Food: Twist up Thanksgiving traditions with expert tips |

Food: Twist up Thanksgiving traditions with expert tips

Brittany Markert
Give your Thanksgiving Day meal a twist with expert tips.
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto


Don’t have room to host a large family? Hate the clean-up after? Venture to several Grand Valley restaurants which will serve Thanksgiving meals.


Both Denny’s locations (710 Horizon Dr., Grand Junction and 3205 I-70 Business Loop, Clifton) will offer a turkey dipper meal for $7.95 — “tender sliced turkey breast topped with melted Swiss cheese, onion tanglers and mayonnaise on grilled ciabatta bread. Served with your choice of savory stuffing or our wavy-cut French fries, cranberry sauce and gravy for dipping.”

For more information, call 970-243-5030 (Horizon Drive location) or 970-434-4100 (Clifton location)


Both Village Inn locations (1910 North Ave., and 757 Horizon Dr.) will offer a slow-roasted turkey dinner for $9.89 — it includes two sides and a slice of pumpkin pie. Locations are open until 2 p.m.

For more information, call 970-243-5467 (North Avenue location) or 970-254-8067 (Horizon Drive location).


626 on Rood will host a thanksgiving dinner, which includes turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce. Restaurant hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For more information, call 970-257-7663.


The DoubleTree by Hilton, located at 743 Horizon Dr. in Grand Junction, will host a Thanksgiving buffet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The buffet costs $28.95 for adults and $14.95 for children. Price does not include tax or 19 percent gratuity.

For more information, call 970-241-8888.


Golden Corral (1100 Independent Ave., Grand Junction) will host a Thanksgiving Buffet between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Meals cost $13.99 for adults and children and $12.99 for seniors.

For more information, call 970-241-7004.


Wine Country Inn, located at 777 Grande River Dr. in Palisade, will host a Thanksgiving meal. It costs $35 for adults and $12 for children ages 12 and under. Seatings are available for 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Price includes the option of prime rib, turkey or salmon along with sides including stuffing, potatoes, gravy, green beans, a variety of desserts.

To reserve a seat or for more information, call 970-464-5777.


Josh Niernberg, executive chef and owner of Bin 707 Foodbar (225 N. Fifth St., Suite 105, Grand Junction), and Lee Mathis, owner of Decadence Cheesecakes, twist up Thanksgiving with traditional dishes and adds flavor.


Here are the drink Recipe to do a bulk batch for the entire family to enjoy:

Total Yield: Eight 8oz. drinks


1/2 bottle Goat Vodka (12.5oz)

1 1/4 quart (5 cups) double brewed iced tea (2x tea bags)

1 cup IQF Blueberries (macerated)

1 oz Angostura bitters

4-5 cardamon pods

4-5 star anise pods

3 cinnamon sticks

12 all-spice berries


For the blueberries, simply pack IQF Blueberries (high quality frozen bagged Blueberries) with about 1 cup of sugar. The sugar will dissolve as the blueberries thaw and create a blueberry syrup. This is the sweet component, while the angostura bitters will balance the sweetness and add some complexity. Make sure to do the Blueberries the day ahead.

This recipe was originally written for the West Slope Supper Club/Field To Fork CSA Hoedown, and is currently being adapted to be used as a carbonated cocktail through the holiday season at the restaurant.

Use a large iced tea brewer or pitcher to build this recipe in and serve it either cold on the rocks, up shaken and strained into a martini glass or warm with a little extra honey as a spiked tea drink. Simply mix all ingredients and let rest in the refrigerator overnight.

The key is to brew the tea extra strong as to hold up to the dilution caused by the other ingredients.

All of the spices are used whole. Feel free to substitute both to your liking and availability. For instance, clove could be used in place of cardamon to add the spice, allspice is a type of peppercorn, and could be substituted for whole black, pink, or white peppercorns as well.


Apple, fennel and sage stuffing:

Use your favorite basic stuffing recipe, dice the bulb and stems of one fennel, and two apples, sauté the fennel in oil until translucent. Add the apple and cook until the liquid releases and it just starts to “tan.” Stir in one half-cup chopped fresh sage, stir, then add to base stuffing and Bake.

Chipotle corn bread stuffing:

Beginning with a base of corn bread Stuffing, using rubber gloves, dice one to two canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, six to seven celery stalks, and one red onion. Sauté onion and celery until caramelized. Add diced peppers and one to two tablespoons of adobo Sauce (from the can), deglaze with about a half-cup of any suitable cooking liquid (Corona, white wine, turkey stock). Add two to three tablespoons of honey, stir into stuffing mix and bake. To serve, drizzle with crema mexicana (or sour cream) and cotija (a dry Mexican cheese available everywhere) or serve just as it is.

Umami stuffing:

Umami is the “pleasant savory” taste often referred to as the fifth taste (sweet, salty, sour, bitter… umami)

Use dried Shiitake mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese to build the stuffing.

Start with boiling one-and-a-half cups of Shiitakes, and one-and-a-half cups of sun-dried tomatoes in four cups of water. Reduce the boiling liquid by one-and-a-quarter cups then drain and reserve. You should have three cups of unseasoned, concentrated mushroom/tomato water. Let the mushrooms and tomatoes cool, then slice into thin strips (aka julienne cut). Sauté carrots, onion and celery until soft then add the julienned tomatoes and mushrooms and one tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce. Stir into dried cubed bread, add the cooking liquid from the mushrooms, and about one cup of any finely grated hard aged cheese (parmesan or similar). If you have any truffle oil or like truffles, you could add three to four tablespoons of truffle oil to this mixture as well. Bake off until the stuffing begins to form a crust. Garnish by topping with more grated cheese if you like and serve.

SOURCE: Josh Niernberg, Bin 707 Foodbar



Yield: 2.25 cups

1 cup Bourbon

2/3 cup pure maple syrup

2/3 cup ketchup

1/3 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely minced

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed


Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate, covered, overnight. Brush the glaze over the turkey during the last 15 minutes of roasting @ 5 minute intervals

SOURCE: Lee Mathis, Decadence Cheesecakes

It is the time of year where the turkey is roasted, the potatoes are mashed and the cranberries are molded. Try something new this Thanksgiving holiday with tips and tricks from Bin 707 Foodbar’s owner Josh Niernberg and Decadence Cheesecake’s owner Lee Mathis.


Holiday meals don’t need to stick with traditional tastes only. At Niernberg’s Thanksgiving dinner last year, he offered a Latin-inspired menu including red and green chilies, and a chipotle-corn-bread stuffing. This year he plans to host an Asian-inspired theme with duck on the menu.

“If people are stuck on the traditional whole turkey,” Niernberg said, “the best outcome would be to brine the turkey with sage or lemon. It helps add flavor.”

And instead of cooking the bird whole, take it apart and cook pieces separately, he added.

According to Niernberg, everyone should ditch cranberries in a can in favor of fresh or frozen varieties — and flavor it with orange zest.

Pickled food is also a “nice way to break it up,” he said, like pickled long beans for instance.

Changing only one item on an otherwise traditional Thanksgiving menu could also spice things up. Mathis, for instance, likes to glaze his turkey with a new flavor each year. He also enjoys changing up his traditional green-bean casserole.

“Glazes are great for everything,” he said, noting that he currently favors a maple bourbon glaze..

But when it comes to dessert, both Mathis and Niernberg agree to keep it simple and traditional.

“And remember, family is first,” Mathis said. “Just because you like a flavor doesn’t mean the rest of the family will like it.”


Plan ahead: Prepare items like stuffing, potatoes, or gravy ahead of time, Niernberg said. And both chefs agree that a turkey should be cooked at a lower temperature for a longer time.

Don’t stuff your turkey: “That’s food poisoning waiting to happen and a good way to over-cook the turkey,” Niernberg said.

Mashing tip: Niernberg recommends to bake potatoes before hand instead of boiling them. Then use unsalted butter.

Wait to cook the beans: Don’t cook green beans until you’re ready to serve the rest of the dinner, Niernberg added.

To learn more about Niernberg’s and Mathis’s businesses, visit or

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User