When it comes to holiday celebrations that include food and wine, there is no holiday more food focused than Thanksgiving. However, the question remains: are Thanksgiving Day and the traditional holiday meal the Super Bowl for foodies?
With traditional multi-generational family recipes, a tight range of typical ingredients and the expectations of those partaking in the meal, gourmet experimentation may be relegated to a few side dishes or desserts. That's not to say a traditional Thanksgiving Day meal can't be outstandingly delicious, but the culinary creativity might need to be curtailed for the sake of tradition and the expected outcome.
I informally polled a number of Sarasota foodies to gather their thoughts and opinions. Although not scientific, the consensus is that Thanksgiving is indeed a foodie feast and could be considered the Super Bowl for foodies. What better challenge for a foodie than to take a traditional Thanksgiving meal and make it gourmet great?
Just like the Super Bowl, there are two teams playing the game and a great many spectators, which make it so exciting. The Thanksgiving Day “home team” prepares its traditional family meal, well, at home. Planning, preparation and key ingredients might come from a variety of sources, such as:
- Morton's: 1924 S Osprey Ave #100, Sarasota, 34239, 941-955-9856 Holiday Thanksgiving Menu. You can buy a la carte or the whole meal, soup to nuts.
- Fresh Market: 5251 University Pkwy, University Park, FL 34201, 941-355-0417 Get all the fixings (including brussel sprouts still on the stalks), and make it yourself, or they will pre-make your meal ... you just need to heat it up!
- Whole Foods: 1451 1st St, Sarasota, FL 34236, 941-955-8500 All natural turkeys, no antibiotics, all vegetarian diet. Pre-made Thanksgiving meals, turkey, ham or vegan. Also, complete organic meals. Pre-made turkeys are available, smoked, roasted, raw both plain and brined and organic. Gluten-free options.
- Butcher Block: 3242 17th St, Sarasota, FL 34235, 941-955-2822 Amish, all-natural fresh turkeys. Prime meats, trim-out filets. They make their own sausage, great for stuffing. Pre-made sides. Order soon!
- Yoder's: 3434 Bahia Vista Road, Sarasota, FL 34239 941-955-7771 PIES!
On the other hand, there is the Thanksgiving Day “away team,” which is also preparing a special holiday meal for those who prefer to dine away from home. Some of this year’s away players are:
- The Bijou Café: 1287 First Street, Sarasota, FL 34236, 941-366-8111 The Bijou will be offering their full dinner menu as well as several chef's specials and of course roast Carolina turkey with all the trimmings. Open from noon to 8 p.m., so bring your friends and family. A turkey dinner is $28.95 per person and just $12 for children younger than 12.
- Duval’s New World Café: 1435 Main Street, Sarasota, FL. 34236, 941-312-4001 Chef Duval will be offering an extensive Thanksgiving Buffet from noon to 6:30 p.m. $34.95 per person and $15.95 for children.
- Euphemia Haye: 5540 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key, FL 34228, 941-383-3633 The fine dining area will be open from noon to 9 p.m. Offering full a la carte menu along with nightly specials. Chef Ray will also prepare roast goose, roast duck and sliced turkey specials.
- Louies Modern: 1289 North Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236 941-552-9688 Opening from noon to 9 pm on Thanksgiving Day, Louies Modern will be offering its full menu and a special Farm Table to Fork Dinner priced at $30.00 per person.
- Ophelia’s on the Bay: 9105 Midnight Pass Road, Sarasota, FL 34242, 941-349-2212 Ophelia’s will be offering its full dinner menu with a special turkey entree priced at $25.00. Ophelia’s will be open from noon to 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
Local foodies and public relations specialist Elise Lipoff Ramer summarizes it best: "Thanksgiving is absolutely the Super Bowl," she says. "You have to really plan ahead, wear the right gear and have a strategy. Wearing the right shoes is key to making it through the day. I make sure to wear my best cross trainers with insoles. Cute or not, meals don't make it to the table with a cook who is having foot pain!”
So, on the big day, whether you are playing for the home or away team, we wish you the very best Thanksgiving holiday!
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