10 ways to do Thanksgiving smart, stress-free, and fun

How about getting this meal delivered right to your doorstep? You can.

How about getting this meal delivered right to your doorstep? You can. Photo courtesy of Homegrown Foods

Are you ready for the Indy-500 of shopping cart bumper cars, realizing your turkey is still 65 percent frozen and the guests arrive in an hour, or making the impossible choice of stuffing in or outside of the bird?


It’s strange that we assume every human comes out of the womb ready and able to cook a multi-course meal for a band of marauding and hungry extended aunties and cousins. Luckily, more of us are getting the memo that it’s okay to order out, order in, or go out for the biggest eating holiday of the year.

And luckily, some of our best local restaurants and food purveyors have much of what you need, and lots of stuff you never even dreamt you could get. All you gotta do is pop the vino -- or grab a Red Solo Cup, we’ve even got a kegger included below.

Our picks for the best Turkey Day eats and events:

10. Get all the things at Lowry Hill Meats
Lowry Hill Meats will be bringing in turkeys from Nine Patch Farms in Wausau, Wisconsin. This family farm’s birds are free range, antibiotic- and hormone-free, and are never frozen. Reserve early! Pick up the Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday before Thanksgiving, as well as during shortened hours on Thanksgiving day, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Or do what all the smart, cool kids are doing and get a smoked turkey breast instead, from Wild Acres Farm.

You can find stock, gravy, cooked cranberries, cranberry relish, wet and dry brine kits, and pies compliments of Hi Lo Diner including pumpkin, bourbon pecan, and caramel apple. Order online through November 20.

Also: pull-apart brioche rolls from Baker’s Field, in 6 and 12 packs. And! Common Harvest Farms veggie boxes, including squash, potatoes, carrots, kale, and more. One box feeds eight. Available for pre-order, and more will be available in the store.

Call the store or order online.

1934 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis

9. Take a Thanksgiving cooking class by chef Stewart Woodman
If the annual slog around the kitchen continues to be misery, take some pointers from a top chef. Lela restaurant in Bloomington will be offering a Thanksgiving cooking class with executive chef Stewart Woodman on Saturday, November 19, 1 p.m.-3 p.m.

The $65 per person price tag includes 2 glasses of wine, tastes of the menu items, and take-home recipe cards.

The chef will be demonstrating how to prepare the following menu:
Brined and Grilled Turkey Breast
Sage and Chestnut Stuffing
Broiled Salmon with Hollandaise Sauce
Honey Glazed Carrots
Brussels Sprouts
Parsnip Soup
Surprise Seasonal Dessert

Lela will also be offering a Thanksgiving Day buffet from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., $29 for adults, $10 for kids 12 and under.

Menu highlights include:
Carving Station
Traditional Steamship Ham
Striploin of beef
Two-cheese Rigatoni
Brown sugar butter cake
Lots and lots more.

5601 W. 78th St., Bloomington (next to the new Sheraton Bloomington Hotel on 494 and 100)

8. Get your pies (including gluten free!) from the Birchwood Cafe
The longtime restaurant known for its good, real food and really good baking is rolling out its annual pie program. The flavors:

Pumpkin pies made with fresh, local, organic (not canned!) pumpkin and real Wisconsin maple syrup. Also available gluten-free with gingersnap crust.
Key lime in graham cracker crust. Also available gluten-free with gingersnap crust.
Caramel Apple Streusel with local apples and house-made caramel.
French Silk in a crust made with organic, local, house-rendered lard!

Pricing: $25-$30
Call or order online:
3311 E. 25th St., Minneapolis

7. Get an 8-course, organic Thanksgiving Day dinner delivered to your doorstep from Homegrown Foods
Those meal delivery services are getting in on the Thanksgiving action, and Homegrown Foods is doing it even better with organic turkeys and fixings. Their 8-course meals include step-by-step instructions, pre-measured ingredients, pre-mixed dressings, plus brine and marinades.

The menu:
Roast Turkey from Cannon Falls Ferndale Market
Creamy Garlic Whipped Potatoes (potatoes from Piney Hill Farm in Glenwood City, WI)
Sage Dressing with Shiitake Mushrooms
Yams with Maple Streusel
Roasted Carrots (Carrots from Burning River Farm out of Frederick, WI)
Garlic-Green Beans with Almonds
Crunchy Kale Salad with Clementine Vinaigrette
Pumpkin Pie with Homemade Crust

Homegrown promises that all of the produce is organic.
Dinner kit for 4-6, $85
Dinner kit for 8-10, $130
Dinner kit for 12-14, $185
To order:

6. Go “Contemporary Southern” and order pies from Handsome Hog
The newish BBQ/contemporary Southern restaurant in Lowertown is selling scratch-made pecan pies, as well as apple and pumpkin pies. Prices are $20 to $25. Pre-order now through November 17 and pick up November 21-23. Order forms are at the host stand or bar (be wise, and sip a Sazerac while you fill it out) or call: 651-340-7710.

203 E. 6th St., St. Paul

5. Get a soul food Thanksgiving dinner from Breaking Bread
Perhaps Minneapolis’ best-known soul food cafe of the moment, Breaking Bread is making it easy to put a little Southern spice on your table this year. In addition to the below holiday table menu, the restaurant will be offering Thanksgiving-inspired specials all week, including roast turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, braised green beans with smoked turkey, cornbread dressing with homemade cranberry sauce, and several different holiday pies and sweet treats.

Holiday menu highlights:
Roast Brisket w/ Beef Gravy
Secret Recipe “Trashy Ham”
Cornbread Dressing
Baked Macaroni & Cheese
Braised Green Beans with Smoked Turkey
Collard Greens
Marshmallow Candied Yams
Fried Cabbage
Coconut Cornbread
Peach Cobbler

Contact the restaurant for ordering and pricing information:
1210 West Broadway Ave., Minneapolis

4. Go to the casino and win, for once (because all-you-can eat is winning)
Mystic Lake Casino is serving traditional and non-traditional Thanksgiving Day buffet. Traditional items include all of the usual suspects, plus the less likely oysters on the half shell, crab claws, pan-seared Chilean sea bass, and made-to-order omelets.

$48.95 for all-you-can-eat (kids aged 4 to 12 are $24.95).
Reservations required.
2400 Mystic Lake Blvd., Prior Lake

3. Chuck the getting stuffed part and eat a plated dinner at Marin
Who says you gotta gobble food just because it’s Thanksgiving? Go instead for a relatively restrained three-course meal at Marin. The $45 price includes an equally civilized glass of wine. Call for reservations.

901 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis

2. Get a prix fixe dinner at Tullibee
Dying to know what "woods and lakes" cuisine is? What better way to find out than to cast off your own Thanksgiving day cooking shackles? Go to the brand new Tullibee and Hewing Hotel, and get a very reasonably priced prix fixe dinner for $55, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Menu highlights include cream of winter squash soup, Norwegian Cod, chicken liver mousse, charred cabbage, and lots more interesting (as well as traditional) preparations. Make reservations here: 866-501-3300.

300 Washington Ave. N., Minneapolis

1. Be good and hungover Thanksgiving Day
If you’re gonna brave the holiday, you may as well go all-out and get started early. Get good and shit-faced on Wednesday, November 23 at Psycho Suzi’s “Ultimate Kegger.”

All-you-can-drink Fulton Standard Lager and rum whop is $20, red Solo cup included. The Ventures Cover Band will provide a surf-rock soundtrack, and before and after catch Camaro Rock in the Shangri-La lounge. 7 p.m. to midnight.

Good luck with that turkey trussing on Thursday.

1900 Marshall Ave. NE, Minneapolis