No-cook Thanksgiving

You could wake up at 4am and stick your hand into the backside of a frozen turkey. You could slave away in the kitchen all day just to have your mother tell you the potatoes are lumpy and the gravy lacks her special touch. And, you mostly likely will find yourself beneath a pile of dishes reaching to the ceiling as the last guest bids a fond farewell.

Or, you could make Thanksgiving reservations. And remain sane.

Now, I’m not knocking aprons and pumpkin pie and spending all day obsessing about whether the turkey is the exact right shade of brown. (Okay, I am.) But like most of you, I’ve been there, done that and got the dressing-stained t-shirt to prove it. This year, let someone else to the cooking.

Here are some of the North Bay’s best bets for Turkey Day, from restaurants to complete meals ready for pickup. Get ready to be thankful.


* El Dorado Kitchen
405 First St. West, Sonoma, 707.996.3030
High-end dining on the Sonoma square, serving an a la carte menu from 3 to pm. Chef Ryan Fancher is a French Laundry alum, and his meticulous dishes show it. (* items are BiteClub picks)

* The Lodge at Sonoma
1325 Broadway, Sonoma, 707.931.2042
Three-course prix fixe dinner from 2 to pm featuring roast Sonoma Willie Bird turkey, sugar pumpkin and Gruyere soup. Reservations required, $50 per person, $25 for children 4-12. See the menu

*Hurley’s Restaurant and Bar
6518 Washington St, Yountville, 707.944.2345
Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings, plus regular menu items. A favorite with locals, Hurley’s has a Mediterranean flair and is one of the few spots in town open past nine (they have a 9pm to midnight menu).

*John Ash
4350 Barnes Road, Santa Rosa, 707.575.7350
Luxurious setting at a restaurant that has become a SoCo institution. Few openings are left, so you’ll need to call ahead. Both traditional and non-traditional choices. $58 per person

Etoile Restaurant at Domaine Chandon
One California Dr., Yountville
Prix-fixe 3-course menu featuring butternut soup, turkey (along with other options) and dessert, plus Chandon wines. $85 per person including wine pairing, $65 per person without pairing. Special menu for children. Chris Manning is a promising chef, but hasn’t yet risen to the status of other Napa super-stars. But, come on, that’s a tall order. See the menu

Napa Valley Grille
6795 Washington St., Washington Square, Yountville, 707.944.8686
Family-style Thanksgiving dinner at this casual-dining chain. Plus: Promises of plenty of leftovers to take home. $65 per person. The Grille offers casual Wine Country dining with a terrific patio. On Thanksgiving, a limited menu will be served in the main dining room.

The Inn at the Tides
800 Coast Highway One, Bodega Bay, 800.541.7788
Thanksgiving Day feast from 1 to 8pm. Traditional Roasted Turkey, Seafood Fettuccine, Pacific Halibut, Grilled Filet Mignon, Roasted Lamb Shank and much more. Reservations strongly suggested.

Safari West
3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa, 707.579.2551
Celebrate Thanksgiving in Africa, well sort of. The local animal refuge offers dinner amidst giraffes, lemurs and possibly a few anxious-looking wild guinea fowl. Reservations essential, $35 for adults and $15 for children, 11am

Nectar Restaurant
3555 Round Barn Boulevard, Santa Rosa, 707.569.5525
Thanksgiving buffet from 11am to 3:30pm. $29.95 for adults, $14.95 for kids. Hey, it’s a buffet, and what could be bad about that?

Seafood Brasserie
170 Railroad St, Santa Rosa, 707.636.7388
Three-course prix-fixe menu: Willie Bird turkey, pear and baby spinach salad, seafood bisque, crab cakes and more. $32 per person

Willie Bird’s Restaurant
1150 Santa Rosa Ave., Santa Rosa, 707.542.0861
Family-favorite serving up delightful Willie Birds. Full holiday turkey dinner along with other menu items. Reservations required.
Closed on Thanksgiving: Syrah Bistro, Flavor Bistro, Cyrus, Zazu.


* Pearson & Co.
2759 4th St., Santa Rosa, 707.541.3868
Must order by Monday the 20th. A la carte Thanksgiving menu ready for pick up Wednesday or Thursday morning. Creative flavors done by one of SR’s best caterers. See the menu.

Martindale’s Quality Meats & Deli

5280 Aero Dr, Santa Rosa, 707.545.0531
Haven’t tried a Turducken? Martindales does a solid job of this Southern favorite “a turkey stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken. Guaranteed to make an impression. $6.99 per pound. Order in advance.

*Zazu3535 Guerneville Road, Santa Rosa, 523.4814
Restaurant-prepared Thanksgiving sides available for pickup Tuesday and Wednesday. Just like having Duskie and John in your kitchen.

Whole Foods Market
1181 Yulupa, Santa Rosa, 707.575.7915
Holiday table: Full turkey dinner or a la carte. Whole Foods meat is typically juicy and well-seasoned, sides can be a little bland, soup is delightful, and pumpkin pies are usually pretty darned good. Overall, a solid choice. Order in advance.

Oliver’s Market
560 Montecito Ctr, Santa Rosa, 707.537.7123
Complete turkey dinner for $99.99

Pacific Market
1465 Town and Country Dr, Santa Rosa, 707.546.3663
Complete turkey dinner, $119

Do you have a favorite? What about non-traditional choices like Chinese or Thai? Tell me.

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