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Best mail order Thanksgiving turkey?

Hi, has anyone here had a really great experience with a mail-ordered turkey (or ham?). I once ordered a turducken (a boneless chicken in a duck in a turkey) because the idea seemed so incredibly sumptuous. It was from Cajun Grocers, and it was okay, but indistinguishable from a regular boneless turkey with stuffing.

Has anyone ordered a turkey and said, "Oh my God! This is the absolute best thing I've ever tasted in my entire life!!!"? That is the bite I'm searching for.

I really want to be informed before I place an order because they all look fabulous in the catalog, but I really want it to be worthwhile on the holiday table.


Oct 26, 2007
cpmom in General Topics

Alinea -- know b4 u go or caveat emptor

My husband and I ate at Trio just before Chef Achatz left and it was the best meal of our lives. BUT it was not a normal "let's have a fancy dinner" experience. I guess if you want to have a fancy dinner, there are tons of places in Chicago to choose from. If you want to have an experience in haute molecular gastronomy, then he is one of the few people in the entire world that you can go to. Not every dish is darn tasty, but to us, it was so worthwhile to be able to taste things that we would never be able to taste in any other setting. So the patron of Alinea should be going there with a very different mindset than someone going to Avenues. You know that Avenues is going to give you very tasty food in a very swanky setting, because an Avenues patron is going to be pissed with anything less. You simply don't know what to expect from Alinea. The food might be tasty, or it may not, but it will definitely be something you have never eaten before, served in a way it has never been served before.

We dined at the chef's table at Charlie Trotter's this summer. I thought the experience there was right in between Avenues and Achatz. He had a bunch of things with foam. But the "5 star butter" they had on the table was like miles away from regular butter, I'm still craving it. Most of the dishes were super tasty, but some didn't work at all (peppercorn chocolate-- yech!). When you go to those places, you should go with the expectation that you want to experience these specific chefs and are willing to put yourself in their hands. Otherwise you can go to a fantastic restaurant, read the ala carte descriptions, and make an educated guess at what you would like. If you're going for a chef's menu, the educated guess on your part is if it sounds like a chef that your palate would be in synch with.

Oct 16, 2007
cpmom in Chicago Area

Northwest Indiana

There is a fantastic new restaurant called Asparagus, just north of US30 and Broadway. It's a Vietnamese/Thai/French fusion restaurant and it is amazing! Not just for NW Indiana, but for anywhere.
Our go-to places for a good meal are Lucrezia's in Crown Point, the veal limone and lamb shank are universally adored. And Gamba's in Merrillville, we've done a world tasting of tiramisu and the one done there is better than the ones we've tasted in Italy!
I think Portillo's italian beef sandwiches are much better than Zel's, and since they have fantastic hot dogs and surprisingly upscale desserts too, that's our place for movie night ins. I'm torn between Jimmy Johns and Pot Belly's for subs, the latter might edge out the former in taste, but the former is willing to deliver, which is always a plus.
Other restaurants to recommend are Alladin Pita on US30 for Mediterranean. For a sports bar/upscale restaurant, The Circle on the square in Crown Point, has a unique niche and every item on the menu has been a winner (especially the calamari). Beggar's Pizza in Crown Point is the best for their buttery crust deep dish.
Islamorada Restaurant at the Bass Pro Outdoor World serves fresh seafood and has plenty to look at while your waiting to distract the kids.
I think Bistro 157 in Valpo has closed, which is always a risk in Northwest Indiana. Get to the good restaurants while you can!

Oct 09, 2007
cpmom in Chicago Area