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Thanksgiving In Verona


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Every year as I plan my Thanksgiving menu, I always start in the same place. My stack of cooking magazines. Fifteen years worth, at a minimum. I enjoy it, and since Thanksgiving is for family I also find it comforting. For years, I watched my mother do the same thing and Thanksgiving dinner was one of my favorite meals. It still is, but planning it can be daunting if this is your first time. This year, MyVeronaNJ is going to help you with your Thanksgiving planning from beginning to end. No, we won’t show up to do all the dishes afterward, but whether you’re cooking, ordering, hosting, traveling, or some combination of all of these, we can help. In our house, there will be a combination of cooking and catering as it relieves a little bit of oven space, and offers some foods that I do not make well on my own.

The Fruited Plain, a Denville-based catering business owned by Verona residents Rosemary and Drew Gabbe, offers both an in-home and corporate Thanksgiving menu. To print and fax or mail an order, click here. They are also offering  free delivery to Verona residents the day before Thanksgiving as well as on Thanksgiving day until 12 Noon. When I asked Rosemary Gabbe what her favorite Thanksgiving item off the menu was, she had a difficult time offering just one. She wrote to me: “The spinach and Gruyere gratin is a big hit every time I make it in our house, how can you go wrong with fresh cream and  Gruyere cheese. The kids wouldn’t be the only ones upset if we didn’t have this on our Thanksgiving table. Mom’s Kalua Candied Sweet Potatoes are what I remember most about my mother’s Thanksgiving table. It has a wonderful combination of flavors that I look forward to every year. Food for me always conjures up memories and the sweet potatoes is one of them.” Orders must be placed by November 17.

Tia’s Food of Love, located in the center of Verona, is offering a Thanksgiving menu on its Web site. When I asked owner Tia D’Addario what her favorite item off the menu is, she said this, “I would have to say my favorite is the Sinful Stringbean Casserole…it’s a classic remodeled…from scratch mushroom soup, our own French fried shallots which are sweeter than onions, and my favorite truffle essence to bring it all together…Its something we all know & love, just elevated to 100 times more delicious-ness!!” The deadline for ordering is November 19.

Mardi Gras Fine Foods, on the east side of town, is offering a full catering menu for Thanksgiving. Turkey orders need to be in by November 16 and the rest of the order needs to be in by November 18. When I asked owner Maria Carrozza what her favorite Thanksgiving food items are, she said, “My favs on the menu are the the sausage chestnut stuffing, carrot souffle and Butternut squash soup, savory pepper jelly torta!”

Hobcaw Cafe on Grove Avenue is not open on Thanksgiving Day, but is offering a catering menu for the day on its Web site. When I asked owner Nancy McArthur what her favorite dishes are, she said, “I think my favorite dish is pumpkin pie because it reminds me of Thanksgivings with my family as a child.  Ditto for the cornbread stuffing with giblet gravy.” Orders for turkeys need to be placed by November 16 and all sides and desserts by November 18. Hobcaw will be open for pick up on Wednesday, November 23.

Cranberry Apple Lattice Pie from Hobcaw Cafe

Frank Anthony’s, at the corner of South Prospect, will not be open on Thanksgiving day, but on all of the days surrounding the holiday.  In addition their regular catering menu items, for Thanksgiving  they are offering all homemade side dishes: mashed potatoes, stuffing, sausage stuffing, roasted candied sweet potatoes, and string beans.  Fresh turkey cooked and sliced (breast meat only – moist & juicy) with homemade turkey gravy is also available. When I asked owner Anthony Tortoriello what his favorite Thanksgiving menu item was, he said, ” The sliced turkey breast is amazing – granted there is no dark meat or meat on the bone but it cooks so moist and juicy its by far my favorite. “  Whole  Pumpkin cheesecakes will also be offered for dessert but must be ordered in advance.

Edlyn Sweets, located in Caldwell and owned by a  mother-daughter team from Verona, is offering the following items for Thanksgiving dessert.  Tea breads, decorated assorted cookie trays, and pies including pumpkin, apple, pecan, mixed berry and pecan. As one would expect from a mother/daughter team, they each have their own favorites: Laura’s is Pecan Bar Pie, and Pam’s is Pear Raspberry Crumb Pie. They are also offering a pumpkin ricotta cheesecake and a 10% discount for any orders placed  by November 19.

The Towne Scoop, just across from Verona Park, will be offering their Turkey ice cream cakes as well as Chicksters for Thanksgiving dessert.

As a final tool to help make your Thanksgiving meal a delicious easy success, Cuisine Inspirations is offering in-home knife sharpening services. Yes that’s right, just like when we were kids and the bell ringing coming from down the street meant either the ice cream truck or the knife sharpener was on his way, Cuisine Inspirations will come right to your house.  If it’s been a while since you’ve used your good carving knife, and you’re not sure how well it will slice through your delicious turkey, it may be time to give your knives a little tune-up. I know I have one that could use it!

As this week continues, we will be providing recipes and turkey basics to help you plan and prepare your Thanksgiving menu.

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  1. For those of you who are looking for a full Thanksgiving experience with amazing food, you definitely have to try Mardi Gras. The options on the catering menu, make you want to say “one of everything please”.

    You can have traditional items along with Mardi Gras signature dishes. Well worth it!! And just think of the time and energy you can put into your family and guest when you are not worried and stressed in the kitchen!!

    Happy Holidays!

  2. I have been a fan of the delicacies from Mardi Gras for more than 20 years. Having always been delighting in their delicious prepared foods, I know that having that “Mardi Gras” touch on my table always makes for an epicurean holiday treat. Although I do love to cook and am quite good at it, I’m not ashamed to admit that the additions of Mardi Gras Carrot Soufflé, their homemade cranberries relish and the velvety homemade gravy make a good Thanksgiving dinner totally fabulous. I’ll also fess-up and admit that my obsession for their gourmet food is not limited to their holiday dinners – I indulge in their feats year round.

  3. The pumpkin cheesecake from Mardi Gras is the ultimate desert. It embodies the seasonal flavors and just enough sweetness to fulfill the dessert cravings. Unlike other cheese cakes, the pumpkin is tasted throughout. The crust is unnelieveqble and different from traditional cheese cake crusts. I recently ordered one for my husband’s birthday dinner and all of the guests were asking for more! I have requests from family members out of state to bring one to Thanksgiving dinner.

  4. As a chef sharp knives are a must! I highly recommend Cuisine Inspirations to sharpen yours. They come right to your home are prompt and professional. Call them before the holidays and make your chopping and carving easier!

  5. I echo the previous comments about Mardi Gras – I have been a customer since day one and have had holiday parties catered by Mardi Gras throughout the year including summer BBQ’s! They always have an amazing variety of delicious home made soups. But, we would all be remiss without talking about their amazing desserts! Their cookies are from another era and their cakes and pies are amazing! Just 2 words… pumpkin cheesecake – need I say more? Once you bring them to a party – you’re guarateed an invite from then on!!!! I can’t wait to get my Thanks Giving order!!!

  6. I have hosted cooking classes in my home and invited Cuisine Inspirations to come and sharpen my friends knives while they enjoy the cooking class. Its a fun way for everyone to get their errand done at the same time and several of my friends and myself have been repeat customers. I suggest everyone plan a knife sharpening party.

  7. I have always been a very big fan of Chef Scott Savokinas of Cuisine Inspirations. His culinary expertise coupled with his wonderful knife skills not only makes him a fabulous teacher but a welcome addition to any household or restaurant kitchen. I have worked side by side with Scott and I have marveled over his diverse talents. I highly recommend Chef Scott for your next in-home culinary class.


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