Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Here’s where to eat out on Thanksgiving.

Some of us love cooking up an elaborate Thanksgiving meal. But if the thought of that much cooking makes you want to bury your head in a bowl of mashed potatoes, fear not. Fresno restaurants are here to rescue you. Several are open on Thanksgiving offering both a traditional Thanksgiving meal and other options. Several others are selling take-home meals. And of course, many ethnic restaurants stay open on the holiday. This is not a comprehensive list, so be sure to call your favorite restaurant to see if it is open, and don’t forget to make a reservation!

Manhattan Steakhouse & Bar will serve a four-course Thanksgiving meal from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Menu here.

Peeve’s Public House is hosting a Rejects and Outcasts Thanksgiving dinner from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and a party with a DJ starting at 9 p.m.

The School House Restaurant & Tavern in Sanger is serving a  a two-course meal for $34 and a three-course meal for $42 between 2-7 p.m. Menu here.

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Thanksgiving: Where to eat when you don’t want to cook


Photo: Fresno Bee photographer John Walker

If the thought of cooking fills you with dread — or you just don’t want to do all those dishes — local businesses have plenty of options for you. Many grocery stores and restaurants are selling premade Thanksgiving meals that you reheat at home. Read more about that here. Many local restaurants are open on Thanksgiving Day too. This is a popular day, so if you plan on going, you must have a reservation.

The Manhattan Steakhouse & Bar will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. They’ll be serving turkey, of course, but if you’re not a fan of the traditional Thanksgiving main dish, you can pick from filet Mignon, pistachio-crusted halibut, tender rosemary lamb rib-eye, grilled swordfish and prime rib. Prices range from $29 to $39, depending upon the dish. Each meal comes with Thanksgiving favorites, such as candied sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, dressing and green beans. You can see the whole menu here.

Plenty of other restaurants are open Thursday too, including the School House Restaurant & Tavern, the Elbow Room, Erna’s Elderberry House, several restaurants in and near Yosemite Nation Park, Mimi’s Cafe and Marie Callender’s. You can read about what they’re doing here.

The great Black Friday debate: Will you shop on Thanksgiving Day?

Black Friday

Photo: Ross Taylor, Associated Press

The Black Friday shopping craziness is coming. In fact, it should be called Black Thursday this year because most of the big stores are opening on Thanksgiving Day. Fashion Fair mall and many department stores will open at 8 p.m. Thursday, for instance. Craft store Michaels will open at 4 p.m.  Will you be there?

With Black Friday encroaching on the time usually reserved for turkey and pumpkin pie, the debate over early openings has reached a fever pitch this year. On one side, there’s the multiple generations of families in town for the holidays who have made a tradition of going shopping for great deals and spending quality time waiting in line together. In the other corner are the people vowing not to shop. They believe retail workers should have one holiday to stay home with their families, and abhor the expression of consumerism and greed.

Where do you stand?

Below are opening times for major stores (and for the record, Costco, Sur La Table and RadioShack deliberately are not opening on Thanksgiving Day).

Opening times on Thanksgiving Day:

6 a.m. Kmart (Kmart has opened at 6 a.m. in the past, but this year it won’t close during the middle of the day. It will stay open for 41 hours through Friday.)

4 p.m. Michaels

5 p.m. Toys “R” Us

6 p.m. Best Buy

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Fres-Know: Our turkey is stuffed with hyperlinks

WATCH THIS: Season 2 premiere of foodie web show “What’s Good Fresno?” [YouTube]

THIS AGAIN: Mayor fighting to outsource trash disposal. [The Bee]

FROM THE BLOGROLL: Making your store-bought turkey feel inadequate. [TasteFresno]

GOOD READ: Find handmade local gifts this holiday season. [The Bee]

WELCOME TO THE INTERNET: A new Fresno podcast about craft beer. [Perfect Pour]

LISTEN TO THIS: New “Flowing with Famous” podcast. [Fresno Famous]

UPCOMING: Zoo Lights begins this weekend at Chaffee Zoo. [The Bee]

YELP REVIEW OF THE WEEK: “It’s great, but … ” [Yelp]

SPORTS: Fresno State’s Phillip Thomas finalist for national award. [The Bee]

WATCH THIS: Must-watch high-school football video. [Sports Buzz]

TWEET OF THE WEEK: Well played, Visalia Fox Theatre. [Twitter]

KICKSTART: Organic Fresno Market. [Kickstarter]

Tonight: The biggest bar night of the year

Thanksgiving Eve is known as the biggest bar night of the year. It’s part high-school reunion, part pre-family-gathering numbing, part nothing-to-do-tomorrow-so-let’s-go-crazy and part plain ol’ hype. Whatever the reason, there are a lot of options if you’re looking for something to do tonight. Peruse the fliers below to see.

Just do us one favor. Since you might be hanging out with some ex-Fresnans in town to see their kin, try to show them a good time. Let them leave town with a good taste in their mouth.

Bill Shatner wants you to have a safe Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is coming and that means… comical videos from William Shatner? If you’ve got a few minutes to waste before 5 p.m. rolls around, check out this “Eat, Fry, Love: A Cautionary Remix” video about turkey-frying safety. It’s a remix of a 2011 video created by State Farm that helped “save the world from exploding turkeys.”

Don’t be a turkey! Give a turkey.

If you watch the Today Show like I do most mornings, you probably noticed today that KSEE 24 is doing a turkey drive today with Catholic Charities to help those in need have a happy Thanksgiving.

KSEE will collect turkeys until 7:30 p.m. All you have to do is drive up to the KSEE parking lot on McKinley Avenue and they’ll collect your turkey donation. As of 8:30 a.m., the last update I saw before heading to work, KSEE had collected 140 turkeys.

Dining out for Thanksgiving?

Every year, I get requests for places to eat dinner on Thanksgiving Day. Most folks know about chains such as Mimi’s Cafe and Marie Callender’s, but it’s harder to identify other restaurants that will stay open.

Today’s column lists nine local spots with Turkey Day meals. Some of them have full menus available below:

If you know of other restaurants open for the holiday, please add them to the comments.

Give thanks for your family

With all the jokes about family drama during the holidays, it’s useful to remember why we break bread together.

Here’s a video that really brings home the meaning of family — and makes me tear up. It’s from acclaimed Malaysian director Yasmin Ahmad, who died in July at the age of 51.

Sorry about the video quality; it’s the only one I could find with an English translation:

To do tonight: Drink wine


A few weeks ago, I told you about Old Doc’s class in pairing wines with Thanksgiving dinner. Here’s a reminder that the tasting takes place 7 p.m. tonight at the Cedar and Nees store. Call (559) 224-3627 to reserve a spot.

Also, there is a tasting of Fresno State Winery’s 2009 Nouveau wines from 5:30 to 8 p.m. tonight. The tasting includes the wines, hors d’oeuvres and a cooking demonstration by Fredrick Clabaugh, executive chef of the Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite.

These Nouveau wines are created in the style of Beaujolais Nouveau, the extremely young French wines released every year on the third Thursday of November. Drink them soon, for these wines are closer to juice than the complex, layered flavors of older wines.

The tasting costs $15. (Fresno State students and alumni pay $10. Fresno State Wine Club members pay $5.) It will take place in Fresno State’s Enology Building, 2360 E. Barstow Ave. Guests must be at least 21 years old.

Parking permits are available at any parking dispenser on campus. Enter coupon code 16080002. For more information, call (559) 278-4867 or go here.

Tips for knife safety

Our little discussion about knife skills reminded me of the videos we did with Wendy Carroll, the private chef behind Seasoned to Taste.

If you’re cooking Thanksgiving dinner, now’s the time for a short course on handling knives. The following eight videos will list the essential knives for your kitchen, tell you about Epicurean cutting boards (love them!) and teach you how to care for your knives.

You’ll also see techniques for cutting onions, garlic, red peppers, carrots (into a julienne and a batonette), spinach (into a chiffonade), tomatoes and herbs.

These videos accompanied my story about knife skills. Enjoy!

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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.


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