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Gobble, Gobble: Make Your Thanksgiving Plans Now

November 10, 2020 – Feel like making this year’s feast of gratitude a bit more festive? Local bakeries, caterers and restaurants have options for takeout that will make sitting outdoors in your much-appreciated backyard even more worthwhile. And some have dine-in—err, out—options available, too. We have a wealth of choices. It’s complicated. Perhaps this list will make you drool just enough to pick up the phone and figure it out. And don’t forget to share your thankfulness with those who don’t have these options. 

Aubergine in Carmel offers a patio prix-fixe Thanksgiving feast, with your choice of slow-roasted Pennsylvanian Dutch country turkey, wild Dover sole from Hollandor28-day dry-aged rib-eye, plus assorted sides and pumpkin pie with cinnamon gelato for dessert. Seatings from 2—8pm, at $250 per person, plus 20% service and 9.25% sales tax. Reserve at 831.624.8578. 

You can also take home a fully prepared Pennsylvania Dutch country turkey meal, with an orange and juniper-brined turkey, plus all the traditional sides, for $295, which feeds 4—6 people, or for $395, which feeds 7 to 10.  A la carte ordering for turkeys and sides is also available. See website: http://www.auberginecarmel.com

All orders must be placed by Monday, November 23, 2020 before noon. Pick up Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2020  between 9—1pm only. Don’t wait to reserve. Aubergine is at Monte Verde at Seventh, Carmel-by-the-Sea. 

Basil will be offering family-style Thanksgiving meals to go in half trays that contain 10—12 servings. Options include meat or vegetarian lasagna, veal or vegetarian cannelloni, short ribs and lamb meat balls, for $85/tray, or lamb ossobuco with saffron risotto and scamorza for $95. Don’t pass up Italian tiramisu for $65, Italian holidays cake (pandoro) for $25 or garlic bread for $10. Free bottle of Prosecco with each order of $160, and 25% off many bottles of wines to go. Call in for details, 831.626.8226 or email info@basilcarmel.com. Pre-order by November 23. Basil will not be open for dining on Thanksgiving Day.

Cantinetta Luca has a pre-cooked dinner to go that feeds 8 for $305, which does not include tax and service fees, but does include a pasture-raised Diestel, 14—16 lbs, “3 ways” turkey: roasted breast, confit thighs, and smoked turkey leg. This is accompanied by giblet gravy and lots of sides including a tricolore salad with butternut squash and chicories, Italian sausage stuffing, twice-roasted smashed potatoes, wood-oven roasted Brussels sprouts, pancetta, preserved lemon, and anchovies, Parker rolls and a Fairytale pumpkin tart for dessert. Items are available a la carte, and both a prime rib roast is available to add on or substitute for turkey. All orders must be placed online by Monday, November 23, 2020 by 5pm.  Pick up is Thanksgiving Day, Nov 26, 2020 between 12—3pm only. 

Located in the heart of the village on Ocean Avenue, Café Carmel is now taking Thanksgiving orders for pies, breads, cookies and cheesecakes. Sarah Cook offers pumpkin, apple and pecan pie in 9- and 5-inch sizes, along with cheesecake, pumpkin bread, orange and cranberry bread and holiday cookies. All orders must be placed by Friday, Nov. 20. Call Sarah at 831.624.3870 to order. Café Carmel is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and coffee outdoors or to go, every day from 7am until 7pm, and is on the north side of Ocean Avenue between Mission and San Carlos Streets. 

Carmel Valley Ranch has several packages to tempt, including socially distanced outdoor family style dining on Thanksgiving Day at Valley Kitchen, which can also be delivered to your room. Call 831.626.2599 to reserve. Or you can get your Thanksgiving feast to go for pick-up on November 26. Complete meal, $275 for 4—6 people; $495 for 7—14 people (additional taxes apply). Call 831.620.6477 to order.

There’s also a complimentary Holiday Burn-Off Hike to Snively’s Ridge at Carmel Valley Ranch on Friday, November 27, with breathtaking views of the Carmel Valley.

Two of the Coastal Roots Hospitality family of restaurants — Tarpy’s Roadhouse and Rio Grill — will be offering Thanksgiving Feasts to-go, perfect for five to 10 people. To-go feasts include everything from turkey, soup and salad to vegetables, stuffing, bread and dessert.  Schedule your ready to heat and eat meal by Sunday, Nov. 22, and pick up Monday, Nov. 23—Wednesday, Nov. 25, between 11:30am and 5:00pm. Orders must be made by Sunday, Nov. 22.

Tarpy’s has two feasts available, both of which include 18-hour brined and herb roasted whole turkeys, with a variety of traditional sides: $150 serves up to five people, and $295 serves up to 10 people. Both offer dessert choices of spiced pumpkin cheesecake or Granny Smith apple crisp. Rio Grill offers a $295 feast, featuring an herb and brandy smoked turkey breast, accompanied by tasty sides like butter lettuce and arugula salad with pears and goat cheese, green Hatch chile cornbread stuffing and cranberry-tomato chutney. Rio Grill offers a choice of pumpkin cheesecake with ginger butterscotch, candied ginger, raspberry coulis or olallieberry pie with raspberry coulis. Whole pies and cheesecakes are also available a la carte from both restaurants. To order from Rio Grill, call 831.625.5436 or visit riogrill.com. To order from Tarpy’s Roadhouse, call 831.647.1444, or visit tarpys.com

If you’ve already got your turkey, reduce the frazzle by ordering organic sides and desserts from Earthbound Farm Stand. The a la carte sides menu features sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, apple-walnut stuffing, coriander maple glazed carrots to name a few. Desserts include organic pumpkin, pecan and apple pies for $25 each. Call 831.625.6219 or stop by the farm stand to order. Last day to place orders is Sunday, November 22 and pick up days are Tuesday and Wednesday, November 24 and 25. 

Jeninni Kitchen + Wine Bar is offering a prepared torchon of boneless non-GMO, free-range Mary’s turkey with accompaniments like carrots with harissa honey, cranberry sauce, gravy, sourdough stuffing, brown butter mashed potatoes and rolls, for $295, feeds 8. Order a rye, pear and almond galette for $32. Preorder by November 21 for pickup at Jeninni Kitchen at 542 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, on November 25, between 10am and 2pm. Call 831.920.2662 to order. 

The Meatery in Seaside has your ready to cook brined Diestel turkeys, plus ready to eat hams and a variety of to-go meals, like cooked and sliced turkey or ham, plus an assortment of sides, for $40 per person. Pre-order dry-aged beef, lamb, bison, venison or A5 Japanese Wagyu ribeye or New York steaks, too. Check out their website at https://themeatery.us/ Call 831.656.8810 to order. Uncooked hams and turkeys must be ordered by November 11; pre-cooked meals must be ordered by November 18. Pick up at The Meatery on Wednesday, November 25, between noon and 5:30pm. 

Thanksgiving to go from New Leaf Market

New Leaf Community Market has an expanded Thanksgiving reservation site where you can pre-pay for orders and arrange for pick-up at outdoor stations. Expanded holiday items can be ordered via its Instacart curbside pickup and contactless delivery services. Through Instacart, Neighbor Rewards members can input their phone number on their orders to easily claim rewards. Members can also choose to donate their rewards to a local non-profit in their community thanks to the program’s Gift It! feature.

Throughout November, for every 10 pounds of Smart Chicken poultry purchased at any New Leaf store, one pound will be donated by New Leaf and Smart Chicken to Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County and Second Harvest of Silicon Valley.

At Old Fisherman’s Grotto, Chef Juan offers a family-style dinner available to go on Thanksgiving Day, featuring butter roasted carved fresh Tom turkey, whipped Yukon gold potatoes, seasoned giblet gravy, candied yams with marshmallows, fresh organic vegetables, stuffing made with dried fruits, nuts, herbs and sourdough bread, homemade cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie with caramel sauce, fresh berries and whipped cream. The cost is $120 for 4 people, $180 for 6 people and $240 for 8 people. Please preorder by Monday, November 23rd by calling 831.375.4604. Pickup and curbside service available on Thanksgiving Day from 11am—9pm at 39 Old Fisherman’s Wharf.

Paicines Ranch invites you to order their free-range, regeneratively-raised turkeys now: available in whole or half birds, breasts, and all those favorite parts, like livers, hearts, necks and gizzards. Email meat@paicinesranch.com or call 831.628.0288.

Stuffed mini-pumpkins and heirloom carrots with purple yams, miso citrus glaze and walnut pesto from Pino Alto

Pino Alto, the restaurant run by culinary students from Cabrillo College in Aptos, is offering Thanksgiving Dinner to-go this year. “2020 has been hard enough, leave the stress to us,” they advise. They offer ready-to-roast turkey breasts, leg-thigh combos and whole cider-brined turkeys. Heat and serve sides developed and tested by the students include apple, sage, pecan bread for $12.95; wild rice, shitake, kale, herb and pecan stuffed mini-pumpkins for $10.95—which make a great vegan/GF option. Vegetable dishes, freshly baked rolls and desserts round out the menu. Orders must be placed by Wednesday, November 18 by phone at 831.479.6524 and can be picked up on Wednesday, November 25 or Thanksgiving morning. Full menu at: https://pinoalto.square.site/thanksgiving-pre-order

Quail Lodge is offering a Thanksgiving-To-Go feast from Edgar’s. Whole Turkey Dinner (Serves 6), includes 10—12lb Diestel organic turkey with sides of mashed potatoes and pan drippings gravy, cornbread stuffing, green beans, artisan loaf and cultured butter, cranberry sauce, roasted yams and Brussels sprouts, plus a whole pie dessert, for $195 + tax. Individual turkey dinners are available for $32 plus tax, and you can pile on additional sides, soup and dessert for an up charge. Whole pies are available for $65 plus tax. All orders must be placed by Monday, November 23, by 3pm, for pick-up on Thursday, November 26. Call 831.620.8860.

Sardine Factory offers outdoor dining in two large 20×40 tents, with carpet and chandelier lighting, where you can groove on a 4-course prix fixe for dine-in or takeout that includes butternut squash bisque and the full on traditional turkey dinner. On Thanksgiving Day, seatings are from 1—8pm, with reservations recommended. Price is $53.95 per person, $50.95 for seniors (65+), $25.00 for children (6-12 years old), children under 5 free. Price does not include gratuity or drinks. Reserve at  www.sardinefactory.com or call 831.373,3775. 

Secret Bakery is offering an assortment of breads, rolls, pastries and desserts for pick-up and delivery the day before Thanksgiving to make meal planning a little easier. Breads like olive and rosemary, artichoke and sun-dried tomato and sunflower fig sound mighty fine! Rolls like crusty cheddar jalapeno, whole wheat and pull-apart butter-rosemary are available by the dozen and half dozen, and 9-inch galettes can be had in salted caramel apple, pumpkin pecan praline and roast vegetable & goat cheese. Pastries can be had in boxes of four, with goodies like fig pinwheels, nutty monkey, pain au chocolat, morning buns and croissants. Stuffing mixes also. Please order by Saturday Nov 21, 4pm. Pick up or delivery on Wednesday, Nov 25, from 12—5pm. Pickup and delivery options (Min order of $25 for delivery) are listed on the website: https://www.secretbakeryshh.com/thanksgiving-order-online

Soif in Santa Cruz invites you to share a special Thanksgiving menu for takeaway, for $60 per person.  Starters include crab bisque or garden lettuce with chevre and walnuts, and of course, there’s Diestel turkey with artichoke and potato gratin and a stuffing made of La Posta levain and brioche, plus pumpkin tartlet or olive cake for dessert. Dinners may be reserved up to the 16th of November (while supplies last). To reserve your meal, please email alexis@soifwine.com. Ask about their fall wine pack specials, too. Curbside pickup at Soif will be available both Wednesday, November 25th and Thursday, November 26th. More information, including available pickup times will be made available on the website soon.

Stone Creek Kitchen would like to cook you up some roasted turkey breast or juicy turkey galantine, deboned and filled with a mélange of pork sausage, truffles, artisan breads, pistachios, cream and caramelized shallots, ready to slice, with their cognac gravy. Or maybe a truffle parmesan encrusted beef tenderloin is more to your liking. Love salmon? How about a side seasoned with citrus herb butter that you can finish in your own oven? Plus side-splitting sides like butternut squash ravioli in pumpkin seed dill pesto, wheat-free stuffing, crispy lemony green beans, plus salad kits and desserts, like Aunty K’s fruit cake with whiskey marmalade. Don’t say no, and don’t wait to call your order, at 831-393-1042, by November 18, at 4pm. Pick up by 4pm on Wednesday, 11/25. Stone Creek Kitchen is at 465 Canyon del Rey Blvd, Monterey. 

Wild Plum Café and Bakery is cooking free-range heritage turkeys for $80/10 pounds and offers Thanksgiving Dinner plates at $32 or full meals for large gathering of 10-12 people from $175, including turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy and traditional stuffing. Scrumptious desserts are also available including pumpkin pecan pie, pear-cranberry crunch pie, cranberry hand pies and more. See full menu and order online: https://wildplum.mobilebytes.com/menu

No matter what your plans are for Thanksgiving, remember to give thanks daily, be kind and tip well. 

About the author

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Laura Ness is a longtime wine journalist, columnist and judge who contributes regularly to Edible Monterey Bay, Spirited, WineOh.Tv, Los Gatos Magazine and Wine Industry Network, and a variety of consumer publications. Her passion is telling stories about the intriguing characters who inhabit the fascinating world of wine and food.