Whether you regard the upcoming holiday season with anticipation or dread, there’s at least one thing that’s indisputably enjoyable about this time of year: the food. With Thanksgiving weekend nearly upon us, marking the official kick-off of a steady calendar of food-centric occasions, we’ve kept in mind the various temperaments and cravings associated with the holiday and assembled this short list of ways to gobble up the best of it.
Take the Day Off
Working all day in the kitchen on a holiday seems somewhat counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Why not expend your energy on what really matters – stuffing your face with the delicious final product in the company of good people – and leave the labour to the capable team at Railtown Catering. For $319 plus tax you can feed yourself and eight to ten others (or a smaller gathering, plus leftovers to assemble some high-brow turkey sandwich leftovers for the week). Their Thanksgiving spread includes a bunch of fixings delicious-sounding enough to make you blush (Wild Flower Honey- & Ginger-Infused Cranberry Sauce and Dried Apricot, Chestnut & Brioche Bread Stuffing!!!) You can find the full menu and details here (and a photo of the glorious spread at top).
A Day on the Farm
For the full-on Thanksgiving experience you have to head out North Arm Farm in Pemberton. There you can enjoy a day of fresh autumn air and culinary inspiration, meandering about their pumpkin patch and picking out your home cooked dinner ingredients from the gorgeous arrangement of fresh produce available at the Farm Stand. A wagon ride is basically guaranteed to thaw out a case of the Fall drearies and leave you feeling refreshed and ready to cook up a meal that honours the bounty and spirit of the season.
Don’t Have a Bird
You don’t need to exhaust yourself trying to bring some semblance of flavour to another meatless pseudo-turkey in order to have a proper vegan Thanksgiving dinner. Proof positive: The Acorn’s annual Everything But The Bird: A Vegan Thanksgiving Feast is back for its fifth year. The three course, family-style dinner is a showcase of the season’s bounty that’s satisfying and sans bird. Get more details here.
A Bird and a Bourbon
Are you a turkey dinner die-hard? If you can’t get enough of the stuff(ing) then take note that Whiskey Six BBQ will be serving up their special Turkey Dinner Platter in their signature H44 style a whole day early on Saturday (October 6th). You can count on the West Coast BBQ specialists to cook up one damn fine bird with an assortment of sides that include buttermilk biscuits, bread stuffing, smoked gravy, veg and potatoes. Bonus: the extensive list of brown liquors here is a no-brainer for keeping warm in temperature and temperament.
Start a New Tradition
Be a holiday hero by opting to bring some Hawaiian vibes to your table this year, a la pie from the Hanai Family Table. Just in time for Thanksgiving, Tess and Thomas are sharing one of their personal favourite desserts that’s sure to end the meal on a memorably sweet note. A nine-inch pie costs $28 and consists of a colourful layer of sweet ube (purple yam) topped with Haupia (a traditional Hawaiian pudding-like dessert made with coconut) set on a macadamia nut crust. Hurry over here to place your order before the deadline on Wednesday, October 3rd.
If turkey is your centrepiece then trust is key when sussing out your bird. Let Two Rivers Specialty Meats hook you up properly with a free range turkey from Skye Hi Farms in the beautiful Fraser Valley, to ensure that your feast is free of any unwanted additions like nasty hormones and antibiotics. Combined, the family farm and butchers have over three decades of experience providing ethically raised meats to tables across BC, so you know that you and your main course are in good hands. Order yours ASAP by giving Two Rivers a shout at 604-990-5288.
Table for One/TWO
If posting up by yourself or with a small party is your Thanksgiving M.O., you’re well covered. Take advantage of the special holiday-inspired menus being offered for the weekend. Treat yourself. The Thanksgiving turkey dinner menu at MARKET by Jean-Georges is pure poetry: the multi-course dinner includes Seared Scallop with Green Apple Black Truffle Crème Fraîche, Buttermilk Whipped Potato, Calvados Gravy and a Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream with Cinnamon Tuile. (See the full menu here.)
Boulevard is offering a three-course dinner on Sunday and Monday (October 7th and 8th) that goes above and beyond the standard Turkey Day repertoire, beginning with a butternut squash velouté and finishing with an apple tart for dessert. (More details here.)
Homer St. Cafe and Bar is offering rotisserie ‘turchetta’ (turkey-stuffed pork belly) with pumpkin seed salsa verde, cranberry gastrique and brown butter gravy as well as a variety of special sides (menu here).
Over in Coal Harbour, Tableau Bar Bistro will showcase a three-course meal with a French twist (anchored by Rossdown Farms turkey, swiss chard and confit leg stuffing, pomme aligot, Gruyere, wild mushroom brioche, seasonal vegetables, cranberry gastrique) with optional wine pairings.
Looking for an alternative to the usual North American Thanksgiving menu? Go rogue this year by taking cues from a food culture that’s rich with family-style dining tradition (and tummy-pleasing carbs) by hitting up Pazzo Chow and loading up on homemade Italian comfort foods instead. Their freezer is always full of a rotating selection of yummy pastas that will shave hours off of the typical Thanksgiving dinner prep, plus some of the city’s best ice cream to top it off. Yes, please!
Get Your Beer On
If beer is on the menu (isn’t it always?) then have a heyday and imbibe in a seasonal bottle or two. There’s a new pumpkin beer from Red Collar Brewing Co. in Kamloops that fits the bill; but you don’t need to go further than Main Street’s Brewery Creek liquor store to get your hands on this “Single Squash” Squash Gourdon. Alternately, Main Street Brewing’s Barking Mad plum porter is a full-bodied, sweet and middle-of the road (5%) sipper that’s also well paired with heavier foods, or as a nice night cap. If you’re of the mindset that a hearty meal calls for an equally strong brew then consider tracking down bottle of Four Winds’ Josta berry and cherry-loaded barrel-aged sour (6.5%) to compliment or supplement your dessert. (As an added bonus, this is one good-looking beer both in its bottle and in a glass.
Hit the Sweet Spot
Why leave your pie up to chance when you could leave it to the pros? From sweet traditional flavours, crumbles and streusels to savoury whole-meal meat pies, plus chutney, ice cream and homemade whip cream, The Pie Shoppe has everything you could possibly need. Bonus: they’ve even got vegan and gluten-free options, so no one needs to be left out of the pie game. Check out the menu and details here.
You can also get your dessert fix from Chef Lucy Kirby of Kitsilano’s Their There. For this week only, Kirby will be whipping up a small number of apple and pumpkin pies, available for pick up during the holiday weekend. (Place your orders on Their There’s website.) If you miss out, want to switch it up, (or just simply can’t resist), Kirby also recently debuted a few new fall treats including an Apple Caramel Croissant and a Pumpkin Spice Cronut that could also do the trick.