YDTR Chefs’ Favorite
Thanksgiving Dishes

It’s Thanksgiving week, and the beginning of Princeton’s most festive time of year. We are especially thankful for our dedicated chefs and the guests they look forward to serving every Thanksgiving at the Inn. Before all the hustle and bustle, they share their favorite Thanksgiving traditions, dishes and tips with you! Enjoy!

Yankee Doodle Tap Room Chefs

Left to right: Manuel, Jermaine, Edward

chef
“I have three kids at home, four sisters, two brothers – it’s a big family, and I’m extremely thankful for them. We’re a close bunch and see each other almost every day. Thanksgiving is nice, because I get to come home to my family, eat delicious home-cooked meals, and go bowling. A few of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes include roast turkey, beef, stuffed chicken, and sweet potato,” said Manuel Torres, our Sous Chef of 27 years.

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“I love being home with family, conversing, and having a good time with one another,” said Jermaine Turner, our Chef of 7 years. “I also make an awesome baked macaroni… I add evaporated milk, egg, salt, pepper, sharp cheese, mild cheese to roux, and let it slow cook at 325 degrees for 45 minutes, covered. Then I cook it for another ten minutes uncovered. It tastes like h-e-a-v-e-n.”

eddie-portrait“I’m thankful for the good health of my family,” said Edward Popp, our Banquet Cook of 8 years. “My mom also doesn’t let me cook on Thanksgiving, so it’s nice to come home to the traditional holiday dishes. You know – turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. I love her cooking!”

chef-michael“On Thanksgiving, I like to watch football, spend time with family, and enjoy a late night turkey sandwich with stuffing, lettuce, and mayonnaise on a crusty Italian bread!” said Michael LaCorte, our Executive Chef of 4 years.

steve“My favorite thing is waking up and watching football. I’m a big fan of the Detroit Lions,” said Steven Fitch, our Sous Chef of 4 years. “I cook for family, and we have the traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, and my favorite – biscuits. I love gravy piled on top of everything!” Steve also makes home-made mashed potatoes, and the recipe is very simple and delicious. “I add butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper.” For his turkey, he adds a lot of butter, and a dash of rosemary and thyme, before roasting it in the oven.

YDTR Chefs

We hope you enjoyed meeting our chefs, who will be serving Yankee Doodle Tap Room’s traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday! The #YDTR wishes you a great Thanksgiving filled with food, love, family and friends!


About the AuthorLily Lee is the Marketing Assistant at the historical Nassau Inn. She graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Communications, minor in Digital Information & Media, and a passion for English and creative writing.

 

YDTR Staff Picks: Favorite Thanksgiving Traditions

Can you believe Thanksgiving is only a week away? During this special time of the year, we are extremely thankful for our staff—many of whom will be serving on Thanksgiving!

YDTR Staff

From left to right: Josh, Matthew, Fabio, and Colleen

Meet our Yankee Doodle Tap Room crew, who are excited to share their Thanksgiving traditions with you!

Giving to others.
“Oh jeez, I can’t remember the last time I celebrated since I’m usually working!” said Colleen Kasian, Food & Beverage Supervisor at our Tap Room of 1 year and 2 months. During Thanksgiving, she makes the holiday experience special for guests at our YDTR Thanksgiving Buffet. From her past memories of the holiday, she recalls dinner with her mom’s side of the family. They would drive to her grandmother’s house. “It’s a big family. My mom’s the youngest of her siblings. We’d have the traditional Thanksgiving turkey, and my favorite—the stuffing!”

Feasting.
Matthew Hendricks, our server, really likes to feast on Thanksgiving. “And I mean FEAST,” he said. It is tradition for his family to do arts & crafts, drink wine, and enjoy turkey, mashed potatoes and their family’s favorite stuffing. “It has a delightful crunchy top, but is soft on the inside, and with some gravy… oh man!” They would always have an amazing dessert table filled with delicious sweets. “Apple pie, pecan pie, cookies, vanilla ice cream… My grandma is a bit of a chocoholic.” He likes to hang out with the younger kids at their table and also hear the older people reminisce about old days and current events. Matthew’s favorite part about the holiday is falling asleep on the couch after being stuffed with food and wine while football plays on TV.

Time with Family.
“My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is being with family,” said Josh Jean-Charles our bus boy. He loves the simple and sweet enjoyment of spending time together, eating, and then cozily falling asleep.

Post-eating Siesta.
“Eat ‘til I sleep!” said Fabio Salvador, our server & bartender of 9 months.

Watching Football and the Parade.
“My favorite tradition is watching football and the parade at my parent’s house,” said Rayne Lewis, our Food & Beverage Manager who’s been with us for 12 years.

Rayne Lewis

Prepping the Day Before.
“My favorite tradition is prepping with my sister. The day before Thanksgiving, we clean the house, turn up the music, put up decorations, and prepare food while our mom is at work,” said Julie Heise, our breakfast and lunch server of 7 years. She feels very happy to be able to spend the holidays being productive with her sister, whom she almost lost to leukemia on several occasions. “Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s relaxing to be surrounded by good company, and I get to enjoy my mom’s chestnut stuffing. It’s amazing. She boils the chestnuts hot and gets the meat out. I really need to figure out what it is she does! She makes a vegetarian version just for me. I’m also really excited about the holidays because my brother, who’s a veteran, is coming home for Thanksgiving this year!”

Julie and her family

Julie (bottom right) and her family

What’s your story on favorite holiday traditions? Share with us, and tag #YDTR! Our kitchen staff will share their favorite holiday dishes in the next post. Stay tuned!


About the AuthorLily Lee is the Marketing Assistant at the historical Nassau Inn. She graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Communications, minor in Digital Information & Media, and a passion for English and creative writing.

Top 5 Cold Weather Beers

Now that it’s the cold, crisp and beautiful month of November, it’s time to savor darker, flavorful and seasonal brews.

John Ryan

John Ryan, our beer aficionado, has been with us at the Nassau Inn for over six years. He loves rich, dark beers, especially in the fall. If you’re wondering what drinks to try, he can easily find your perfect match! Here are his Top 5 Cold Weather Beers!

  1. Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale: A seasonal favorite, with subtle spiced flavors, and a crisp, refreshing aroma reminiscent of leaves and fall. If you like a darker, spiced taste, try this as a Guinness Black and Tan.Black and Tan
  2. Samuel Adams Octoberfest: Amber colored, seasonal craft beer, with a roasted malt taste and sweet notes of caramel and toffee. This American award winning beer is a huge crowd pleaser for its time of the year.Samuel Adams Octoberfest
  3. Rogue Dead Guy Ale: Colder weather calls for darker styles; if you enjoy malty lagers, then you’ll love this Maibock. It has a deep color and a strong flavor that is nutty, malty and sweet. This ale is one of Rogue’s most popular drinks.Rogue Dead Guy Ale
  4. The Shed Brewery’s Mountain Ale: An English Style Brown Ale from Vermont, great for the slopes. It has a mouthfeel like Porter, but drinks like a rough brown with just enough bitterness.The Shed Brewery’s Mountain Ale
  5. Spellbound Brewing’s Palo Santo Porter: Aged with smoked wood, this dark style Porter tastes earthy and smoky. Its mouthfeel is creamy, and at the back end, you’ll enjoy the aroma of chocolate, vanilla, anise and even hints of mint.Spellbound Brewing’s Palo Santo Porter

‘Tis the season to be warm, cozy and festive! Come and try these cold weather beers at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room. Still not sure what to try? Just ask us!


About the Author: Lily Lee is the Marketing Assistant at the historical Nassau Inn. She graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Communications, minor in Digital Information & Media, and a passion for English and creative writing.

Fall Menu Must-Haves

From appetizer, lunch, dinner to dessert – here are some of our favorite dishes from our newly released fall menu. You’ll want to try them al­l!

Appetizers

Fall Menu 2016

Bubbling in a miniature black cast iron pan, the Fiery Black Iron Chili is spicy, cheesy, and perfect for chilly fall evenings!

Roasted Pear Salad Roasted Pear Salad tastes just like autumn with the lightness of feta cheese, fresh fall greens, and sweet smoked walnut vinaigrette. You’ll feel festive after the first bite!

Chicken & Waffles Salad

Drizzled with maple vinaigrette and bacon, Battered Fried Chicken is sweet, salty, and goes with any mood you’re feeling; it’s the ultimate chicken and waffle styled soul-food of salads.

Lunch

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Smothered in pepper jack cheese, the Pan Fried Meatloaf Sandwich is buttery soft with crisp frazzled onions on toasty bread. Savor the different textures as they unravel with each bite.

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If you’re in the mood for something light, creamy, and comforting – indulge in the Pecan Crusted Tilapia, soaked in an orange butter sauce, with delicious root vegetable risotto.

Dinner

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The Filet Mignon Au Poivre is professionally cold-smoked, infused with smoky flavor and grilled. Soaked in a cognac demi-glace cream, the mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts are a perfect complement to this tender and succulent dish.

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House Smoked Pork Chop is deliciously doused in apple brandy and cognac demi-glace sauce, with local apple and sage bread pudding broccolini on the side. The smoky taste evokes a campfire like feeling.

Dessert

Nassau Inn

Mason Jar Pumpkin Pie has a wonderful pumpkin mousse filling with a delightfully light and airy texture. This creamy, soft mouse is such a tasty seasonal dessert, you’ll crave it all season long!

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Flourless Chocolate Cake with Lavender Salt is an indulgent dessert with chocolatey, smooth, soft, melt-in-your-mouth cake embellished by the gentle, sweet chill of Tahitian ice cream and delicate fluffiness of whipped cream. The subtle yet soothing lavender salt is the perfect ending to a serene night.

Enticed? There are many more options for you to discover and enjoy! Come and join us in tasting our new fall menu. Whether you are looking for a place to gather with friends or to indulge in a good meal on your own, we look forward to welcoming you this beautiful season!


About the AuthorLily Lee is the Marketing Assistant at the historical Nassau Inn. She graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Communications, minor in Digital Information & Media, and a passion for English and creative writing.

Preparing for Autumn with Chef Michael LaCorte

There’s something comforting about being seated in a historic booth surrounded by carvings of diner’s past, anticipating a rich and savory meal. When enjoying your Butternut Squash Risotto, you feel the nostalgia and wonder about the mastermind behind your warm and tasty dish. A chef’s journey is one filled with selfless time, energy and love, ultimately to provide you with scrumptious food to nurture your mind, body, and soul.

Yankee Doodle Tap Room

You may wonder, how does a chef become a chef? Some say destiny, some believe in luck and happenstance. For Michael LaCorte, it was a mix of both. He worked at a hospital during high school, but with a twist of fate, his friend encouraged him take a job at a local Italian restaurant. This opportunity, along with the generous mentorship from the restaurant owner, gave him the push towards becoming a chef – and never looking back.

Nassau Inn

Nassau Inn

Fast forward to 2016 – Michael’s fourth year as our Executive Chef. The new fall menu is on the horizon, and we were given a chance to interview him about the creative process behind his menu development. When putting the fall menu items together, there were important considerations to be made. Michael believes in tradition, locality, and seasonality.

  • Tradition: Our piping hot, flaky and creamy Nassau Inn Chicken Pot Pie is the ultimate comfort food for the soul. It tastes like home and has been a guest favorite for countless years. The braised short ribs, with its succulent taste and fall-off-the-bone texture, is another long-standing tradition. Indulging in a traditional meal is very soothing after a long day. You can always depend on the Yankee Doodle Tap Room to have comfort food that will put you at ease and fill your heart with delight!

Yankee Doodle Tap Room

  • Locality: It’s important to get ingredients from the best, local places available. Just try the Apple Orchard Salad and you can taste the freshness of deliciously sweet and crisp local apples. Michael personally loves cheese, especially during autumn days. The gourmet cheese shop here in Palmer Square, Olsson’s Fine Foods, is a favorite source.

Yankee Doodle Tap Room

  • Seasonality: With auburn leaves outside and darker autumn evenings, we could use something warm, spicy and cheesy – Fiery Black Iron Chili with Wisconsin cheddar and our House Smoked Pork Chop are especially delicious this time of the year. We only use fruits and vegetables at their peak – just try our Sugar Beet & Bleu Cheese Salad, Roasted Pear Salad or Cauliflower Fritters all of which are busting with flavor. Don’t forget to leave room for dessert. If you’re in a dreamy mood, go for the mason jar Pumpkin Pie, always a crowd pleaser Crème Brûlée with spiced pumpkin or Warm Apple Cobbler, all the perfect ending to your night!

Yankee Doodle Tap Room

Autumn menu planning is an exciting mixture of divergent and convergent thinking. Michael and the chefs collaborate on creative ideas, and then finalize their plans. Before the menu is released, there’s a tasting at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room. All the new dishes are laid out on a big table for everyone to feast on. We can’t wait to try them and share the experience with you!


About the AuthorLily Lee is the Marketing Assistant at the historical Nassau Inn. She graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Communications, minor in Digital Information & Media, and a passion for English and creative writing.

Our Tap Room Favorites

Our resident Monday morning Tap Room crew explained their best staff moments.

159NITP-390NITPLR-151Jules, who has been working in our Tap Room for 7 years, states, “Each day brings a new challenge.” She is willing to take these challenges head on – because as a Tap Room server, you are not just a server — you are a concierge, a guide, and more. Jules explains, “Sometimes the hardest part is playing all the roles.” After all, you really have to anticipate the guest’s needs to ensure a memorable experience. “It is always nice to have those regulars come in because you are able to form a relationship with them. And then it becomes more than just eating a meal. It becomes an entire experience, which is what we want for any guest,” Jules stated.

If you’re coming to the Tap Room for breakfast, Jules recommends trying our delicious Eggs Benedict or our amazing Pecan Pancakes.

Dana, one of our newer servers has been a Tap Room staff for ten months now, but has definitely made her mark. She believes that since the beginning, it had been easy to sell the food because it is so delicious. If feels like a family here instead of a business because of how everyone supports each other. She states, “One of my favorite parts of having new guests come into the Tap Room is explaining the history, because that’s what makes our restaurant stand out from all the others in downtown Princeton.” Dana also likes how you never know who you might run into – it could be a musician, business owner, or celebrity, because the population is so diverse.

If you’re coming to the Tap Room for lunch or dinner, Dana recommends you try our Princetonian Burger. You can pair it with any of our 19 beers on draft. The best time to come in and eat it around 12PM every day.

The Tap Room staff feel at home here, and they appreciate the cooperation between different departments to make your experience great.

So come join our staff for breakfast, lunch, or even a drink on the outdoor patio. We can’t wait to see you!


About the Author: Brandon DeChirico spent the summer interning at the Nassau Inn. He is a student at Widener University studying hospitality.

Edited by Lily Lee

A Seasonal Guide for Princeton Travel

Princeton welcomes you any time of the year. When coming to visit us here in Princeton, know what to expect depending on the season!

Traveling

If you’re coming during the autumn, expect green, auburn, and yellow crisp leaves scattered across the grass and sidewalks. Pack layers of clothing so you can enjoy the scenery outside without being bothered by the cool gushes of wind. During this season, try the Pumpkin Spiced Café at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room for freshly brewed coffee with pumpkin spice, cinnamon and whipped cream.

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When winter is here, make sure to keep warm under a big coat. Occasionally, the snow may drizzle. It’s the perfect weather to wear knit hats, mittens and hold hands while staring into the effervescent lights spread jubilantly around Princeton. Join in on the holiday cheer at Palmer Square, where you are sure to bump into carolers or even the big man himself!

Winter Wonderland - outsideSpring is cherry blossom season. Many trees are in bloom here. You don’t want to miss out on the flower filled tree lined streets. Take a walk around the University, Cherry Valley Road, and Washington Ave. This is a good time to bring out the capris, cardigans, blazers, and light jackets for the evenings. Cherry-Blossoms1

Image source

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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The moment summer arrives is when Princeton feels particularly like an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. In his novel, This Side of Paradise, his writing exemplifies the beauty of Princeton and the special place he had for it in his heart, not failing to mention the Nassau Inn! Summer is time to begin again—so strip away from all the layers, and pack light clothing.

Happy travels!


About the Author: Lily Lee is the Marketing Assistant at the historical Nassau Inn. She graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Communications, minor in Digital Information & Media, and a passion for English and creative writing.

5 Wonderful Ways to Celebrate Mother’s Day in Princeton

On the day where we go out of our way to show our moms exactly how much they mean to us, Princeton provides plenty of options. Whether Mom wants a show, a stroll or a shopping trip, there’s something for everyone in our roundup below.

Kick off the day with a fragrant bouquet of freshly cut, elegantly arranged flowers. Our friends at Viburnum Designs can help you find the perfect combination.

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Mother’s Day brunch at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room has been a beloved tradition in Princeton for generations. Enjoy an unforgettable dining experience that mom will love. See the full menu here.

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Drop by Palmer Square where mom can take her pick from familiar brand names such as Ann Taylor and Ralph Lauren, or the many unique locally-owned boutiques, spas, and galleries.

Palmer Square

Take a leisurely stroll around downtown Princeton and through the stunning Princeton University campus. While there, visit the Princeton University Art Museum and Prospect Gardens for even more fun.

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Take in a show at the world renowned McCarter Theater. See what’s scheduled for Mother’s Day here.

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Fun Thanksgiving Facts

When most people think of a Princeton Thanksgiving, the first thing that comes to mind is spending joyous time with family and feasting on culinary delights such as as golden-roasted turkey, fluffy stuffing, tangy cranberry sauce, and whipped cream on top of pumpkin pie at the historic Yankee Doodle Tap Room.

Wherever you spend your Thanksgiving, here are 10 fun Thanksgiving Day facts to think about and share with your family and friends as you dig into this year’s turkey:

Since 1947, the president has pardoned a live turkey every Thanksgiving and allows it to live out its days on a historical farm.

The first Thanksgiving was a moment for the Pilgrims to thank God for allowing them to kill enough game and grow sufficient crops to get through the winter.

Wild turkeys can fly in short bursts at speeds up to 55 MPH.

Now a Thanksgiving dinner staple, cranberries actually were used by Native Americans to treat wounds and dye clothing. They did not eat them.

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The Thanksgiving Day football tradition began with Yale and Princeton, who played their first game in 1876 and drew yearly crowds of 40,000 to see them duke it out.

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The tradition of breaking a wishbone for good luck started with the Romans.

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So consumed with passion for the turkey and its respectful stature, it is said that Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey become the United States national bird. However, the bald eagle, which Franklin thought had a “bad moral character” won out.

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St. Patrick’s Day might get the press, but the day before Thanksgiving is the biggest day for bar and liquor sales in the U.S., also ahead of the Super Bowl or New Years’ Eve.

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The first national Thanksgiving was declared by President George Washington in 1789 – although it didn’t stick until Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation in 1863.

George Washington

Considered the “Mother of Thanksgiving,” Sara Hale (1788-1879) was an influential editor and writer who urged President Lincoln to proclaim a national day of thanksgiving. She selected the last Thursday in November because, as she said, harvests were done, elections were over, and summer travelers were home.

sarah hale

Princeton Ghosts & Hauntings

Ghost WashingtonDo you believe in ghosts? Princeton is one of those places where skeptics cross the threshold and start saying yes. Mysterious lights, strange presences, and ghostly figures have made Princeton a ghost hunter’s paradise.

Nestled between New York and Philadelphia, the small town of Princeton is steeped in history. From the Lenape Native Americans, to the British settlement, to the Revolutionary War, to our world famous university, the paranormal footprint left behind here by the people and events of centuries past isn’t too difficult to find.

“You may think you know Princeton well, but there’s a lot more than meets the eye,” said Mimi Omiecinski, owner of Princeton Ghost Tours. “Many people just find Princeton way too beautiful to leave, even after death.”

Ghostly sightings and experiences have been noted in just about every part of town, including here at the Nassau Inn and the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, where dozens of apparitions have been accounted for throughout the course of two and half centuries.

Nick Ballas, Director of Rooms at the Nassau Inn, reported on several occasions of having heard strange noises, seen bizarre figures, and, while staying overnight, witnessed a translucent woman in a white dress floating up the stairs from the 2nd to 3rd floor. “It was both spooky and mesmerizing at the same time,” Ballas recounted.

“The fifth floor is where some of the eeriest stories come from,” remarked a front desk attendant at the Nassau Inn. “There were several instances where guests called down with concerns of hearing constant chatter from disembodied voices. A few guests also described feelings of being hugged by an invisible stranger.”

As a regular stop along the Princeton Ghost Tour route, Mimi Omiecinski knows first-hand that the Nassau Inn is a hotbed of oddities and anomalies. “It’s not just a bunch of kooky ghost stories,” she explained. “We have evidence that they are here.”

You don’t have to take Omiecinski’s word for it, though. She proves the presence of ethereal beings by providing her tour groups with dowsing rods, EMF detectors, and therma-meters.

“Ghosts don’t always announce their presences with scents, sounds or slime,” said Omiecinski. “Ghosts, by their ethereal nature, tend to be a tad elusive. But, with this equipment we can locate, and often communicate with the other side.”

And, Princeton purportedly has quite the cast of famous specters in the area to communicate with. George Washington, John Witherspoon, and Albert Einstein are among the many celebrity spirits associated with Princeton that are believed to frequent the surrounding shops, residences, hotels, and university.

“Princeton has all the right features conducive of paranormal activity,” said Omiecinski. “The historic buildings are conduits of energy that spirits draw from.  You can bet that ghosts like George Washington and Albert Einstein are dropping by Nassau Hall, the McCarter Theater, and the Yankee Doodle Tap Room all the time.”

No matter what you believe about ghosts and the afterlife, one thing is certain – the historic town of Princeton has a lot more odd, unexplained activity than most other places in the world. And, while we don’t guarantee a ghost sighting when you book a room with us, taking a Princeton Ghost Tour should be on your to-do list while you’re here. “Not only is it great time for adults and children alike,” said Omiecinski. “But, what you’ll hear is true and what you’ll see is real.”