Thanksgiving is a food-lover's holiday. Everywhere you turn, there's talk about what to eat or cook for the big day. Scan the food sites and you'll find discussion boards dedicated to the topic of turkey, stories of family food traditions, and lots, and lots, of recipes.
What's a food loving person to do if they can't cook? Fake it.
That's why we put together this list of the Top 10 places to buy a Thanksgiving pie. Volunteer to supply something for the meal's final course and arrive at the holiday dinner with a show stopping dessert. Feel free to be honest about where you bought your pie, or--for an elaborate culinary ruse--hide away the pink box, pull out the antique cake stand, and see just how long you can maintain the charade that you are LA's next great pastry chef.
1. Huckleberry: Score a dessert from Zoe Nathan's uber-popular Santa Monica bakery, and you may find yourself gushing in detail about where you bought your Thanksgiving treat. Huckleberry's pumpkin, maple walnut, chocolate pudding pie, and rustic apple crostata ($45) may have a designer label price tag, but the quality of the product will inspire you to happily empty your wallet. Pies serve 10. Catering orders must be placed by 5:00 p.m., Sunday, November 22nd. Huckleberry: 1014 Wilshire Blvd.; Santa Monica; (310) 451-2311.
2. Clementine: To pull off the I-baked-it-myself ruse, we suggest picking up Clemintine's bake-at-home apple pie ($28). Follow the simple reheating directions, dust yourself with a pinch of flour, and you'll play the part of the charming pastry cook to a T. For oven-phobic types, there's always the no-cook option of pumpkin, pecan, or banana cream pie ($24-30 each). Pre-order online before Saturday. Clementine: 1751 Ensley Ave.; (310) 552-1080 ext. 5 or Catering@ClementineOnline.com.
3. Susina Bakery: It's impossible to estimate how many Thanksgivings have been saved by this Hollywood bakery's Thanksgiving day hours (7 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Beyond the friendly service (these people kiss their personal lives goodbye to serve the masses on the holidays), their scrumptious desserts are worth every dollar. Try the decadent 10-inch Cranberry Tart with Vanilla Hazelnut Crumble ($40), Cherry Pie ($42), or Pumpkin Tart ($40). Susina Bakery: 7122 Beverly Blvd.; (323) 934-7900.
4. Cake Monkey: If leaving your desk for a lunch break involves consulting your Google calendar and sprinting down the hall to the office microwave, may we suggest pre-ordering your holiday dessert from this online bake shop. Bring the sophisticated honey braised pumpkin tart ($40 for 8 people) to your holiday party, and when no one's looking, treat yourself to a little bit of sugar whimsy with a fresh apple crumble "Pop Pie" (think handmade Pop Tarts baked with real, chemical-free ingredients for $3.75 each) or a mini peanut butter and marshmallow "Cakewich." Order by Monday for pickup or delivery. Call (877) 640-CAKE (2253) or (818) 841-0202.
5. La Brea Bakery (The Original Bakery): Other than Costco, there aren't many bakeries that give samples of their holiday pies to customers. But starting this Friday at 11 a.m. (and through the weekend) you can visit the original bakery to taste before you buy. Cook up a bunch of sweet lies while you try out the sweet potato and pumpkin Thanksgiving pie ($30), Apple Crumble ($18), Cherry crumble ($20), and the toasted pecan and molasses pecan tart ($28). [Full Disclosure: this author works part time for Nancy Silverton, the original owner and consulting chef for La Brea Bakery]. La Brea Bakery: 624 South La Brea Ave.; Phone (323) 939-6813 or email@example.com
6. Susiecakes: Homesick pastry eaters have been known to brave the traffic west past the 405 to this Brentwood Bakery for its traditional pumpkin, and classic southern pecan pie ($24.95). Their super-sized woopie pie ($5) could inspire a whole new holiday pastry ritual. Pre-orders only. Pick up Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.. Susie Cakes: 11708 San Vicente Blvd.; (310) 442-2253.
7. Delilah Bakery: If the phrase "you had me at bourbon" makes you giddy, then we suggest this Echo Park bakery for its pecan bourbon or pumpkin bourbon pie ($23). Or skip the alcohol laced treats entirely and head straight to the tasty lemon meringue, or the sweet potato pie with a gingerbread crust ($23). Delilah Bakery: 1665 Echo Park Ave.; (213) 975-9400.
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8. Apple Pan: Embrace nostalgia for the old times and buy an apple pie favored by the lost generation of old Hollywood. A family favorite of our own Jonathan Gold, the Apple Pan is the restaurant known for its classic burgers, soda in a paper cone, hand made pies, and a dollop of fresh whipped cream to flavor your cup of coffee. Most regulars go for the apple, but at less than $20 for a whole pie, it wouldn't break the bank to add a cream or pecan pie to your holiday offerings. Apple Pan: 10801 W Pico Blvd.; (310) 475-3585.
9. Pie n' Burger: If you live in Pasadena area, you've probably been this culinary landmark for a burger and its namesake dessert. For more than 40 years, this family diner has been making Dutch apple, mince meat, rhubarb, pumpkin and cream pies ($16.50) for hungry regulars and locals. Have a seat at the formica counter for a cup of joe and a good story while you wait for your holiday baked good to get wrapped up. Pre-order by Tuesday. Pie n' Burger: 913 E California Blvd., Pasadena; (626) 795-1123.
10. Project Angel Food: Skip bending the truth and divulge the real reason behind your purchase: charity. Beyond treating your friends and family to something sweet, the proceeds of every $25 pie sold will fund the preparation and delivery of five nutritious meals to those affected by HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Pies can be ordered online and picked up in multiple locations on Monday, November 23, and Tuesday, November, 24. Order online.
Brooke Burton is also the author of Foodwoolf.com.