Overheard on the restaurant scene, Thanksgiving edition

HotCakes is offering a full Thanksgiving menu this year, including seasonal treats like butternut squash gratin. Photo: Elli Williams HotCakes is offering a full Thanksgiving menu this year, including seasonal treats like butternut squash gratin. Photo: Elli Williams

Preparing your Thanksgiving meal doesn’t have to be a hassle. Whether you need pointers on roasting a turkey, you’re looking for the perfect pie to grab on the way to the in-laws’, or you’re leaning toward letting a restaurant do the cooking and cleaning this year, we’ve got you covered.

Homemade help 

Feeling ambitious about preparing a home-cooked holiday meal but aren’t sure where to start? Check out Relay Foods’ Facebook page for its “Create a local Thanksgiving” feature, which offers recipes for everything from simple mashed potatoes to cranberry fizz mocktails. The page also includes a pre-made shopping list for each item, which you can order directly through www.relayfoods.com.

For recipes and pointers on how to prepare a picture perfect bird and sides there’s also Whole Foods, which offers a myriad of menus and recipes at www.wholefoodsmarket.com/blog. An online calculator will help you figure out exactly how much you’ll need of each dish depending on the number of people you’re hosting, and the blog offers tips on how to dress up store-bought items like ready-made pies and rolls. And if you’re new to this, peruse Turkey 101, a guide on buying, brining, cooking, carving, and serving your bird.

Ditch the dishes 

Choose between a main course of rib roast, turkey breast, pan-roasted salmon, or stuffed acorn squash at Maya this year. For $45 per person (kids’ pricing available), you get a three-course meal and the knowledge that you won’t have to clean up the kitchen. Reservations are required, so contact maya.cville.restaurant@gmail.com or 979-6292.

For a classic Thanksgiving meal of roasted turkey, apricot chestnut stuffing, sweet potato mousse, snow peas, and assorted pies, head to The Bavarian Chef. Both the Madison and Fredericksburg branches are open 11:30am-6pm. Check out the menu at www.thebavarianchef.com/blog.html.

Can’t get enough bird and potatoes? A trip to Ruckersville is worth it for the all-you-can-eat Thanksgiving buffet at Blue Ridge Cafe. For $27.95 (kids’ prices available) you get to load up your plate with turkey, ham, fried oysters, shrimp, beef tips with gravy, vegetables, salads, and a whole slew of desserts including coconut pie, brownies, trifle, and pecan pie. Call 985-3633 for reservations, and check out www.blueridgecafe.com/thanksgiving for a 10 percent off coupon. Doors open at noon.

Treat yourself to take-out 

The Barbeque Exchange in Gordonsville is serving up a five-course to-go meal for $26 a person that includes corn chowder, salad, hickory smoked turkey, sugar-cured ham, four sides, sweet potato biscuits, and two classic types of pie for dessert. Each item is also available a la carte, and a whole turkey or ham is $100. To order, call 540-832-0227 or e-mail events@bbqex.com before 1pm on Sunday, November 24. For a full menu check out www.bbqex.com.

Put your guests in a food coma with freshly prepared desserts like caramel apple cake, apple cranberry pie, and pumpkin cheesecake from HotCakes. Or pick up a variety of starters and sides like curried pumpkin soup, roasted chestnut soup, or pumpkin hummus. See a full menu at www.hotcakes.biz, and call your orders in at 295-6037 by 5pm on Monday, November 25. And don’t forget to swing by on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving for some potato latkes to celebrate Hanukkah.

For something a little different, check out Anderson Carriage Food House for entrees like standing rib roast, beef tenderloin, lamb, duck, or rabbit. The seafood and butchery shop is also offering entire Thanksgiving dinners for as little as $110, complete with turkey or ham and all the fixings like cranberry relish, dressing, macaroni and cheese, and sweet potato casserole.

Bird benefit

The average cost of a Thanksgiving turkey is around $15 this year, and the Young Black Professional Network of Charlottesville is hosting its first “Feed a family” turkey giveaway. On Sunday, November 24, the group will meet at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center and provide uncooked turkeys to the first 100 families who register. The event begins at 4pm, and for more information about donating or volunteering, call Wes Bellamy at 327-7873.