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A take-out or dine-out Thanksgiving


UPDATE: As promised in this week’s food pages, here is the Valley’s ultimate guide for the lazy Thanksgiving dinner. These supermarkets, hotels, restaurants and delis allow you to dine out — or take out the entire meal.

Check out the story for the full list, then browse through the menus below. (I’ll add more of them as they become available.) And if you have more places to add, drop them in the comments.



Restaurants and Delis

ORIGINAL POST: Every year, some readers ask me about ways to outsource Thanksgiving dinner — either by dining at a restaurant or picking up a meal they can eat at home.

I know it sounds like heresy to home cooks, but when you’re in the thick of juggling pots on the stove and pans in the oven, dining out can seem like a good idea.

So, any of you do a take-out or dine-out Thanksgiving? Let us know your favorite restaurants. Or name the best markets to pick up The Big Meal.

[photo source: Tomas Ovalle/The Fresno Bee]

Responses to "A take-out or dine-out Thanksgiving"

Miguel Cervantes says:

Another great post, Joan. I’m all for big family meals, but as an old fellow, now and the kids all gone long away, Mom and me just aren’t enough to make much fuss over. You feel pretty silly with just the two of you staring over a whole day’s labor of food and then spending the rest of the day putting it away. I have found that the Picadilly Inn at the Airport has an incredible restaurant on holidays. The menu will be 4 entrees, or so, and all will be incredible, both in price and in flavor. The staff are professional–you can tell they enjoy serving a wonderful meal and are proud of all their holiday preparations. Why I don’t think you would find a better waiter or waitress in New York. The plates are overflowing. Last year I went for the ham plate and it was 5 stars. And on your way out, look at the wall of awards that a little known restaurant in an airport hotel has acquired. Hats off to the whole crew from the chef and kitchen personnel, to the waiters and waitresses, and the greeter. I’ve traveled the world but I’ve rarely found finer fare for the dollar. These folks take great pride and it shows.

Joyce says:

Good Morning Joan

What a story for the front page of the food section. Have you seen the lines at the various food banks and community food shares in the valley? It seems that in these economics times throughtout our valley, we do not need to know that Whole Foods sells a complete dinner for $99.99 for 8 people. Your article was like a big advertisement. Over the years Whole foods has not been a regular advertiser with the Fresno Bee, but today had a full page ad selling ground beef.
It would be great for you to help people celebrate Thanksgiving with tips on how to feed 8 people for under $25.00,slow down,share the cooking and start a family tradition for the holidays. Or are you suggesting that we check the places where we can pick up a “homemade dinner with the trimmings”, put it on the table and call it Thanksgiving? Would you do that for your family and friends this Thanksgiving?
I prefer to shop for my ingredients, bring them home for the anticipation of creating a delicious meal for my family, which I know they will love when we sit around the table and give thanks for being together. It may not look like the picture in the paper, but it will be homemade with lots of love.
Happy Thanksgiving

Joan Obra says:


Believe me, I understand what you mean. For about 20 years, I had the good fortune to take part in huge Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s parties with family and friends. These 50+ person potlucks always featured homemade dishes — and I spent many, many hours making lumpia (Filipino egg rolls), empanadas and other dishes for them.

The idea of dining out was so foreign to us, that for many years, I didn’t even know restaurants were open on Thanksgiving. Since everyone from kids to grandparents cooked for our parties, we didn’t think of buying a prepared turkey, side dishes or desserts.

Then I moved away from what we affectionately called “The Village” and became a reporter. Along the way, I discovered many folks who had many reasons to eat out or pick up take out:

**The woman who’d recently moved and couldn’t set up her kitchen in time to cook a big Thanksgiving meal. So she ordered one.

**The woman whose husband had recently died. She and her husband always cooked Thanksgiving meals together, and she couldn’t bear the thought of making a meal without him — or spending the holiday surrounded with relatives who would just look at her with pity. So she treated herself to a nice dinner at a restaurant. It was still a difficult holiday, but that restaurant made it easier.

**Andrew, one of my best friends from “The Village,” who moved to a different state. That first year away from home, no one invited him over for Thanksgiving, so he heated up a frozen turkey pot pie and ate it by himself, in his apartment. Years later, we joke about how pathetic that Thanksgiving was. A list like this would have helped him greatly.

**People who are terrible cooks and would rather buy a nice dessert or side dish to bring to a Thanksgiving dinner.

**Folks who travel.

I could go on, but let’s leave it at this: I get calls every year from people who need to outsource Thanksgiving for one reason or another. This story is for them.

Now, for avid cooks like you and I, there are still three weeks to go — and recipes to come — before The Big Meal.

As for a story about a low-cost Thanksgiving, check your e-mail. I wrote such a story a couple of years ago and just sent it to you.

Natali says:

A few years back we were one of those families who’d just moved and no one had the energy (or ability to organize the kitchen) in time to make the big meal, and we did order from Whole Foods and let me tell you, it was AMAZINGLY good. I was SO against it initially, I felt it was overpriced, and took away from the family feel of the holiday (I love the cooking and baking together part too) but since then, I have hosted Thanksgiving and found the cost of ingredients to be pretty close to what the Whole Foods meal had cost and as I said before, their food was delicious. Cooking has become my most favorite hobby, so I will be hosting Thanksgiving for the family again this year, and cooking myself, but if someone needs to order take out- I’d give THREE thumbs up for the Whole Foods options if I had a third hand ;-)

sarah says:

I have been invited over to a friend’s house for a “Thanksgiving” meal that turned out to be from Marie Calendars. I felt a little cheated when I found out they didn’t actually cook, but the food was actually pretty good, and almost would have passed for homemade. So you can add that to your list. However, we should all make an effort to inquire with our friends, co-workers and neighbors to make sure they have plans for Thanksgiving, and if they don’t, include them in your plans. After all, that is the true holiday spirit.

Beth says:

We aren’t able to make it to Fresno for Thanksgiving this year, so my father will be alone. I would love to order him a Thanksgiving dinner to enjoy in our absence. Does anyone know of a hotel or restaurant that delivers? Thanks.

Lanette says:

This year the boss is taking the entire staff out to lunch to thank us for all of the hard work we have done. I would love to know which restaurants in Fresno have reasonably priced Thanksgiving meals on their menu for office parties to dine in on? Thanks