Thanksgiving Out: Hotel Restaurants

I recently did a few spots on KCRW's "Good Food" program (which I LOVE doing; Evan is a blast) so it was a pleasure when producer Holly called me to see if I had any Thanksgiving ideas for an upcoming show. After so many years of pulling that kind of list together for websites like Citysearch and LA.com, yes, I have an idea or two for where to have dinner out, where to order a great bird, where to get a slew of side dishes so you're not chained to the stove all day.

This is a pretty comprehensive list, though I'm sure it's not every restaurant with Thanksgiving offerings. Just a good place to start if you need some help. Listen for my spot on the show on November 12, or it's always podcastable.

The first of three posts...

Hotels are always a good bet for holiday dining. And it's not always for visitors—many locals make it a tradition to dine in these dining rooms. For those families who have picky eaters, who can’t all decide on one thing, the hotel menus are often a good bet. There’s everything to choose from: vegetarian dishes, ham, seafood, prime rib and of course turkey for the traditionalists.

Belvedere at The Peninsula
A glamorous feast with a choice of house-smoked salmon with sweet potato salad; Dungeness crab with granny smith apple, wild rice and cranberry salad; truffle macaroni and cheese; crispy fried oysters with French lentil salad; Diestal Farms turkey with chestnut and cranberry stuffing, mashed potatoes; roasted arctic char with cauliflower puree; braised short ribs with roasted pumpkin parsnips and chanterelle mushrooms; and a dessert buffet. 11am-8pm; $69 per person; $29 for kids under 12. 9882 Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 551-2888

Ocean & Vine at Loews Santa Monica
Sitting by the sea for the holiday. The menu is a tribute to chef Greg Wangard’s grandma. It features tempura squash blossoms with chioga beet salad; mixed green salad with strawberries; seared Hudson Valley foie gras with cranberry brioche; pumpkin bisque; turkey confit with German butterball potatoes and split green beans. Dessert sampling. $65 per person, wine pairings extra. 1pm-8pm. Also breakfast buffet from 7:30am-11:30am. Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, (310) 576-3180

The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton Pasadena
Three-course feast by chef Craig Strong, with classic jazz guitarist supplying entertainment. Some items: crab and vanilla bean salad with microgreens and passionfruit vinaigrette; seared diver scallops with asparagus and fresh fettucini; Guinea hen and foie gras; sea bass on saffron potato risotto; roast turkey with brioche stuffing, butternut squash compote, potato mousseline and sage gravy. $95 per person. 1401 S Oak Knoll Ave, Pasadena, (626) 577-2867

The Terrace Restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington
No less elegant, just slightly more casual. The Terrace is near the pool area. Five-course meal with items like green lentil soup, warm spinach salad, lobster ravioli, pork loin, and of course turkey and all the trimmings. Dessert: Pumpkin pie wit cognac ice cream. 1401 S Oak Knoll Ave, Pasadena, (626) 577-2867

Whist at the Viceroy
Choose from items like kabocha squash soup with crispy sage and pumpkin seed oil; peekytoe crab cake with meyer lemon aioli; roast quail stuffed with foie gras and wild mushrooms, pomegranate seeds and arugula; free-range turkey with herb sausage stuffing, mashed garnet yeams; prime rib; New Zealand salmon; baby pumpkin filled with mascarpone polenta, roasted fall veggies; desserts like pumpkin pecan bread pudding. Standard evening reservations. $75 for adults, and $30 for children. 1819 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, (310) 451-8711

Oceanfront at Hotel Casa del Mar
Items to choose from include butter lettuce wedge salad with persimmon, grapes and spiced walnuts; herb-roasted wild mushrooms; hot smoked king salmon with baby beets; grilled center cut rib eye with Pt. Reyes blue cheese pasta gratin; and of course, free-range turkey with pecan corn bread stuffing, sweet potato puree and green beans.
$50 per person, prix fixe. 1910 Ocean Way, Santa Monica, (310) 581-7714

More to come...


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