Alas, the holidays have snuck upon us. As the seasons change and palm trees remain the same, November has an uncanny tendency to hit us like a ton of turkeys. Suddenly, we’re whisked from our daily routines to plan the perfect Thanksgiving; and, just as abruptly, we begin to lose sight of what’s actually important: the company we keep and the mashed potatoes we heap.
While we all want to host an epic Turkey Day, it’s best to keep in mind that our greatest memories are made around the table — not while setting it. We’re keen on throwing a party that’s relaxed and simple, not overly sophisticated and stuffy (no reference to stuffing, here — we’ll take as much as we can get). With that being said, we’ve created your newest go-to guide for a quintessentially casual Los Angeles Thanksgiving.
No time to roast? No problem.
One of the greatest things about Thanksgiving is the free time to revel in the company of friends and family. Yet, we’ve been culturally indoctrinated to believe that we must devise the perfect menu, scavenge every last ingredient and prepare the year’s most memorable meal—which, of course, takes all the time and fun out of it.
What most Angelenos don’t realize, however, is that there are world-renowned restaurants offering unbelievable “take-out” Thanksgiving meals just beyond their doorsteps. If you’d rather kick back and relax with relatives come November 23rd, and indulge in a meal that you could only dream of making, look no further than what The Bellwether, Wexler’s kDeli, Belcampo and Manhattan Beach Post are servin’ up on a silver platter. Better yet, if you have in-laws to impress, just say you cooked it up yourself. Winner, winner turkey dinner.
Mix up some bevvies
Sure, Thanksgiving may not be complete without stuffing and pumpkin pie, but when are cocktails going to get the praise they deserve? We’re all for sweets, but a little L.A. spin on your favorite libation may just take the cake (or pie). Whether your Turkey Day shindig be big or small, consider whipping up a batch of Autumn Ash—a sophisticated medley of fall flavors that’ll transport you from the beaches of Malibu to the woods of Maine. And, if Uncle Bob seems to be chatting a bit more than usual, add an extra splash of St. Germain for good measure.
2 ounces blended Scotch whisky
1 ounce apple brandy
1/4 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur
2 dashes orange bitters
1 large wide lemon peel, as garnish
Combine the Scotch, apple brandy, St. Germain and bitters in a mixing glass half-filled with ice. Stir until chilled and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Rub the lemon peel along on the rim of the glass, drop into the cup as a garnish and drink up.
Bring it outside
Los Angeles has a (turkey) leg up on all other cities when it comes to hosting the ultimate Thanksgiving. While our friends on the east coast may have cozy fires and sweater weather, we boast epic conditions for al fresco dining year-round. While Thanksgiving dinner, in and of itself, is the year’s most magical meal, it’s time to up the ante by bringing your harvest outdoors. If you’re a true Angeleno, there’s no doubt you have a killer al fresco set up (like that at 446 25th Street); so, string some lights, decorate the table as you please, create DIY place cards from those shells you found at the beach and play some chill tunes. When it comes to outdoor dining, simplicity is key.
Wind up & wind down
There’s no better way to prepare yourself for an uber-indulgent meal than breaking a sweat. Well, we’d like to believe there is, but you can find the majority of Angelenos hitting the streets or the gym prior to a big Thanksgiving supper (or any meal, really). If you’re cut from this Los Angeles cloth, sign up for the Turkey Trot to share in a citywide tradition as you meander the historic streets of DTLA. The road race ends at 10am, meaning you have plenty of time to nap before dinner. Then, after a delectable and drool-worthy meal, top off a quintessential L.A. Thanksgiving with a classic Hollywood movie marathon. Now that’s the whipped cream on top.
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