As Thanksgiving 2021 approaches, marking consecutive pandemic years this holiday has been celebrated in B.C., there are, as always, things for which we can be thankful.
Given that Thanksgiving is, for many people, an occasion to gather with family and friends, we can be thankful that the high numbers of fully vaccinated people and relaxed COVID-19 restrictions will allow reasonable holiday gatherings.
We can also be thankful that despite pandemic-related farm labour shortages and supply-chain disruptions, most Canadians are still able to get access to the traditional cornucopia of foods commonly associated with this feast.
And because there are always those who love the eating but hate (or can’t provide) the long hours, work, and skills associated with cooking and cleanup, there will be many who are thankful that local restaurants provide options for both dine-in and takeout holiday meals.
Here are a few selected providers. (Unless stated as pick-up or takeout, all meals are dine-in, and reservations are recommended.)
55 Dunlevy Avenue
Railtown’s Belgard Kitchen is hosting what it calls a “Family Dinner” on October 11 for $35 per person (which includes a donation to Mealshare and the Indian Residential School Survivors Society). On the menu is turkey two ways (rolled and stuffed breast and leg confit with gravy and cranberry sauce), mashed potatoes, twice-baked rosemary-and–goat cheese bread pudding, roasted root vegetables, and dessert.
Savoury City Catering
3925 Fraser Street
Savoury City has put together a complete “Thanksgiving To-Go” dinner package for six for $275 for pick-up or delivery (extra fee) on October 8, 9, and 10 that includes a whole, precarved, dry-brined, and seared 10-pound turkey with sous-vide legs and sliced breast; green beans, roasted squash, and maple-glazed roasted carrots; dinner rolls and stuffing made with house-made bread; mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, and cranberry-apple preserves; macaroni and cheese; kale winter salad; and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Extra gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pie are available for a fee, as are wine and beer.
1038 Canada Place
This restaurant in the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel is adding an extra day to its Thanksgiving brunch this year, offering a three-course menu for $78 per person on October 9, 10, and 11 that includes a welcoming glass of sparkling wine and a brunch cocktail. After an opening choice of croissants and muffins, beef tartare, avocado toast, polenta, cheese and charcuterie, or burrata salad, the main event features the holiday star (turkey with mashed potatoes, pomme purée, and roasted vegetables) or a choice of prime rib, roasted and glazed ham, sablefish cassoulet, short-rib poutine, or brunch classic eggs Benedict (slow-roasted onion or crab and avocado). Round things off with brioche bread pudding, exotic fruits, or chocolate praline fondant.
Juke Fried Chicken
182 Keefer Street
The pick-up holiday meal kit from Juke requires cooking for its unusual main course, the Turducken Feast, but not to worry: it comes with detailed written and video instructions. For $199 (plus tax), a limited number of the hybrid feast centrepieces—featuring roast turkey, duck, and chicken, enough to feed four—will be available for pick-up from October 8 to 10. Leek-and-sausage stuffing, turkey gravy, cranberry sauce, Brussels sprouts, scalloped potatoes, roasted squash and carrots, and jalapeño cornbread round out the fixings for the avian triptych.
1300 Robson Street
The Forage Thanksgiving Meal is available for both dine-in and takeout on October 9 and 10, and it kicks off the feast with a baby kale and arugula salad before presenting you with both sliced JD Farms specialty turkey (along with mushroom-and-chorizo stuffing, pan gravy, whisky cranberry sauce, and garlic pomme purée) and smoked and boneless Fraser Valley pork rack. The sweet finish comes courtesy a chocolate-hazelnut crunch bar, and the dine-in experience will run you $62 per person (and there are plant-based vegan options available). There are savings for taking this meal home: $46 per person for cooled and needing reheating, and $49 for hot and ready to be served.
The wrinkle for this offering is that its four locations will be leaving the bird business to you (if desired) while taking care of all the sides for $79. Just call before 6 p.m. on October 8 and your package for four will be available for pick-up at your chosen location on either October 9 or 10. And what do you not have to fret about while you nervously check your sizzling gobbler? Well, pear-and-feta arugula salad, Brussels sprouts, pomegranate-braised carrots, onion-walnut bread, mashed parsnips, and roasted sweet potatoes with yam and pumpkin.
269 Powell Street
German and Swiss culinary influences in France’s Alsace region are showcased in St. Lawrence’s autumn-flavours celebration for $75 (plus tax) per diner. (The special theme will be continued until the end of October.) Complimentary buckwheat bread with lemon-chive butter prepares you for a choice of starters (smoked steelhead trout with cheese, potatoes, and cucumbers; rabbit pâté in pastry with foie gras and pickled mushrooms; or chicken-and-morels quenelle with spaetzle and Riesling sauce), mains (cod with brown butter and almond sauce, potato dumpling, and grilled cabbage; duck confit choucroute with sausage and potatoes; or bratwurst-stuffed pork with braised fennel, cheese croquette, and pickled mustard), and dessert (Alsace cheesecake, apple-and-raisin tart, profiteroles, or Alsace cheese with fruit and brioche).
900 West Georgia Street
This bistro at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver has a three-course Thanksgiving feast on October 10 and 11 for $75 per adult and $37.50 per child (12 and under; taxes and gratuities extra). After a starter of roasted butternut squash soup (with black-truffle and Gruyère gougères), feasters will tuck into roasted Fraser Valley turkey with crispy sage-brioche stuffing, turkey sausage, Brussels sprouts, puréed potatoes, and “scratch” gravy. Pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust will finish you.