Ho, ho, hooo oh boy am I wiped out from so many Christmases! The first Christmas started on xmas eve at Bro and Margarita’s casa. My dad also came up and joined up for dinner – Margarita made shrimp gumbo!

First up were salads. And bro’s big mitt.

We had just enough gumbo to go around. It was a great turn out, too. Albany John laughed at us because we didn’t put in things we didn’t like or find. So we left out the okra and bell peppers? So what? This was just delicious. Thick, shrimpy, and great over a heaping bowl of rice.

I can’t wait to make gumbo myself. It wasn’t too hard, just time consuming.

The next morning we had another Christmas by picking up my sister from my Mom’s to hang at my place with my Dad until Christmas with my mom. We unwrapped a few presents with my Dad and sister, and my dad seemed surprised to get so many presents to unwrap. They were only a couple, though. Get used to it, Pops!

After 2nd Christmas, my sister, Albany John and I headed over to my Mom’s for 3rd Christmas. My sister set the table – looks nice!

Shrimp. OMG Shrimp. I parked myself in front of this and ate for a while. Christmas at my Mom’s was kind of weird for me since there was someone there I wasn’t expecting to be there. It just kind of threw me off and made me feel awkward. So I did what I normally do when I feel awkward in social sitations – filled me gullet.

Bro didn’t feel awkward though! Here he is taking a “nap” after food.

We left my mom’s earlier than we thought, so we headed over to Mama and Papa Amherst’s early. Presents unwrapped, etc. Always a good time with them.
Brekkie the next morning was finish pancakes with BACON! Bacon inside! And sesame toast with butter and jam. Yummy. The pancakes were fluffy, light, and still insanely rich (since they’re Finnish freakin pancakes). Oh man, they were amazing.

Dinner was later that afternoon/early evening. Mama Amherst set the table and here you can see her pouring some vino for all of us.

Papa Amherst made capon, which is a castrated rooster that pretty much doubles in size. It was juicy and moist – kind of like a turkey and chicken. Papa Amherst also let us nibble on some skin. The skin was crispy and fucking good, good, good!

For dessert Papa Amherst made panna cotta with apple cider on top. You can tell I couldn’t wait to tear into it – mine’s the one with a cookie jammed into it.

See the pretty layers? Mama Amherst has a good eye – she told me to take this shot. You can really see the orangey layers and white panna cotta.

After that, we went to our friend’s place for a house party. It was an okay house party, but some cliquey or antisocial (I can’t really figure out which) folks so I ended up falling asleep in a bedroom around midnight. Party animal, eh, notsomuch.

The next morning we were also being lazy and slept in until noon. Then we headed to Antonio’s in the center of Amhesrt for some slices.

I got this incredibly bland pesto pizza. I have no idea why it was so bland, it just was. Okay, maybe tomatoes in December aren’t a good idea, but pesto… pesto! I even saw pine nuts. I just can’t figure out why there was zero flavor. I launched a full on condiment assault, which doctored it up enough for me to eat.
While the toppings were oddly bland on my slice, the crust was very good. Crisp and crunchy on the bottom it was reheated very nicely. The bottom crust was thin, with the outer crust being pleasantly chewy and soft.

They have a whole lot of slices to order from, and this one appealed to me the most. I forget how much it was, but three slices cost a little over $9. Yowie. But then again, pesto ain’t cheap.

Albany John ordered a tortellini pizza. An odd combination, but a good one. I might try this one in the future when I make pizza at home.

For dinner, Mama and Papa Amherst took us out to Arigato. They had a new lower place that was open. Lots of shiney lights. Me likey! The menus alone were impressive.

I got a spicy salmon hand roll. Quite nice. No complaints here. This was very tasty and spicy.

I also ordered the miso ramen for $10. This was delicious. A rich pork based broth with miso! It included tamago (the yellow squiggles), pork strips, fish cakes, egg, cabbage, bean sprouts, and ramen noodles. I loved it and slurped up every bit of it.

Albany John ordered the teriyaki Chilean sea bass. It seemed a little on the small side, especially for $16.95, but it was perfectly done. Very moist – falling apart and tender. We also realized after leaving the restaurant that our menus had mentioned something about salad and ‘milk tofu’, but we never got either of them. Didn’t really matter since we were both pleasantly full from our meals, but be aware.

Mama and Papa Amherst ordered Hibachi and we got quite the show! Here you can see some teriyaki sauce being cooked down. Wow, it was very syrupy sweet. Maybe ask them to cook it down less if you also prefer it more on the salty side.

And a cute bunny leftover ‘baggie’ of Mama Amherst’s leftovers sitting next to a cup of tea. The barley tea was great – I’ll have to look at the Asian markets in the area and see if I can find some. It was almost like a meal in itself and perfect for the cold weather – hearty, and very warming.

So that was my many-Christmasified weekend! It was filled with lots of family, some awkward moments, and tons of good food. I’m glad that everyone fit into the whole thing. Also, all that shrimp really rocked it out and brought Christmas to a new level.

  1. lots o' shrimpyness!

    love love love that you ate capon. i've always wanted to try after I read “Like Water for Chocolate”

  2. I love gumbo! for some reason tortellini pizza makes me laugh. But I also think I ned to try it. haha

  3. Grace said:

    gumbo without okra? it just seems wrong! meh, to each her own. 🙂
    and wow–those pancakes look and sound phenomenal! have a wonderful new year!

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