In case you didn't realize it, Thanksgiving is right around the cornerNov. 23, if you're not aware. (Normally, we'd then be deluged with Christmas commercials and specials but they now start in October, if not earlier.)
So if you're not attending a gathering at someone's home, here are some selections that may appeal to youso you can dine with 300 of your closest friends. Otherwise, there are bakeries and restaurants that can cater your Thanksgiving affairso you can dine with family and only 15=20 of your closest friends.
Good Ambler (216 N. Peoria St.): This delightful coffee/pastry shop is offering special "Brunch Boxes" with an assortment of treats like pumpkin cream-cheese twists, double chocolate croissants, apple brie cranberry bear claws and much more. For those who are looking for larger catering options, there are pumpkin spice entremets, cinnamon rolls with vanilla bean cream cheese icing, pumpkin bundt cakes and other goodies. Pre-orders can be placed until Nov. 16.
See www.goodambler.com .
Verzenay (2507 N. Lincoln Ave.): This is another bakery that's offering some cool treats.
Of course, there are the (elevated) seasonal pies, such as pumpkin (gingerbread cookie crust and chef's blend of pumpkin spice mix); apple (all-butter pie crust, Granny Smith apples, almonds, dark brown sugar and spices); and French Silk (chocolate shortbread cookie crust, dark chocolate mousse, hazelnut praline feuilletine and whipped cream). However, there are many other delights, such as the spiced carrot cake and the Royalea French item featuring layers of chocolate biscuit, hazelnut feuilletine and milk chocolate-hazelnut praline mousse. In addition, there are Thanksgiving quiches (spinach/kale or potato/leek) and the savory veggie pie.
For more information about Verzenay, visit www.Verzenaychicago.com, email contact@Verzenaychicago.com or call 773=799-8312.
The Dearborn (145 N. Dearborn St.): This well-known spot has brought back its holiday pies.
This year, they are the French silk (dark chocolate custard, Oreo shortbread and mascarpone chantilly) and Dutch apple (with a graham-cracker streusel). They are available for pick-up 48 hours after ordering, which can be done at form.jotform.com/232955196627165.
Lake View spot Cesar's Killer Margaritas is currently accepting donations for its annual turkey drive.
Cesar's is looking to donate 600 turkeys this yearand they will be given away Saturday, Nov. 18, on a first-come, first-served basis. There will be two pick-up locations: in Wheeling, at 181 W. Dundee Rd., and in Chicago, at the Humboldt Park Boathouse, 1301 N. Humboldt Dr.
Funds to be used to purchase turkeys for the drive can be donated through https://orders.killermargaritas.com/product/cesars-chicago-charity-turkey-drive-2023/258.
In the spirit of giving, Roseland Community Hospital, on Chicago's Far South Side, is bringing back its own turkey drive on Saturday, Nov. 18, beginning at 10 a.m.
The team at the hospital will partner with Molina Healthcare and BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois to give out 250 turkeys and a free hot meal to families in attendance. The turkey drive will be on a first-come, first-served basis, and families are not required to register beforehand. Residents of the community are also invited to learn more about Roseland's various services and wellness resources while onsite, and be offered a free hot meal. To learn more about Roseland's upcoming events, visit www.roselandhospitaltalks.org/ .
The Albert (228 E. Ontario St.): This top Streeterville spot will offer an all-day buffet on Thanksgiving. There will be carving stations, veggies and salads galore, pastas and a sweets table filled to the brim with pies and cakes. The cost is $65/person, not including beverages, tax and gratuity.
In addition, people can order dinners to go. Chef Steve Chiappetti and his team will have a menu that includes a choice of olive-poached turkey or prime rib, stuffing, mashed potatoes, Calabrian roasted carrots, slow-roasted beets, Italian salad, freshly baked rolls and caramelized pumpkin roll. The cost for the dinner (that serves four) is $130; the order deadline is Nov. 18 and the pickup must happen on Nov. 22.
For both, RSVP at https://www.opentable.com/r/the-albert-chicago.
Cindy's Rooftop at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel (12 S. Michigan Ave.): This revered spot will offer its standard (and stand-out) menu in addition to a Thanksgiving plate special (Cider-brined heritage turkey breast, mashed potatoes with gravy, cornbread-and-confit turkey stuffing, roasted carrots and cranberry sauce.
However, Cindy's is also bringing back its "Pie in the Sky" for a limited time. Available for online pre-order with pick-up at Cindy's, four types of pies will be available for purchase at $24 per pie (full-size): Pumpkin Cheesecake, French Silk, Brown Butter Dutch Apple and Bourbon Pecan. Pies are available by both online pre-order and same-day purchase (while supplies last) at the "Pie In The Sky" pop-up shop located within Cindy's. Pre-orders will close Friday, Nov. 17. Order pick-ups and same-day purchases are available between 3-6 p.m. on Nov. 21-22 only. Did you get all that?
See www.cindysrooftop.com .
Old Crow Smokehouse (3506 N. Clark St.): This Wrigleyville spotknown for its barbecueis offering a Thanksgiving To Go feast.
People can choose from a smoked ($110) or deep-fried ($155) 12-14-lb. fresh and free range whole turkey that serves eight to 10 people. Two additional options are the Smoked Glazed Ham ($160, serves six to eight people), and the Beef Wellington ($150, serves six to eight people).
Of course, there are indulgent sides. Choices include gem salad with buttermilk dressing, rosemary garlic confit mashed potatoes, baked green bean casserole, fried Brussels sprouts, four-cheese mac and cheese, sourdough stuffing, cranberry-and-wild berry compote, homemade cornbread and sweet potato casserole.
Meals can be picked up on Thanksgiving Day between 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Visit oldcrowsmokehouse.com/wrigleyville or call 773-537-4452.
Sweet Mandy B's (1208 W. Webster Ave. and 254 E. Ontario St.): Everyone knows about the cupcakes here, but there's a lot more to Sweet Mandy's B's than those treats.
Sweet Mandy B's will be open for limited hours on Thanksgiving Day to offer festive holiday treats available for pre-order Nov. 19-23 at both locations. There will be a special menu of Thanksgiving items like nine-inch pies that serve six to eight people; flavors include apple streusel with fresh apple pie filling, pumpkin, pecan, chocolate cream, banana cream and key lime. Other festive items will include pumpkin or turkey cut-out cookies, mashed potato- or turkey leg-decorated cupcakes, and six-inch thanksgiving cakes decorated with a turkey.
And if you like pumpkin, you're in luck: There are pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin meringue pie, individual pumpkin cheesecakes, pumpkin apple muffins, pumpkin whoopie pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie and more. Check out www.sweetmandybs.com .
Marina's Bistro + Rum Bar (4554 N. Magnolia Ave.): This Puerto Rican eatery will offer some really cool options on Thanksgiving.
Appetizers include a arugula salad and ham-and-cheese croquettes/mushrooms, while main courses include pavo chon (roasted turkey), pollo chon (roasted chicken) or stuffed portabella mushroom, served with arroz con gandules, potato salad and stuffing. Desserts consist of tembleque, a coconut pudding garnished with cinnamon; or pumpkin flan.
Marina's Thanksgiving menu will be priced at $70/person, and reservations can be made by calling 773-739-9161 or emailing at email@example.com .
Bloom Plant Based Kitchen (1559 N. Milwaukee Ave,): You didn't think I'd omit my vegan/vegetarian readers, did you?
This Bib Gourmand spot is offering Thanksgiving to-go meal kits that are available until Nov. 20. (Pickup is Nov. 22.) Items include leek-and-chestnut soup, mashed potatoes, green beans, autumn harvest salad, royal acorn squash and pumpkin pie (the latter with cranberry bourbon vanilla preserve, toasted meringue and lemon balm).
See www.bloompb.com .
Lure Fishbar (616 N. Rush St.): Yes, a seafood spot can certainly celebrate Thanksgiving. For $105/person, guests at Lure Fishbar can choose between fall squash soup or chicory-and-roasted pear salad; roasted turkey, skate-wing Grenobloise, grilled filet mignon or pumpkin ravioli; and toasted pecan pie or pumpkin pie.
Lure will be open 12-8 p.m.; RSVP at www.lurefishbar.com/location/chicago/ .
The Goddess and Grocer (various locations): Those interested in a catering menu can check out what's here. The Goddess and Grocer has various meal options: Turkey for Two for $75, Vegan Dinner for 2 for $75, Family Matters (serves six) for $225 and All in the Family (serves 12) for $425. (I sense a TV theme here.)
Otherwise, just a few of the selections include whole natural turkey, pies (apple, pumpkin, pecan and more), Maryland crab cakes, stuffing (traditional bread or turkey sausage-and-apple options) and stuffed squash. Call 773-292-7100 or visit goddessandgrocer.com/thanksgiving.
Tutore Cooking School (2755 W. Belmont Ave.): Why buy pies when you can make them from scratch? Tutore Cooking School is offering a number of Thanksgiving pie making classes, teaching the proper steps to make the perfect pie for Thanksgiving dinner. (And even I know that baking is more preciseand, usually, difficultthan cooking.)
Classes are available Nov. 19-22. Check out www.tutorecookingschool.com .
Jook Sing (1329 W. Chicago Ave.): This spot is introducing an Asian interpretation of the classic turkey with Hainanese turkey ricea version of Hainanese chicken rice. The turkey undergoes a poaching process in a broth made from turkey bones and a blend of Chinese aromatics; served alongside rice and steamed with schmaltz, pandan, and more Chinese spices, each plate has a side of Fresno Chile sauce and soy sauce.
In addition, there's a dessert crafted by Sucre Patisserie called the 'Yu' Zu Crazy. It's a pandan honeycomb gateau drizzled with mango coulis, infused with yuzu lemongrass mousse and adorned with toasted coconut, all crowned with a yellow mirror glaze.
NOTE: These dishes will only be offered Nov. 20-24but not on Thanksgiving itself, as the restaurant will be closed. See www.jooksing312.com .
Komo Chicago (738 W. Randolph St.): This modern Japanese concept will be celebrating with a six-course menu that will feature an array of flavors such as a lobster corn soup, madai sashimi, tuna tartare, live scallops, filet with foie gras and a chocolate lava cake to end on a sweet note. This special menu will be priced at $135 per person; visit komochicago.com .
Aboyer (64 Green Bay Rd., Winnetka): Here, Chef Michael Lachowicz has created a family-style celebration that comes complete with all the trimmings.
Everyone will receive Chef Michael's Signature Warm Gougeres along with a warm baguette with whipped honey butter and candied squash bisque; sides such as sweet-potato gratin, whipped mashed potatoes and more; and desserts (warm poached-pear financier, pumpkin-mascarpone cheesecake and Grand Marnier chocolate truffles). The only choice will involve the main protein: turkey (brown sugar-brined and roasted) or Berkshire Farms pork. People can choose between turkey and Berkshire Farms pork;
The dine-in option is $79/person while carryout is $99/person. See https://www.opentable.com/r/aboyer-winnetka.
River Roast (315 N. LaSalle St.): Like some other restaurants, River Roast will offer dine-in and to-go options.
For $75/person (with kids under 6 eating for free), there will be items like a charcuterie/cheese welcome board, macaroni and cheese, whipped Yukon potatoes, carrots and dirt (with pumpernickel, balsamic and goat cheese), carrot cake and pumpkin pie, and, naturally, turkey breast. Of course, all of this comes with a spectacular view of the Chicago River. Note: There is a $50 reservation deposit.
See www.exploretock.com/riverroast/ .
And we conclude the options on a "fetching" note. Farm to Pet ( tinyurl.com/29tjjpes .)a Chicago-based maker of healthy single-ingredient treats for dogshas created fun Thanksgiving and Holiday-themed packaging for the season. There are choices such as Chicken Chips, Turkey Feast and even elk antlers.