Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving Doesn't Mean You Have to Spend All Week in the Kitchen

As my parents live overseas, in Thanksgivings past I have been graciously hosted by families of some amazing friends, who were kind enough to take in a stray for the day.

  Last year was an 'anomaly' - my brother and his wife were in town during the holiday weekend so we ended up going to a splurgey brunch at L'Ermitage that was nothing short of transcendant. (Usually you would think big holidays are the worst time to eat out as chefs are on vacation too - so you get overpriced, subpar quality food - but not at L'Ermitage!) Since then I've been a fan of handing Thanksgiving to the pros. 

My friend 'Lindyhopper's family is taking me in again this year (love them!), but thought I'd share findings for some exciting looking Thanksgiving offerings around town for those who don't want to spend their holiday in the kitchen or travellers who don't just want to eat whatever is in their hotel. Organized by type of experience. These are all under $100 per person, and where there are deals/points to be had I have noted next to each.  Will be adding to this as more enticing menus post.

Modernist Thanksgiving:
The Bazaar by José Andrés
465 South La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048 Ph: 310.246.5555
Prix fixe menu for increments of four people at $65 per person. Includes choice of roasted organic turkey or New Zealand red snapper; all of the following sides: papas canarias, cranberry sauce, grandma's giblets stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes; and choice of dessert TBD. 

Sign up for free membership in SBE Preferred, show your card when you get your bill and the $ you spend on your meal will translate to points towards a gift card redeemable for hotel stays, meals etc. across SBE properties.

Tres by José Andrés
465 South La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048 Ph: 310.246.5551
Holiday Brunch buffet (12pm-9pm), $49pp - they are basically serving their regular brunch menu (which includes 63 degree eggs) but with a Thanksgiving twist; drinks not included. For reference, you can see their regular brunch menu here. Regular Lunch, Tea, and Dinner menus also available.

Sign up for free membership in SBE Preferred, show your card when you get your bill and the $ you spend on your meal will earn you points towards a gift card redeemable for hotel stays, meals etc. across SBE properties.

Duck, Duck, [tastier than, not a] Turkey:
Duck House
501 S. Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754 Ph: (626) 284-3227
Get out of your comfort zone for Thanksgiving - have Peking Duck instead of turkey.  Duck House serves a set menu at just $99 for two people (that's less than $50 each ;)) which is part of their regular menu, and includes Cold Jelly Fish Salad, Whole Abalone w/ Broccoli in Oyster sauce, Peking Duck, Fresh Crab Meats, Gourmet Bamboos and Konnyaku Strips Soup and Crispy Red Bean Cakes for dessert. YUM. They are only open for dinner on Nov. 24.

Vampires Beware:
The Stinking Rose
55 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211 Ph: 310.652.7673
Not for vampires (unless you're the 'new age' Twilight type): their $34.95pp prix fixe dinner is pretty much all about the garlic! The 3-course meal starts with a House Salad, then moves onto a 400 Clove Garlic Roasted Turkey with all the trimmings, and finishes with Pumpkin Pie Ala Mode.  Child's portion of the same menu is $19.95pp. Click for menu. Served all-day - regular menu also available.

Brunch Buffet (aka Get Stuffed the Gourmet Way):
Culina at Four Seasons Beverly Hills
300 South Doheny Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90048 Ph: 310.860.4000
Brunch buffet (Nov 24 11am-7pm) featuring omelette and waffle stations, eggs benedict, dim sum, sushi, wild mushroom risotto, farmers market fresh veggies, carving station with rosemary honey glazed turkey, and seasonal desserts. $95pp adults; $47pp kids 5-12; free for kids under 4 . Click for menu

Ocean and Vine at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel
1700 Ocean Avenue Santa Monica, CA 90401-3233 Ph: 310.576.3180
Champagne Brunch Buffet (Nov 24 11am-4pm) $74/adult, $37/kid Click for menu (looks like a huge and delicious menu including sushi & raw bar, eggs benedict & waffle stations, carving station and long list of desserts)

The Restaurant at L'Ermitage
9291 Burton Way Beverly Hills, CA 90210 Ph: 310.278.3344
Brunch buffet $75pp featuring favorite Thanksgiving dishes.  Add $20 for bottomless bellinis and mimosas! Click for menu (unfortunately this year's menu does not look as spectacular as last year - this year there is no caviar or raw bar station beyond shrimp cocktail)

Patina at Descanso Gardens
1418 Descanso Drive La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011 Ph: 818.949.4200
Brunch buffet $45pp members, $53pp non-members, $19pp kids 4-12, under 3 years old free (seatings at noon at 2pm) - enjoy fine dining fare in the beautiful Descanso Gardens (price of meal includes admission to gardens, which is normally $8 for adult non-members, $6 for seniors/students, $3 for kids 5-12)
Michelin Caliber:
1104 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401 Ph: 310.395.0881
Celebrate Thanksgiving in style at two-Michelin-starred Melisse - with 3-course dinner (Nov 24 3-7:30pm) prix fixe $89pp adults; $42 kids 8 and younger. Click for menu (you can choose one item for each course, from fairly big list - including mouth-watering items like Seared Foie Gras, Banyuls Poached Figs and Ginger Spice, or Maine Diver Scallop, Artichokes, Hibiscus Reduction, Green Apple and Radish or Crispy Eastern Bass with Roasted Fall Squash, Confit Tomatoes, Champagne-Truffle Reduction.  You also get choice of 3 traditional Thanksgiving sides).  High-rollers can also add $48 to get Maine Lobster Ravioli with Shaved White Truffle for your first course (which would put you over the $100 per person budget, FYI).

Top Chef Style:
Craft Los Angeles
10100 Constellation Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90067 Ph: 310.279.4180
Love Craft, they are the epitome of hospitality done right.  Always reliable for impeccable service and generous offerings on their menus.  3-course prix fixe (Nov 24 2pm-8pm) includes 3 items for the table to share in the first course, which features grass-fed beef tongue (!!!) brook trout and chicory salad, choice of 2nd course between 4 options that include diver scallops, and delicious sounding sides, and 4 desserts for the table to share. $85pp adults; $45pp kids under 12. Click for menu

Tapas Style:
1717 Vine St., Los Angeles, CA 90028   Ph: 323.962.1711
Cleopatra's Feast: Cleo favorites + Thanksgiving classics served family-style. $65pp adults, includes cocktail; $32pp kids 5-12; kids under 5 free. (Seatings at 1, 3, 5, and 7pm). Sign up for free membership in SBE Preferred, show your card when you get your bill and the $ you spend on your meal will earn you points towards a gift card redeemable for hotel stays, meals etc. across SBE properties.

Wine Driven:
2311 Cotner Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90064-1803 Ph: 310.231.0316
4-course prix fixe (Nov 24 2pm - 7pm), take your pick between 4-5 items available for each course. $42pp adults, $25pp kids 12 & under. Add wine Package: 3 full glasses for $20 Click for menu (2nd course choices include bone-in veal short rib, and dessert choices include sticky toffee pudding and grand marnier flourless chocolate cake!)

Relaxing by the Sea:
Cafe Del Rey
4451 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292  Ph: 310.823.6395
3-course prix-fixe (Nov 24 1-8pm) "Favorites with a twist" include Butternut Squash Agnolotti, Free-Range Turkey with duck sausage stuffing, sweet Potato Cheesecake  $55pp Adults $18pp Kids

One Pico at Shutters on the Beach
One Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405  Ph: 310.458.0030
3-course prix fixe - choose from five starters, five entrees and three desserts (Nov 24 11am – 8pm) $75pp. Click for menu (savory choices include black cod, salmon, filet mignon, as well as the requisite turkey).

Classics - Farm to Table:
624 South La Brea Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90036 Ph: 323.938.1447
Traditional Thanksgiving meal $65pp with rosemary braised turkey, mashed potatoes & gravy, cranberry sauce, and all the trimings

11648 West San Vicente Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90049-5104 Ph: 310.806.6464
3-course prix fixe dinner (Nov 24 1pm-8pm) $65pp adults; $35pp kids 12& under Click for menu (highlights: persimmon and pomegranate salad, herb-roasted organic turkey breast and stuffed leg with mashed potato and gravy served with sides that make my mouth water just as words on the site: chestnut stuffing with prunes and cavolo, sweet potatoes with sherry and roasted shallots, brussels sprouts with pancetta and thyme, cranberry sauce with orange and mint)

Cafe Pinot
700 W Fifth St., Los Angeles, CA 90071 Ph: 213.239.6500
3-course prix fixe, $55 pp - choose one item for each course from among 5 starters, 4 entrees and 3 desserts. All served in lovely indoor/outdoor setting (love the patio!) Menu highlights: roasted chestnut soup with egg nog emulsion and brussel sprout petals, scallop crudo with celery confit, filet mignon, striped bass and pumpkin cake with hazelnut and butternut squash sauce. Click for menu


Reminder: make your reservations through OpenTable, and you can earn points towards an OpenTable gift certificate when you check in at the restaurant, depending on your selected venue, date and time. 

Double/tripping dipping:  Use a credit card that you've linked with an airline frequent flyer miles program, and you could stack the points between OpenTable, mileage from your card, and SBE Preferred (for SBE restaurants)!

*Those who want restaurant fare at home - Susan Feniger's STREET has take out menu including Tandoori turkey breast, braised brisket or jackfruit with an eclectic list of mouth-watering sides like Pandan and Coconut Creamed Corn or Moroccan Spiced Winter Squash Soup, or Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing.  Tandoori dishes run $15-$20 per person, and side dishes come in packs: 3 for $40, 5 for $55, and 7 for $65 (all sides serve 4 people).  Order at least 3 days in advance - last day for pickup is Nov 23rd. See menu via link above for details.

Upstairs 2 offers Thanksgiving To Go package deal - dinner for 10 people for $189 plus tax, with wine packages available for additional $12.99-$76.08.  Order in advance for pickup on Wed. Nov. 23 3pm-9pm or Thu, Nov. 24 11am-4pm. See site for details.

Campanile offers a la carte To Go albeit at a hefty price (e.g. 20lb turkey, 15 servings, is $200, spiced pumpkin tart $42 for 12 servings) available for pickup Nov 24 10am-noon.

Suzanne Goin's Tavern also offers a To Go menu - offering 'complete dinner for 8' for $399, or a la carte options (see menu for details - deadline for orders Nov 20th 5pm, pickup Nov 23 between 9am-7pm).

Patina Group has a feast for 6 to go for 'just' $150 that includes a 14lb turkey, all trimmings, 3 sides and 1 pie (apple, pumpkin or pecan).  Not bad of a deal from a fine dining restaurant - works out to $25 a person!  You can also buy trimmings, sides and pie a la carte (pies are 'only' $16!) (Deadline for orders Nov. 22, pickup Wed Nov 23 8am-2pm or Thurs Nov 24 8am-noon)


Got a cool find that you don't see here?  Let me know in comments below! :)

*Disclaimer:  I have not dined at all of the above places, nor personally tried their Thanksgiving menu.

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