Sure we love the Holiday season, but this year let’s trim the celebration back to one that’s sustainable and calm. Here are a handful of chef tips, as well as local gourmet stores and markets to score your Thanksgiving meal.

Don’t Sweat It

Free your oven: and yourself! Ferry Building Marketplace has plenty of gourmet, pre-made options ready-to-go: Golden Gate Meat Company has been hand-cooking Thanksgiving dinner for 10 years in a row for families. Proprietor Dean assures us there are 4 or 5 different kinds of turkeys he can slow-roast and depending on your number of dinner guests will customize all the from-scratch trimmings including gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, you name it. And, with ample notice he’ll prepare it so it’s ready to go for you just before Thanksgiving.

Bonus: while you’re down here take the kiddos to the dainty little pastry shop, Miette, or to Book Passage for awesome children’s books galore.

Ferry Building Marketplace, Shop #13
San Francisco, Ca
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Also for pickup – just a block away from Alamo Square Park where little legs can burn off some extra energy in two play areas: one for toddlers, the other for preschool and up – is Bi-Rite Creamery & Market on Divisadero. They have an online Thanksgiving menu prepared in-house by a team of chefs and available with a pre-order deadline of Sunday, November 24. Choose your bird then vegetarian side options like apple & sage soup, or roasted delicate squash with Brussels sprouts and caramelized shallots. Meat lover’s choices include a to-die-for jalapeno cornbread and house made chorizo sausage stuffing. Bi-Rite desserts this Thanksgiving are: their organic pumpkin bundt cake, as well as traditional pumpkin, pecan, and organic apple pies.

500 Divisadero Street
San Francisco, Ca
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Whole Foods Markets throughout the entire Bay Area offer catering & holiday ordering with everything imaginable for a traditional table and beyond! The adventuresome might consider savory empanadas for an appetizer plate, eggroll or potsticker platters, sushi for seafood lovers, even Mary’s spiced mini organic chicken wings. Desserts here are fresh baked custom cakes, handmade pies, and for a favorite of itty bitty fingers try the Sweet Petite Party Platter.

Throughout the Bay Area & California
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Turkey Duty

What is a Turducken? Well it’s a fully de-boned chicken stuffed into a de-boned duck, which is in turn stuffed into a de-boned turkey, hence the title. Then it’s all rolled into one and stuffed with lots of delicious stuffing layered between the three kinds of meat. Ambitious Guy Fieri wannabe types can tackle this latest food fad at home, or you can order one ready to be thawed and popped into your oven – free shipping nationwide! – complete with stuffing options like Cajun shrimp-and-crawfish jambalaya, and cranberry-and-walnut. Someone else has already done all the prep work; all you do is crank the oven to 400 degrees and set the timer, then sit back and let the sublime scents fill the house until dinnertime.

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Home chefs: did you know that a frozen turkey is fresher than a “fresh” turkey? This is what our local favorite butcher told us. The so-called “fresh” turkeys have been sitting around for many, many days: from the processing, trucking to the grocery store, and then finally into the grocery store. His advice was to purchase a frozen turkey, as they are flash frozen immediately after being butchered. Frozen turkeys are fresher turkeys! You can find some at indie grocery store, Good Life Grocery, in the ‘Nabe (aka, Bernal Heights).

448 Cortland Avenue
San Francisco, Ca

Insider Tip: Home chefs, COOKIN’ (339 Divisadero Street, San Francisco) offers up an unusual array of high end packed-to-the-gills vintage & new housewares. There are all sorts of gadgets for your kids to investigate – you might encourage a little Holiday help in the kitchen after a visit here!

Vegetarian & Special Dietary Needs

Tofurky®, anyone? For vegetarian & vegan family & friends, this is a very popular “mock” meat substitute to serve made out of tofu and vital wheat gluten which is combined with seasonings – and better yet you can buy your dinner either pre-cooked with all the trimmings or as a roast suitable to bake for an hour. It’s tastier than you might think, and kids actually really dig it. You can find them at Safeway & Lucky Supermarkets throughout the entire Bay Area – while you do the rest of the family grocery run – or on the web.

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Insider Tip for Allergen Suffering Kids: A favorite gluten-free cooking flour blend is Bob’s Red Mill, available at Whole Foods Market.

Are you visiting any of these local businesses this year for your Thanksgiving meal? Tell us below where you go for a little bit of store-bought help!

— Mireille Schwartz

Photos courtesy of:  Dinner Bowl & Thanksgiving Dessert courtesy of EKPatterson (Flickr), Vegan Lazy (Flickr), The Vault DFW (Flickr)

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