There is so much stress associated with the holidays. Even those among us who love to cook (me!), might not actually enjoy cooking for the holidays (also me!) but do actually enjoy hosting people (me, again!). Over the years I’ve perfected the art of buying Thanksgiving dinner. That’s right, all around Boston my favorite cafes and bakeries and food shops are churning out incredible side dishes, appetizers, pies, brunch-y things and even fully cooked turkeys. It’s almost like, why do anything but set the table and put on your elastic waist-band pants?! Leave Thanksgiving to the professionals. (Most orders are due on or around 11/24 for Thanksgiving 2019! Check each site for details).
Here’s a rundown of my go-to list for buying the ultimate Thanksgiving dinner:
Sweet Cheeks Q: Email catering for their full holiday list, but you can get Dinner for 5, 10 or 20 people or buy individual sides (including their insane buttermilk biscuits with honey butter). The real winner here is their Smoked Turkey — last year we got 2!
Hi Rise Bread Company: Even though I’ve been loyal to Sweet Cheeks Q Smoked Turkey, I’ve been eyeing Hi-Rise’s roasted free range turkeys — not every spot offers a fully cooked bird. They also offer a beautiful array of simple sides, not overly gussied up, like glazed brussels, roasted carrots and parsnips and stuffing made from challah bread.
Tatte Bakery: Everyone’s favorite local bakery offers a nice menu of sweet and savory dishes, no turkeys. I’m planning to get this year’s pies from Tatte – a traditional pumpkin and apple, of course. They have some yummy brunch-y offerings if your crowd gathers early like cinnamon rolls and cinnamon walnut coffeecake. Their house-made gravy looks like a winner and so does their potato au gratin. BONUS: If you are doing an early Friends-giving or celebration with the other side of the family you can pick up from November 23-27 at Tatte, not just the usual day of/day before the holiday.
Flour Bakery: What CAN’T Joanne Change do?! The Flour Bakery Thanksgiving menu includes trimmings and sides, stuffing, breads, morning goodies and desserts. I’ve got my eye on the Piefecta — an insane mash up of pecan, pumpkin and brown sugar whipped cream. The roasted cauliflower gratin sounds like a nice alternative to a traditional potato dish.
Formaggio Kitchen: There is literally no where else I’d turn to for my cheese course than Formaggio Kitchen. They offer a cheesemonger’s selection of 4 cheeses plus jams and crackers. They too offer a nice selection of basic sides like mashed sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and bread from local fave’s Iggy’s and Clear Flour Bakery.
Savenor’s: Boston’s well-known butcher doesn’t offer a cooked turkey, but they offer just about any other kind of Thanksgiving meat you might want: Local free range turkey, Turducken, foraging turkey, bourbon red turkey, goose and capon, plus pies from Somerville’s own Forge Baking Co.
The Butcher Shop: Perhaps my favorite neighborhood restaurant, The Butcher Shop offers a small but reasonable menu and would be particularly nice if they are close to home for you. Veggies and potatoes are offered by the quart or pint and turkeys can be purchased solo or complete with sides in a dinner package.
Still in need of a certain side? Whole Foods is another good resource for holiday catering.
In Nantucket for the holidays? The Nantucket Culinary Center has you covered for everything but the bird, including Something Natural pies!