Around The Office: Favorite Holiday Dishes

Though plenty of people will celebrate this holiday season with stuffing, pies and cookies for Santa, the beauty of bringing family together is that it usually results in some unique traditions (and dishes) too.

This thought inspired us to seek out some new meal inspiration this year, but instead of seeking outside advice, we turned to one another instead — specifically, to our ChowNow teammates. ChowNow powers online ordering for restaurants, and it’s no secret that we all work in the same office because we all love food.

Turns out, holiday meal traditions can be as unique as the individual who starts them. Here’s what 5 of our team members had to say about their typical indulgences and seasonal traditions this time of year:

Jessica Springer, Director of Restaurant Performance

Jessica Springer, Director of Restaurant Performance at ChowNow

What is your favorite holiday dish and how is it usually prepared?

My favorite dish is the “Thanksgiving Sandwich”. This is where I take a bread roll and put every single food item on my plate into the sandwich.  For some reason, the flavors of every entree and side dish on Thanksgiving combine together perfectly for a sandwich made in heaven. The secret sauce? Make sure to spread cranberry sauce on your bread to complete this yummy dish.

Paint a picture of a typical meal-time gathering you host or attend during this time of year.

I come from a pretty small family, but we have quite a collection of friends who we consider our extended family, so the holidays usually consist of about 101 fun activities and dinners with all of our amazing friends. My sister and I also recently got engaged (which is super fun for my parents wallet!) so our small family has recently gained two more awesome families that now join in on all of the holiday fun.

What’s one of your favorite traditions during the holiday season?

My girlfriends and I have come up with a yearly holiday tradition where we eat a delicious spread of potluck-style food, and share our favorite wines in a secret wine-tasting game. The host provides brown bags, sharpies, and tape for each guest to hide their wine bottle within and then numbers the bags.  As we share our meal, we rate each mystery wine on a scoresheet and the winner gets a prize. This experience has taught me that my friends and I know absolutely nothing about wine, other than that we really like “Two Buck Chuck” (last year’s winner).

Are there any restaurants you’d recommend that serve a version of your favorite holiday dish?

I would have to recommend an awesome restaurant near my home town, Frank’s Famous Kitchen & Bakery in Glendale, CA. We buy their roasted vegetable platter for literally every big meal or event that our family hosts and it is the best and so beautiful, colorful, and delicious. They also have a special Thanksgiving catering menu where they make you every element of a Thanksgiving dinner that you can pickup on Thanksgiving day! Check out their “Plymouth Rock” and “Mayflower Feast” specials.

Dan Roahrig, Customer Support Manager

Dan Roahrig, Customer Support Manager at ChowNowWhat is your favorite holiday dish and how is it usually prepared?

Homemade biscuits and (white) gravy. My mother would always make it Christmas morning and we couldn’t open presents before we ate. All of it was homemade, the gravy, biscuits, etc. But it was the biscuits that I vividly remember. Watching her roll out the dough on the counter, sprinkling flower until they were just right, and then using one of our drinking cups to cut perfect circles. Much to my mother’s annoyance, I would always come in there and take the extra dough and eat it before she could pile it up and make a few extra biscuits. My father would actually make the homemade gravy and it had just the right blend of savory and sweet. Add in a little homemade canned apple butter for those biscuits, now you’re talking my language.

Paint a picture of a typical meal-time gathering you host or attend during this time of year.

My wife and I moved away from our families 6 years ago, which didn’t really bother us until we went through a few holidays and didn’t have those traditional meals/gatherings we’ve grown up with. Now with a 3-year-old, we’re limited with what we can do, but we always have a Christmas day meal, typically breakfast.

I’ll make pour-over coffee while my wife makes either coffee cake or cinnamon rolls. After that, we usually get a ham and bake that in the oven (Dr. Pepper glaze. By the way, I hate Dr. Pepper but it’s amazing for a glaze), and my wife will make homemade mashed potatoes (multiple sticks of butter of course) and green bean casserole. I eat that while sipping on some nice scotch throughout the day. And we’ll eat that for every meal for the rest of the week, haha.

What’s one of your favorite traditions during the holiday season?

Is there any other answer other than watching A Christmas Story? Besides watching that at least 5 times, my favorite tradition now is Skyping my family and talking with my niece and nephew to see what they got from Santa.

Are there any restaurants you’d recommend that serve a version of your favorite holiday dish?

No, but I don’t typically go out to eat at restaurants for breakfast. If anyone has suggestions to where I could get some good homemade biscuits and gravy, hit me up!

[Editor’s note: we hear the biscuits at Honey’s Kettle Fried Chicken in Culver City are worth a trip. We’ll place an online order for Dan so he can vet them first though.]

Sydney Huss, Team Manager

Sydney Huss, Team Manager at ChowNowWhat is your favorite holiday dish and how is it usually prepared?

Potatoes, potatoes, potatoes. My personal favorites include mashed, scalloped, and twice baked, but it’s not like I’m going to turn down a gratin. On Thanksgiving, Christmas, and pretty much any time I go home to spend some time with my family, it’s pretty much expected that I will need to be eating at least ONE of these potato dishes. The higher percentage of potato to other food on my plate, the better!

Paint a picture of a typical meal-time gathering you host or attend during this time of year.

It’s all about the food, and in my opinion, appetizers steal the show. One of my favorite meal time gatherings is my family’s annual ‘Leftovers’ party. My mom will round up a large group of our closest family friends the day after Christmas. Everyone brings over their holiday leftovers, and we pretty much spend the entire night eating, drinking, and playing games. Phase 10, Mexican Train, and Yahtzee paired with some artichoke dip, Christmas cookies, and cocktails make for a great tradition.

What’s one of your favorite traditions during the holiday season?

One of my family’s more intriguing holiday traditions is ordering our annual claymation ornament for our Christmas tree. Every year my mom custom orders these creations for me and my siblings, and each of them are themed to represent something significant we had accomplished that year. Ranging from a soccer player, tween shopper, world traveler and beyond, you name it I have it hanging on my Christmas tree. Shout out to ChowNow for being represented on my 2017 tree!

Are there any restaurants you’d recommend that serve a version of your favorite holiday dish?

Honestly I have not found a restaurant that serves potatoes NEARLY as great as my mom or dad, so I’m going to revert to my second favorite holiday dish – bread. Without doubt one of my all time favorite spots to devour some delicious bread is Milo & Olive in Santa Monica. Their garlic knot is hands down one of the top three best breads I’ve ever eaten, and that seriously is saying something considering the amount of bread dishes I’ve tried in my lifetime. This knot is definitely made to share, but I would recommend ordering your own serving. It’s that good.

Will Gottschalk, Full Stack Software Engineer

Will Gottschalk, Full Stack Software Engineer at ChowNowWhat is your favorite holiday dish and how is it usually prepared?

My favorite holiday dish far and away is Nut Roll. My Grandma used to make it for us when we were kids, and she would make it completely from scratch. She would grind the walnuts into the paste and roll the dough out by hand. It was an all day process but totally worth it!

Paint a picture of a typical meal-time gathering you host or attend during this time of year.

Me and my two brothers played Football through college, so picture a normal Thanksgiving and double the amount of food. While we were in college, we actually celebrated Thanksgiving in July because it was difficult getting the entire family together during the season.

We don’t usually have any exotic food. Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Although, some years we’ll deep fry the Turkey which is always a spectacle.

What’s one of your favorite traditions during the holiday season?

Watching all of the Football games on TV is always great. A more serious tradition that we have is after the dinner, everyone in the family will go around the table and talk about what we’re grateful for. I think it’s one thing to think about all of those things but it’s another to actually say it out loud. It’s pretty cool.

Are there any restaurants you’d recommend that serve a version of your favorite holiday dish?

I think most restaurants will have a hard time rivaling Granny’s Nut Roll so I’ll fallback to another favorite: Challah. I love the the Challah at Belwood Bakery. I also can’t say no to their Apple Danishes.

Kent Ngo, Senior Account Executive

Kent Ngo, Senior Account Executive at ChowNowWhat is your favorite holiday dish and how is it usually prepared and served?

My favorite holiday dish growing up was Roast duck for Thanksgiving! Before Mama Ngo knew how to cook a turkey, she would cook a mean duck. I have absolutely zero cooking skills so I wasn’t allowed to be in the kitchen. However, I know how to eat. Here are the “Kent Ngo 5 steps to eat roasted duck”:

Step 1. Grab the bao.

Step 2. Spread some brown/dark sauce all over it. No idea what that sauce is but its fire.

Step 3. Grab the biggest duck piece you can find, feel free to elbow your brother to get that piece.

Step 4. put duck in bao.

Step 5. Eat the duck. Done.

Paint a picture of a typical meal-time gathering you host or attend during this time of year.

Every year I throw a Thanksgiving for me and my childhood friends. To paint a picture of what it’s like imagine Coachella but Thanksgiving style. This year I’m renting an Airbnb in downtown! The line up I have setup is pretty sick. Headlining the show is the big man himself, turkey featuring gravy and cranberry sauce. I’m also expecting ribs and pecan pie to show up too. It’s lit.

Are there any restaurants you’d recommend that serve a version of your favorite holiday dish?

King Taco on 3rd street next to the 60 Freeway.

 

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