Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanks for Giving... but Did You Have to Give Us So MUCH?

This may sound a bit heretical, but Nicky and I typically go out of our way to AVOID big-league cooking for Thanksgiving.  When friends and relatives are with us, we order meals from such local grocery stores as Giant and Wegmans.  When we're by ourselves and we don't feel like braving the traffic to drive up to my Mom's in Delaware, we... wait for it... go to restaurants for Thanksgiving dinner.  What?  How about maintaining authenticity, for God's sake?

This year, we managed to achieve the daily double of going to a restaurant for the holiday and still enjoying that most time-honored of Thanksgiving traditions... that of eating to excess.  Nicky searched for a good, hitherto-untried local place online and found Bud's at Silver Run, a converted farmhouse located about 30 minutes away on the road to Gettysburg, PA.  Bud's serves a prix fixe Thanksgiving Day menu ($37.95 per person) and advertises all the trimmings.  Not until we got to the place did we realize how extensive said trimmings were.
Possibly due to the floor plan of the original house, the physical layout of Bud's is a little awkward.  The main door opens onto the short end of a long, rectangular front room with several tables more or less jammed into it.  There's also a larger dining area with more room to spread out... and restrooms literally located in the middle of the room and jutting out into it.  Like I said, awkward.  We had to wait in the small bar until a larger party had cleared out and the tables had been cleaned and rearranged.  Thankfully, we were placed at the other short end of the front room, so the occasional drafts of cold air from patrons entering the establishment weren't quite as bone-chilling as they otherwise might have been.

Thanks to our wait at the bar, we had plenty of time to peruse the disturbingly lengthy Thanksgiving menu.  What was particularly disturbing about it was the fact that we were apparently slated to get most of what was on it!  No picking "one from column A and one from column B" here.  We did decide to pass on the pumpkin and crab soup opener, but, when the "relish tray" was brought out, it was found to contain several different kinds of olives, red peppers stuffed with feta cheese, a healthy supply of crackers and cheese, sliced meats (kielbasa, pheasant (!) and wild boar (!!)), and a dish full of that peculiar mixture of cauliflower, peppers, and crinkly-cut carrots that you see displayed in glass jars at delis.  Had we eaten all of this, it would almost have made a meal in itself.  Then came the basket of bread and rolls and the house salads.  The phrase "biting off more than we could chew" began to occur to me at this point. 
Main dining area of Bud's: the restrooms are blessedly invisible in this shot!

The main meal offered a choice of turkey, ham, and prime rib... and, yep, you could get all three if you wanted to.  I opted out of the beef and stuck with the turkey and ham, which arrived at the table atop a goodly pile of mashed potatoes and stuffing.  Then five (!) side dish bowls were brought out: green bean casserole (one of the better examples of its kind), sweet potatoes, seasoned carrots, brussels sprouts, and sauerkraut and kielbasa (huh?).  We ended up bringing home three Styrofoam containers of various and sundry leftovers, plus some extra turkey and ham that was generously provided by our host.  Dessert consisted of a choice of apple cobbler, pumpkin pie, two kinds of cheesecake, and chocolate cake.  I'd say we got our money's worth and then some.

The food at Bud's is excellent and we definitely plan on going there again, albeit for something a bit less ambitious.  (The restaurant offers regular dinner dishes and lunch/pub food in addition to occasional "special nights" that include "seafood spectaculars" and wild game feasts.)  The prices are comparable to those of Woodberry Kitchen, but the rural ambiance is decidedly different from that of Woodberry, so it will be a nice change of pace when we want to enjoy some fine dining. If we go to Bud's for Thanksgiving in the future, however, we will probably want to bring several additional diners with us, for purposes of digestive self-preservation. 

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