Thanksgiving doesn’t have to mean slaving away in the kitchen or even (gasp) turkey. There are more and more offerings each year to make your giving table stress-free, thanks to some of the best chefs in Los Angeles. Here’s a list of options as well as a thankful nod to some of their unsung kitchen heroes from those restaurateurs:
The Mar Vista
For $45 for adults and $25 for kids 12 and under, the Mar Vista offers a three-course sit-down meal on Thanksgiving Day with a long list of choices. Starters include heirloom apple and butternut squash soup, creamy goat cheese and beet salad, and mushroom fundido. Main courses include classic roast turkey with mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans as well as turkey leg confit with corn bread dressing, gravy, carrots and Brussels sprouts; and braised short ribs with lime-spiked sweet potatoes and sweet chili broccolini. For vegans, there’s a roasted acorn squash stuffed with barley, jackfruit, mushrooms and cranberries.
For dessert, try the “Someone … Dropped the Pumpkin Pie!” with crispy meringue marshmallow whipped cream. There’s also a crustless pecan pie, cranberry-raspberry crumble and sticky brownie caramel bread pudding with ice cream. And there will be baskets of Etxea bread on the table.
Mar Vista owner Jill Davie says, “There are a lot of reasons I am thankful for growing up in the ’70s and ’80s in West Los Angeles. One of the best reasons was the Pioneer Bakery. Not only was their sourdough bread a household staple, I would go so far as to say it was a religion. Our twice-weekly visits to the bakery on Rose Avenue in Venice — oftentimes riding on the back of my mom’s bicycle in the most ergonomically unsound child seat, which was borderline painful, exciting, scary and outright dangerous — was something to look forward to! The smell of the bakery wafting through the air was, and still is one of my most memorable olfactory experiences.
“When it came time to open my own restaurant in my hometown, Mar Vista, I couldn’t imagine not offering the real sourdough Pioneer bread. Thanks to John Baptiste, grandson of the original owners, and his bakery Etxea, Pioneer bread is one of the Mar Vista’s essential ingredients.”
Little Dom’s Deli
Little Dom’s is offering a Thanksgiving to-go menu. Orders can be placed by calling ahead and will be available for pickup at the Little Dom’s Deli on Thanksgiving Day. In addition to turkey, traditional sides include homemade fennel sausage and mushroom stuffing, garnet yam gratin and roasted Brussel sprouts. Dessert choices are brown butter pumpkin pie, coconut cream, apple and pecan pies.
“The Little Dom’s Deli wouldn’t be the same without Neal, who does all of our pickling on-site,” says chef Brandon Boudet. “He comes in when the restaurant is closed and takes care of all of Little Dom’s’ pickling needs. From sugar snap peas to bread & butter pickles, we use the pickled veggies across our menu.”
If all you need is a sweet finish, Eastside favorite Valerie’s Confections is serving up a variety of traditional pies and tarts, including those with a modern seasonal twist; all can be ordered for pickup at any of her stores. There’s a pumpkin cheesecake tart in a gingersnap shell; apple and salted caramel pie; a winter luxury pumpkin pie in a pate brisee crust; and a selection of BBQ pies out of her big green egg.
There are also pumpkin petits fours and a mini cookie sampler box with gingersnaps, brown butter snickerdoodles, chocolate chip fleur de sel, oatmeal raisin, Durango, matcha and white chocolate chip cookies. Order ahead!
Owner Valerie Gordon expresses her gratitude thus: “I am so grateful for my partner, Stan Weightman. Within our company he deals with so much of the day-to-day maintenance and generally unglamorous aspects of what it takes to keep Valerie Confections moving forward.”
The Gables will offer a Thanksgiving to-go menu with pies, sides and everything but the turkey. Orders can be picked up the Tuesday night or Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The traditional menu, which includes sausage and chestnut stuffing and cranberry orange chutney, is posted on the website along with ordering instructions. The Gables also will be open for brunch on Black Friday for those looking to cure their turkey hangover with light, farm-fresh bites.
“As a new neighborhood restaurant with a small team, we rely heavily on our friends at local farmers markets to find us the freshest produce available each week,” says chef Vicki Fan Matsusaka. “I’m especially grateful for Mark Carpenter of Coastal Organics (must-try turnips), Barbara Spencer of Windrose Farm (the best apples!) and Gloria Tamai of Tamai Farms, who finds us delicious beets, corn and strawberries year-round. And when I don’t have time to step out of the kitchen, my favorite unofficial employee (my husband) brings the market to me with samples of his latest produce finds.”
Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne’s popular neighborhood restaurant in Brentwood presents a complete Thanksgiving dinner prepared by chef de cuisine Joel Walsh. The menu caters to meat lovers, vegetarians and vegans. Beginning with a persimmon and pomegranate salad with arugula, walnuts and St. Agur, guests may choose either an herb-roasted organic turkey breast with Stuffed leg served with generous trimmings; or a Vegan “Extravaganza” of sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, fingerling potatoes, Italian broccoli, Suzanne’s stuffing and wild mushroom persillade, featuring meatless versions of the hearty sides. Desserts include a choice of a spiced pumpkin pie; or chocolate pecan tart served with vanilla ice cream; or a vegan dessert option of apple crumble. Pricing for the menu is $95 per adult, $45 for children 10 and under. No charge for children 4 and under. Available on Thursday, 1 to 8 p.m.
The Larder at Tavern and the Larder at Burton Way
Goin and Styne’s marketplace restaurants in Brentwood and Los Angeles present their take-out menus for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Order a complete Thanksgiving feast for eight or build a personalized dinner from an à la carte menu. The custom choices include Larder’s signature appetizers: dates with bacon and Parmesan; spiced shrimp with horseradish cocktail sauce; market crudités with buttermilk dressing; and artisanal cheese platters with dried fruits, Marcona almonds, marinated olives and Julie’s spiced nuts.
The expansive menu is great for entertaining at home or for gifting meals. Dinner is served with an oven-ready brined organic Diestel turkey and gravy; accompanied by a selection of side dishes including Mom’s traditional stuffing; sweet potatoes with romesco, sherry and roasted shallots; mashed potatoes; and Brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar, pancetta and thyme.
The Larder Baking Company house-baked breads as well as desserts are available, including spiced pumpkin pie; chocolate pecan tart; and traditional apple pie with brown sugar whipped cream; pumpkin loaf with brown butter frosting and spiced pepitas; and all of the Larder Baking Company’s famous cookies.
To complement the dinner, Styne has curated two three-packs of her favorite wines. The $90 three-bottle pack includes Le Vigne di Alice, Prosecco di Valdobbiadene; 2016 Melville Chardonnay, Sta. Rita Hills; and 2016 Tyler, Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County. The $160 three-bottle pack includes NV Philipponat Champagne, Royale Réserve, Mareuil sur Ay; 2016 Jean-Philippe Fichet, Bourgogne Blanc; and 2016 Camille Giroud, Santenay.
Ordering is streamlined with an online form that can be accessed directly from the website. All Thanksgiving orders can be submitted online or in person to either location, with easy pickup or coordinated delivery.
“The most valuable kingpin to our Thanksgiving dinners is Ruben Garcia, who has been our key prep god since we opened the original A.O.C. in 2002,” says co-owner Suzanne Goin. “He is the linchpin to our prepping madness for Thanksgiving, churning through mountains of sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts and stuffing prep every year.”
Hock and Hoof
If you want to take your Thanksgiving (or holiday season) meal to a dramatic level, Hock and Hoof is going whole hog, offering a whole roasted pig, serving 16 to 20 people, for $880. It includes five sides, and five sauces. The sides are German potato salad, cheesy cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and lap cheung, apples and mixed greens, and cheese and herb biscuits. The five sauces are roasted pig gravy, apple sauce, BBQ sauce, apple cider and brown sugar, and Korean soy-chili. Pre-order by calling (213) 279-9983.
Owners Kat Hu and Justin Yi say, “We are so thankful for our servers and bartenders. They represent the kitchen with their knowledge and dedication and show our team culture to our customers.”
555 East, a classic American steakhouse in Long Beach, is offering a Thanksgiving Day, three-course menu for $47 per person. It’ll feature Thanksgiving classics as well as roasted butternut squash soup with crème fraiche and Dungeness crab bisque. Entrees include Diestel Family Ranch roasted turkey, homemade cornbread stuffing with Andouille sausage, and garlic mashed potatoes with turkey sage gravy. For dessert, there's traditional pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream.
“Every year around this time, we’re reminded how fortunate we are to have Heidi Diestel and her family,” says chef Chris Sison. “The 70-year-old Diestel Family Ranch is one of the few small, family-owned-and-operated ranches left in the nation. They make their own mill to feed the turkeys, which is time-consuming and tedious, but it ensures there are no antibiotics, animal byproduct or hormones, and that really makes a difference to me. It’s the fishermen and farmers like the Diestels that allow us to provide such excellent food to our guests, and for that I am always thankful.”
Wood and Water
Sherman Oaks' Wood and Water, a casual bistro with top-notch cocktails, will be serving a special menu on Thanksgiving Day and also will be offering a traditional full Thanksgiving dinner with roasted garlic mashed potatoes to go. Signature seafood dishes and roasted rack of lamb will be available, in addition to other regular menu items.
“We’d like to thank Felipe, our head busser, from making sure all customers are happy, to fixing leaky pipes, and everything in between!” says owner Karim Megji.