While Thanksgiving should be a time of celebration and unrepentant gluttony, if you're the one stuck in the kitchen burning your fingers and mopping bread crumbs and eggs off the floor, maybe you'd be happier just going out or ordering in. From a $10 holiday tasting menu at Akasha to a $68 buffet at Viceroy Santa Monica, there are a lot of possibilities this year. Of course we're not saying you shouldn't shop for hours on-end, jam your cart through packed aisles, or fight to the death for that last can of cranberry sauce. But there are options. In no particular order, here are 10 of them.
Elements Cafe in Pasadena can give your palate a pick-me-up with a Thanksgiving to-go menu consisting of lamb osso buco in Syrah and Port reduction and whole poached Mediterranean style salmon, among other items--including turkey.
Elements Cafe: 107 South Fair Oaks Ave., Ste 110 (entrance on Dayton St.), Pasadena; (626) 440-0100.
2. Fresh Cutt
If you have a large family or are simply on a budget like the rest of the country, Fresh Cutt won't break the bank. The small eatery, hidden in a Sherman Oaks strip mall, is dishing out turkey plates for $8.95 from Nov. 23-25. Meals include turkey breast on pita bread, baked apple stuffed with homemade cranberry sauce and five additional sides.
Fresh Cutt: 14622 Ventura Blvd. #103, Sherman Oaks; (818) 788 8077.
The online pastry shop offers decadent sweets, from turkey-shaped cookies to pumpkin cakes with toasted meringue. Los Angeles-based pastry chef Danielle Keene's holiday menu highlights are cranberry linzer tarts, chocolate peppermint cakes, apple gingerbread upside down cakes and chocolate or lemon jelly rolls.
Thanksgiving dinner for $10 at Akasha? Not quite. But chef Akasha Raymond's tasting on the Saturday leading up to Thanksgiving, November 21st, will provide a nice warm up. Richmond is sampling foods from her new catering, cafe and Thanksgiving-to-go menus. A preview: organic cheddar macaroni and cheese with seasoned bread crumbs, cornbread and sausage dressing and Niman ranch ham with pomegranate jalapeño glaze. A full-on Thanksgiving meal, served from noon - 7 p.m., Thanksgiving Day features some of the same dishes from Richmond's tasting menu and is $55 for adults, $30 for children.
The Café at Akasha: 9543 Culver Blvd, Culver City; (310) 845-1700.
The Whist at Viceroy Santa Monica is hosting a buffet dinner with dishes cooked up by executive chef Tony DiSalvo. On the menu: risotto; turkey breast and leg confit with cranberry-orange chutney; maple glazed cured ham; cornbread stuffing; butternut squash soup, and an array of organic salads. $68 for adults, $24 for children under 12, Free for children under five.
Whist at Viceroy Santa Monica: 1819 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; (310) 260-7511.
Though you won't be able to celebrate the holiday in The Larchmont Larder's Hancock Park bungalow, the restaurant has a special Thanksgiving take-home menu. Chef Michael Beglinger offers a selection of gravy and soups, fennel, Italian sausage, braised savoy cabbage, and dried fruit tart. Dishes range from $10.50-$32.00, feeding a family of three to eight. Orders must be placed by November 20th.
The Larchmont Larder: 626 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 962-9900.
Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne's Tavern will offer a Thanksgiving menu of persimmon and pomegranate salad; kabocha squash gratin with poblanos; queso fresco and candied pepitas; and chestnut, prune and cavolo stuffing. All entrees come with sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts with pancetta and thyme, Italian broccoli, and cranberry sauce. $65 adults; $35 children 12 and under; free for children under two. Open Thanksgiving day from 1-7 p.m. Tavern: 11648 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 806-6464.
Like many chefs, Roberto Maggioni of Locanda del Lago was inspired by his mother Cristina, a baker in Milan. And many of the restaurant's northern Italian dishes are inspired by her willingness to try new methods. Maggioni's Thanksgiving menu is no different. The prix fixe menu of $49 for 3-courses and $62 for 4-courses features crispy pancetta, pumpkin ravioli, rainbow trout filet with Bermuda onion confit, Italian shepherd pie and savoy cabbage involtino.
Locanda del Lago: 231 Arizona Ave., Santa Monica; (310) 451-3525.
Beacon in Culver City is putting an Asian spin on the traditional turkey dinner. In addition to the infamous turkey entree, chef-owner Kazuto Matsusaka is adding to the menu braised shortrib with wasabi crème fraiche, miso-marinated black cod and grilled yellowtail with salsa verde. $46 prix fixe, $24 for children under 12.
Beacon: 3280 Helms Ave., Los Angeles; (310) 838-7500.
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At $38 per person, Marché's four-course dinner might just be the best gourmet deal in town. But you can always spend more money: by adding a $35 wine supplement and $15 extra for the foie gras terrine appetizer, you can exercise the true gluttonous spirit of the holiday. On the menu: scallops, Moroccan squash, turkey, pork belly, pot roast, and a choice of three desserts--chocolate pudding, ice cream cake or spiced cake with mascarpone sorbet.
Marché: 3335 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; (818) 784-2915.