Now Playing

Let’s Talk Turkey

We’re just going to say it: Between the relatives and the cooking, right about now we’re starting to feel just a little bit panicky as planning for next week’s Thanksgiving kicks into high gear. But we’ve got some out-of-the-box ideas to transform our national day of gluttony into a low-stress feast. Will we share? Of course we’ll share! It’s all about giving, right?

1. We’ll make a wager that the top-ranked Thanksgiving fear has something to do with pie dough. But say it with us, people: A frozen pie is not an option. What is? Picking up a gorgeous, flaky-crusted showstopper from one of our favorite S.D. bakers. Hit up Michele Coulon (dessertier.com) in La Jolla for her sticky-sweet bourbon pecan or spicy organic pumpkin. In Pacific Beach, Sugar & Scribe Bakery (sugarandscribe.com) is baking up an apple-cranberry-spiced chutney pie. We like the coconut cream at Del Mar’s Elizabethan Desserts (elizabethandesserts.com), or a classic apple from Twiggs (twiggs.org) in Normal Heights. And even Fashion Valley’s True Food Kitchen (foxrc.com) is getting in on the holiday action, taking orders for their vegan dairy-free butternut squash pie. Whipped cream? Now that you can handle on your own.

2. And here’s another classic dilemma—You want: Gorgeous tabletops set with quirky, glittering glassware that’s swoon-worthy. But you have: mismatched stemware for twelve. Maybe. Enter Farra Miron, the Hostess Haven (hostesshaven.com). A collector with a keen eye for vintage treasures, Ms. Miron scours tag and estate sales, unearthing the types of dramatic, one-of-a-kind pieces (we love the golden goblets and va-va-voom mid-century rocks glasses) that will set your table apart. And it’s all available for rent. Hallelujah!

3. We’re not 100 percent sure if this idea is inspired or flat-out crazy, but how about this for an unconventional spin on T-day’s big bad bird. During November, Slater’s 50/50 (slaters5050.com) has been serving up an old favorite from their original menu: a fresh turkey patty topped with housemade brioche dressing, turkey gravy, scratch-made cranberry sauce and sage mayo on a honey wheat bun. Huh? So? Picture it: your guests sit down, they put their napkins on their laps and you come forth from the kitchen bearing—these beauties ordered as take-away. Does a riot ensue? A riot of good flavor, we’re thinking! (Editor’s Note: Please do not actually try this on Thanksgiving. Before? Sure. After? Definitely. Day of? Disaster.)

4. Cooking not your thing? Who are we to judge? There is actually something incredibly liberating about a restaurant Thanksgiving Dinner. No shopping, no chopping, no cooking, no clean up—what’s not to like? Get all dressed up and hit The Westgate Hotel (westgatehotel.com) for Le Fontainebleau Room’s lavish Thanksgiving buffet, or head to Rancho Bernardo Inn (ranchobernardoinn.com) for five buffet stations in the Aragon Ballroom. At The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe (theinnatrsf.com), chef Todd Allison has a three-course tasting menu, while at The Marine Room (marineroom.com), there are five main courses to choose from alone (several of which are not turkey!). There are multiple seatings for T-Day at Bertrand at Mister A’s (bertrandatmisteras.com), where the prix fixe menu will feature organic Diestel turkey, butternut squash risotto and a pumpkin bread pudding with toffee pecan sauce. And at Mille Fleurs (millefleurs.com), chef Martin Woesle’s menu includes musqué de Provence pumpkin soup and a pecan-pumpkin cake in addition to classic roasted turkey. But for originality we’ll tip our hats to the old-school Bali Hai (balihairestaurant.com) on Shelter Island. The turkey at that tiki icon? Kalua braised and served with macadamia nut and Chinese sausage stuffing.

5. And our final tip for a stress-free holiday? It’s simply this: Count your blessings and remember, it’s better to give than to receive. The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank (sandiegofoodbank.org) is a bastion against hunger in San Diego, where 1 in 4 children and 1 in 5 adults struggles with food scarcity. This year in particular, valuable Food Bank resources have been stretched thin. On Thanksgiving morning, the Run For the Hungry 5K/10K (unitedrunforthehungry.org) will wind through the streets of the Gaslamp and East Village, with funds raised benefiting the Food Bank’s and Jewish Family Service’s food assistance programs. Lace up those shoes and hit the pavement. We’ll see you there!