..by Anura Guruge
We used to go out for Christmas dinner quite often. It was easier than cooking at home and gave us a break. We haven’t done it of late preferring to stay home. Last year we did a big traditional dinner with the works. Year prior to that we got Chinese takeout. This year, after 3 dinner parties back-to-back, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, we have so much food in the fridge that I don’t even want to think of more, though we have enough stuff in the freezer, including more ham, for another full dinner.
Though we do go out to eat quite often at Thanksgiving, as we did this year, I kind of feel bad about it because I am making folks miss their day at home to provide for me. I try to make up for this. I don’t feel bad about Christmas or Easter because I am fully aware that there are those that do not celebrate those holidays and are more than happy to earn the additional money. But, I tend to gravitate towards Chinese establishments because I know that many Chinese do not observe the Christian holidays. [There are educated Chinese living in this country that have never heard of the pope. True. Read this real story that I relate on my Popes and Papacy blog.]
So if I was looking for a place to go on Christmas Day 2012, I would start by considering Great Buffet II in Portsmouth or Red Apple in Concord, both buffets that we are very conversant with. The kids wouldn’t have a problem with either, though of late I think they prefer, the more extensive, Great Buffet II. Yes, we could go to Manchester too, but it wouldn’t be worth the drive.
Yes, of course, I could consider Indian too, given that Christmas might not be a big deal for many of them. However, I am not sure that having Indian for Christmas meets my ‘kosher’ requirements, though we have had Indian, more than once, on New Year’s Day.
The Sheraton Harbourside at Portsmouth (where we did do Thanksgiving) says that they are having a Christmas ‘brunch’ from 1 pm to 5 pm on Christmas Day though it is not mentioned on their Web. What they do have on their Web is a ‘Santa’ Brunch that took place on Sunday, December 23, 2012. That could be an option for some.
The ‘Wentworth by the Sea‘ does have both a Christmas Buffet and Christmas Dinner, for the same price, $44.95 per person for adults and $18.95 for kids 2 to 12, advertised on their Web — with even the menu for the Dinner. I like the Wentworth, but I am a sucker for any and all ‘Grand Hotels’. We have been to at least one of their buffets, an Easter Buffet. It was very good, but strange. In over 50 years of dinning out, around the world, it was the ONLY time I was asked to pay in advance! No, it wasn’t special treatment just for me, because I don’t look like I was born in New England. Everybody had to pay in advance. Kind of made me feel odd. Haven’t been back for a meal since. Yes, they tend to be on the expensive side. So, even before I look at the wine menu and the kids order their soda, never mind the NH 9% (?) ‘Room & Board’ Tax, we are looking at $127.80. So for us, at a minimum, we would be looking at $170 or thereabouts. The time they charged us in advance, I think it was $155 — albeit with unlimited champagne, soda and coffee included in that price. Yes, I had two glasses of champagne.
Given my recent, very pleasant experience, I would consider the ‘Sea Bird‘ in Wolfeboro as another possible alternative, though the kids and I tend to prefer buffets, given a choice.
Realistically those are about the only options we would consider IF we wanted to go out for dinner Christmas 2012. Many of the restaurants in Portsmouth, quite rightly, are closed on Christmas Day and I am glad. I hate to see folks being forced to work on holidays IF they don’t want to do so or can get by without the additional money.
Well, Merry Christmas. If you do dine out tomorrow, would you be kind enough to share your experience with us. Thanks. All the best. Cheers.