Thanksgiving Brunch at Per Se Benefits Toys for Tots

Thursday, November 27, 2014

At left:  (top) Sign at Per Se; (bottom) Balloon sculpture of a chef; At right (left to right): James Beard Award-winning radio host Leonard Lopate, his wife painter Melanie Baker, our host Chef Thomas Keller, and Karen Page

The invitation to Per Se‘s annual Thanksgiving Brunch for friends and family (our annual Thanksgiving morning tradition for the past several years) read, “Please join Per Se in collecting new, unwrapped toys for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots.  Toys will be distributed as holiday gifts to children in need throughout the New York City community.”


Top left (left to right): Sommelier Aldo Sohm, spirits executive Catherine Roman, and Karen Page; Bottom left: Karen Page with Relais & Chateaux’s Brenda Homick and her husband; Center: Stephanie’s shoes!

In addition to having arguably the best view in Manhattan of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route, we don’t know of another annual Thanksgiving brunch anywhere having better food — and given the array of offerings there’s no doubt both 5-year-olds and 50-year-olds would agree!  From homemade pretzels (including versions stuffed with fruit preserves or chocolate ganache) to popcorn to pancakes, there is an astounding variety of sweet and savory treats.


The pancake station in the kitchen at Per Se

And those aren’t just any pancakes, by the way, but Per Se pancakes — in other words, some of the very best pancakes we’ve ever tasted in our lives.  Andrew was amazed to shoot this photo of how each pancake was cooked in its own individual skillet.


Top right: Karen with Per Se’s wine director Michel Couvreux, whom we featured in our book THE FOOD LOVER’S GUIDE TO WINE

This annual party is great fun for kids of all ages, with the view of the parade offering nearly eye-level access to the balloons (although our cameras kept catching their rear view along Central Park South!).


The cotton candy station at Per Se

Cotton candy is not just for kids when it’s made at Per Se — flavors like Cherry-Vanilla appealed to grown-up tastes just as much.


Top right: Karen chats with USMC Toys for Tots volunteer Jeremiah about this annual program to collect toys for children throughout New York City

The event brought in a number of donations for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots — but Jeremiah told Karen that they’re receiving requests every day during the holiday season, so your support is much appreciated.


Left: Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, Judith Regan, and Judith’s niece Ava; Right: Andrew, Judith, Ava, and Judith’s nephew Quinn

P.S.  ‘Tis the season for holiday miracles:  The first person we ran into when we got out of our cab and were dashing to Per Se was none other than Judith Regan, with whom we’d just spent two hours chatting about Thanksgiving on her annual pre-Thanksgiving radio show (on which we’ve been regular guests for years) this past Saturday morning!

Per Se is at 10 Columbus Circle in New York City.  Website:

Toys for Tots is at

Categorized: New York City, Other