes with Vermont maple syrup for breakfast?

                1 Reply
                1. re: rworange

                  Dommy! is putting an accent in my mouth which I don't have. She is using the accent of a former Governor of VT. I grew up 20 miles northeast of Providence RI in Massachusetts. But I don't have the accent my family has since I spent my adolescence in boarding school in a Shaker Village in Upstate NY. Since we we're fairly isolated and from all over we lost our accents.

                  Back to the Food:
                  I like you idea for the Slaw. I picked up a recipe for Beet Green Apple slaw and was thinking of trying that. How tart is your slaw?

                  as for the Elote I would agree but we have burned out since our Tamale Lady brings them to our neighborhood nightly.

                  I might want to try Tamales since I never have made them before but I was hoping to get a lesson first from Dommy!'s Mexican relatives.

                  Take Care

                  - P.

                2. Here’s a different twist on a rice side dish that might go with your lobster (if not, worth saving for another time/season). It’s a good make-ahead, served cold or room temp, and I’ve found it to be a good general crowd pleaser. The recipe was given to me years ago by a co-worker and I’ve tweaked since then. (It also worked well topped with sliced grilled pork tenderloin as an entrée for a summer buffet.)

                  Cold Rice-Spinach Salad (Serves 8)

                  1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and dried (or comparable amount of fresh spinach)
                  3 c. cooked wild rice
                  1 1/2 c. cooked white or brown rice
                  1/2 c. toasted slivered almonds
                  4 green onions, sliced
                  6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

                  Toss with dressing (below) and refrigerate at least 3 hrs or overnight. (You may not need the entire batch of dressing depending on how wet or dry the rice/spinach combination ends up.)


                  1/2 c. vegetable oil
                  2 T. vinegar
                  2 T. soy sauce
                  1 t. sugar
                  1/2 t. salt
                  1/4 t. pepper
                  1-2 cloves garlic, minced
                  Optional: A few drops sesame oil and chopped fresh ginger

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: intuitive eggplant

                    This sounds interesting, If we don't do an oyster dressing with the Lobsters we might try this for starch.