Creating a simple and sentimental Thanksgiving

Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Affordable, versatile wines such as a Zinfandel or dry Rosé mirror the varied flavors of a Thanksgiving meal.

Some years we may feel we are facing the holiday season rather than embracing it. Difficulties of all shapes and sizes can make Thanksgiving a day we look to with some trepidation. One way to navigate these feelings is to create a Thanksgiving of simplicity and sentimentality.

Asking for help, adjusting traditions and reducing the number of side dishes are three ways to simplify the day and meal. If you always host, consider letting someone else play that role. Instead of spending hours in the kitchen, think about ordering the feast pre-made. As for creating a sentimental Thanksgiving, layer the day in shared memories and tributes to what your family has to be grateful for by sprinkling host and guest-given toasts throughout.

Medal-winning California brews enliven your Thanksgiving feast

Derek Wolfgram/Special to the Town Crier
Santa Clara Valley Brewing Co.’s Dry Creek Blonde Ale netted a bronze metal at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival.

Autumn brings two wonderful events that provide a showcase for beer – Denver’s Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in September and Thanksgiving in November.

I always enjoy choosing beers to complement the rich flavors of a Thanksgiving feast, and I decided to make my selections this year from award-winning brews from the 2019 GABF. This year’s GABF competition included nearly 9,500 beers from approximately 2,300 breweries, entered into 107 categories, from which 318 medals were awarded. Of those, 68 medal-winning brews from 55 breweries hailed from California, so plenty of local choices exist for your meal pairings.

Behind the scenes: Hiroshi's 'secret' omakase dining

Photos by Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier
Chef Hiroshi Kimura opened an eponymous restaurant at 328 Main St. in Los Altos devoted to truly intimate dining. He hosts one table of diners each evening, serving a multicourse menu of seasonal Japanese vegetables and seafood and the restaurant’s hallmark dish, A5 Wagyu beef, below. A charcoal-heated ceramic grill allows diners to heat each bite to taste, with ponzu, wasabi and truffle salt as optional accents.

Hiroshi, the Los Altos restaurant as known for its mystery as its A5 Wagyu beef, trades on the tailored experience of private dining.

When the “appointment-only” restaurant at 328 Main St. opened its doors to local food writers last month for a conversation with the chef, it offered glimpses of a dining experience intended for the world of loftier paychecks. The omakase menu starts at $575 per person for groups of four to eight – and diners must book the evening as a group. Omakase refers to a multi-course meal driven by chef’s customized selections. You won’t find a wine list or menu on the website. Chef Hiroshi Kimura’s sake collection headlines the pairings, though Napa Cabernet Sauvignons including Stones and Alpha Omega complement the red meat on the menu.

Breweries bring local tastes to LA Beer Stroll

Derek Wolfgram/Special to the Town Crier
Central Rail Brewing Co. founder Bob Crum serves his brewery’s Hefeweizen at Cranberry Scoop during the Beer Stroll.

The Los Altos Village Association held its third Downtown Los Altos Beer Stroll last month, an event at which Bay Area breweries and cidermakers have the opportunity to share their products in partnership with various downtown merchants.

A total of 16 breweries and cidermakers provided 24 different beers and four ciders, all served inside or in front of 22 downtown Los Altos businesses on Main, State and First streets.

Local AeroPress inventor takes coffee to 'Go'


Los Altos inventor Alan Adler’s AeroPress is a staple of high-end coffeehouses at points around the globe, and he’s releasing a travel version of the coffee-brewing apparatus this month.

Bitters celebrate the aromatic and medicinal in native plants used around the world

Photos Courtesy of Ashley DuVal
Bitters – tinctures and tonics derived from plants – form a base for cocktails, teas and restorative drinks in the new book, right, from Shoots & Roots Bitters, a company made up of ethnobotanists, above right, from left, Ashley DuVal, Rachel Meyer and Selena Ahmed. They will be crafting bitters-based drinks, above, at Hidden Villa Sept. 28.

Bitters taste like a tincture taken from some older time, a combination of flavors carefully weighed through generations of experimentation and foraging. Each region of the world uses its native plants to create intensely aromatic, often medicinal, plant tonics.

Ethnobotanist Ashley DuVal, a Los Altos native, has developed a sideline in studying these recipes with two friends from graduate school, Selena Ahmed and Rachel Meyer. DuVal met her collaborators more than a decade ago, when they were ethnobotany grad students spending time at the New York Botanical Garden.

Schools »

Read More

Sports »

Read More

People »

Read More

Special Sections »

Special Sections
Read More

Photos of Los Altos

Browse and buy photos