Midnight Thanksgiving



Kelly Conway looks on as Mike Cherepko carves the turkey.

In the fifth incarnation, for Dylan Spies's late night Thanksgiving celebration, he and Mike Cherepko accidentally took a new tack: preparation. This year, like last, the event was held at Mr. Cherepko's Williamsburg Heights loft. Starting two days before, the two cooked and cooked. By the time guests began to arrive, there was hardly anything left to do. Prior years had been typified by hangovers and delicious food. This year only had the delicious food.

The menu ranged from traditional to nearly traditional. Dinner is of course not served until midnight. To help with the wait, guests nibbled on appetizers of spicy pickled carrots, toast, chicken liver pâté, caviar, tapenade, and a cheese plate provided by Kristy King that she dropped off a few days before. She also made a cranberry ginger compote. A piece of toast topped with all the dips and spreads hit the spot. Roxanna Rector shucked oysters, one of which had a crab living in it!

The dinner itself covered all the bases and more. The turkey was accompanied by four pitchers of different gravies: mushroom and thyme, onion apple cider, giblet gravy, and the classic and most popular, cream of mushroom soup and pan drippings. Ridgely Dodge, a true workhorse, volunteered two kinds of mashed potatoes (15 pounds in all!): a standard batch and his famous habanero spicy ones for the brave. There were also two stuffings. Kelly Conway brought a sausage one. Mr. Cherepko made one for the vegetarians with apples, brandy-soaked cranberries, toasted walnuts, and mushrooms. (Omnivores enjoyed it too.) Mr. Spies makes a mean coleslaw using mustard in lieu of vinegar. His cornbread isn't bad either. For dessert, guests ate pumpkin cookies that noted bakester Lisa Filipek had concocted.

Other guests included Mr. Dodge's then-constant companion Jackie VanDusen, bus counter Laura Podolnick, Casey O'Brien, and her friend Megan Thomas. Ravi Varma arrived with Ms. King–they moved into an apartment together earlier that day. Krys Nicholls, Quentin Little, Sarah Guido, and a mustachioed Jimmy Laakso arrived shortly before turkey o' clock.

Mr. Cherepko is much better off when someone else, in this case Mr. Spies, handles inviting people to his home. This way he doesn't hate every single person who didn't RSVP because he doesn't know who they are.



Ridgely Dodge peeled 15 lbs of potatoes.

Lisa Filipek in her pilgrim hat.

Mike Cherepko slices turkey meat.

The two main cooks, Dylan Spies and Mr. Cherepko

The oyster had a crab.

Some of the available gravies.

Such lovely gravies. These should have been on the cover.

Mr. Spies tends the stove.

Kristy King: Carnivore.

Ridgely Dodge purloined the hat.

A vegetarian with meat on all sides of her.

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