Sorry to be all vegan activist-y, but if you eat turkey on Thanksgiving, you're an asshole. Seriously, why would anyone want to participate in what some estimate to be the slaughter of approximately 45 million birds when there are so many delicious alternatives that didn't used to be alive? Besides, it's not like turkeys ever did anything to us. If anything, turkeys have enhanced our lives as the inspiration behind those drawings children make when they outline their hands in pencil. And don't act like you don't enjoy those drawings because we've all seen enough refrigerator art in our lifetimes to know you do.
Luckily, if you live in the greater Los Angeles area, you don't have to eat turkey as an array of restaurants are serving vegan meals that will both fool your dad into thinking he's eating “real” pumpkin pie and make you lose a beltloop. Some are open Thanksgiving, some are hosting events earlier and others are selling prepared meals, but whatever you choose, you'll sleep well that night partially because you ate too much and partially because you'll know you made the right decision trading dead bird for lentil loaf.
The Gentle Barn: Rather than eat turkeys, diners at The Gentle Barn's Thanksgiving event can feed the rescued birds while enjoying a vegan meal presented by faux meat company Gardein. The gathering — taking place between 4-9 p.m. — also includes a bonfire, Native American drum circle and something called a “swag bag” filled with stuff from 52 sponsors such as Dr. Bronner's, Earth Balance and Hint Water. $150 adult, $75 child and reservations are recommended. 15825 Sierra Highway, Santa Clarita; (661) 252-2440; to make a reservation, click here.
Sage: Is everyone in your family vegan? And, if so, do they all suck at cooking? If the answer is yes to both, perhaps a visit to Sage is in order as a plethora of vegan items are available in bulk such as half-trays of macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, kale salad and cranberry apple stuffing. The eatery is also serving tamales, flautas, peach cobbler, pumpkin pie and a dozen cookies, but it's the family meals for four that remind you how much better food tastes when someone else prepares it. 1700 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles; (213) 989-1718; for more information, click here.
SunCafe: SunCafe is open regular hours, but Thanksgiving service doesn't begin until 5 p.m., when two prix fixe menu options
Crossroads: Does a four-course vegan meal comprised of cream of celery and parsnip soup, arugula salad, rosemary and hazelnut scaloppini, mashed potatoes stuffing, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato biscuits and apple cobbler or pumpkin mousse verrine sound like the way you want to spend Thanksgiving? If so, contact Crossroads soon as chef Tal Ronnen says only a few timeslots remain for his Thanksgiving feast, which takes place noon-5 p.m. $80 per person. 8284 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; (323) 782-9245; for more information, click here.
Real Food Daily: Butternut squash bisque, faux turkey breast, corn sage stuffing and cranberry relish are just a few of the items available as part of Real Food Daily's Thanksgiving meal. Desserts such as deep dish pumpkin pie, deep dish pecan pie, pumpkin tofu cheesecake and pumpkin bundt cake are also available. All orders must be placed by noon Tuesday and will be available between 2-9 p.m. Wednesday. $45 per person. Numerous locations; for more information, click here.
The Springs: LA's vegan eatery/yoga studio is open from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and hosts two donation-based yoga classes (with proceeds benefiting Farm Sanctuary) while serving food items such as herbed mushrooms, pecan stuffing, truffle mash, maple-miso Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard and cranberry sauce. Organic, raw vegan pumpkin pies are also available for pick-up now through Thursday. 608 Mateo St., Los Angeles; (213) 223-6226; www.thespringsla.com.
Doomie's: Diners can enjoy faux turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, fennel glazed carrots, yams, cranberry sauce stuffing, green bean casserole, a dinner roll and dessert between noon-7 p.m. Orders must be placed by Tuesday and are available for pick-up Wednesday and Thursday. $20. RSVP only for dine-in service. 1253 Vine St., Los Angeles; (323) 469-4897.
Native Foods: The Westwood and Culver City Native Foods locations are having a Thanksgiving menu from noon-7 p.m. Thursday featuring a native wellington (their website describes this as “an elegant puff-pastry filled with savory Native seitan, steamed kale and thinly sliced yams complete with Native stuffing made from whole wheat bread, a caramelized onion compote and rosemary and thyme herbed mushrooms”), mushroom shallot gravy, mashed potatoes, native stuffing, cranberry compote, green bean casserole, pumpkin cheesecake and a whole lot more. Or, for those who prefer to watch three football games, gain six pounds and laugh at grandma from the comforts of home, the native wellington, organic pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake are also available to-go. Locations vary. $24.95 adult, $14.95 children under 12; to make a reservation, click here.
Shojin: A wellington farmers market style meatloaf, wild vegetable appetizer and maitake mushroom soup with pink cloud are on the menu for Shojin's Thanksgiving celebration taking place noon-10 p.m. Thursday. All menu items are vegan, gluten-free, nut-free and soy-free. $35 adult, $19 children 10 and under. 333 S. Alameda St. #310, Los Angeles; (213) 617-0305; and 12406 Washington Blvd., Culver City; (310) 390-0033; to make a reservation, click here.
Mohawk Bend: Like age, days ain't nuthin' but a number (or something like that), which might explain why Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg are hosting a pre-Thanksgiving event Monday at Mohawk Bend. The gathering — which is part of the restaurants' Authors Worth Celebrating series — features a waldorf salad, corn and potato chowder with cornbread, a family-style serving of savory bread pudding, yams with marshmellows, wild rice stuffing, seitan wellington and vodka cranberry sauce. For dessert, there's peach and plum cobbler with vanilla ice cream. Howell and Eisenberg are co-authors of the book The Lusty Vegan, so if you're lucky, maybe cobbler and ice cream aren't the only dessert you'll have that evening. $35; 2141 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles; (213) 483-2337; to make a reservation, email email@example.com.
The Spot: There's nothing worse than surfing all Thanksgiving morning and going home with nothing to eat, which might explain why this year marks the 32nd time Hermosa Beach vegan/vegetarian eatery The Spot will serve a prepared meal. For $19.95, customers get baked organic tofu, homemade mashed potatoes, brown gravy, baked yams, delicately seasoned green beans, cornbread stuffing and fresh cranberry sauce. Orders will be ready for pick up after 4 p.m. Wednesday. $19.95; 110 2nd St., Hermosa Beach; (310) 376-2355.
Cafe Gratitude (Venice): Not all vegan Thanksgiving meals are created equally. Case in point — Cafe Gratitude's Venice location is serving butternut squash and sage lentil loaf, garlic mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, raw stuffing, persimmon and pomegranate salad, pumpkin pie and a seasonal spritzer for free. Repeat: Cafe Gratitude's Venice location is serving butternut squash and sage lentil loaf, garlic mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, raw stuffing, persimmon and pomegranate salad, pumpkin pie and a seasonal spritzer for free. Are there enough exclamation points to describe how awesome this is? Probably not, but let's try…!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Free between 11 a.m-3 p.m. or until the food runs out. 512 Rose Ave., Venice; (424) 231-8000.