Another Christmas has come and gone and while we're already planning our New Year's resolutions (gotta be able to fit back into something other than mesh shorts) it's important to take a moment to enjoy the last few days of 2013. This year was special since it was the first time Red and I have split the holidays between our families; we went to her parents' place for Thanksgiving and my parents' place for Christmas. No sooner did we get to Sackets Harbor than an ice storm hit, knocking out power for a few days across the region. Luckily, we had a generator, so with the exception of a few non-working outlets we were fortunate enough to pass the time baking (Red learned some Brown family Christmas cookie recipes) and making merry (so much spiked egg nog!). There was even an appearance by Santa! Santa

On Christmas Eve, Red made some dishes from her family's traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes, including this fish salad that was devoured by our party guests before they even looked at anything else.


We wrapped up the week with a stop at The Crystal, a Watertown, NY institution that features good food in a vintage atmosphere with vintage prices. Every year during the holidays they roll out Tom and Jerry cocktails, which nearly everyone in town stops in for. Served piping hot, this sweet libation is a cousin to egg nog and it's a Brown family tradition to throw a couple back when we're home for Christmas. It was a great way to round out our trip and prepare for the revelry and repentance of New Year's. --Brown