Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Can't Believe It's Not Turkey . . .

. . . is not likely one of those things you'll hear when a faux turkey is being served, no matter how well-engineered it is. Nonetheless, when throwing a Thanksgiving feast (or any party, for that matter) it'd be nice to be mindful of what vegetarian guests can eat (even innocent-seeming side dishes can be major no nos, vegetables may have been roasted in the pan drippings, mashed potatoes and stuffing may be made with poultry broth, even the yams can be off limits due to the marshmallow topping, which contains meat-derived gelatin). And I can tell you from my vegetarian period how lame it can be to be relegated to salad (hold the bacon, please!), limp, underseasoned vegetable sides and possibly dessert on a day that's all about celebrating harvest and enjoying food a plenty.

So if you're shopping for that fake bird to roast along with your real one, or all on its own, Slate.com has a well-timed guide reviewing the most readily available ones.

Unfortunately, both M Cafe de Chaya and Real Food Daily's Thanksgiving order deadlines have already past, but here's what they're offering as something to keep in mind for the December holidays:

- M Cafe de Chaya has a thanksgiving roast made with "savory sliced seitan, herbed bread stuffing, pan gravy & cranberry relish" with two side dishes from $70 (to serve two) to $240 (to serve eight). Of course, you can always visit them now and pick up a few of their mostly-vegan-friendly deli salads to serve as tasty side dishes or even some of their brown rice vegan sushi for an Asian-inspired entree.

- Real Food Daily, for $38.95 a person, will serve up "Butternut Squash Bisque • Faux Turkey Breast • Corn Sage Stuffing • Candied Garnet Yams • Mashed Potatoes&Parsnips • Herb Roasted Vegetables • Golden Gravy • Cranberry Relish • Slice of Pumpkin Pie with tofu whip".

One vegetarian (and vegan) friendly place that may be able to accommodate your not-Turkey order is Little Tokyo's Shojin. Not exactly Thanksgiving geared, but their catering menu offers a good number of seitan and tempeh and otherwise non-meat/egg/dairy options (I've been there since going back to omnivore and I approve!). Do keep in mind they close on Thanksgiving so it'll have to be a Wednesday pick-up and a heat 'n serve the day after.

Of course, if all else fails, you can always swing by a Whole Foods and pick up one (or more) of their Vegan Thanksgiving Meals for one -- includes a cranberry-hazelnut celebration roast, cranberry sauce, and vegan-friendly mashed potatoes and stuffing. And at least plate it nicely after heating so they won't have to eat out of those plastic trays.


mattatouille said...

i don't usually invite vegetarians to my thanksgivings, but if i ever happen to have one swing by one these years, i'll remember to have delicious vegetable sides. No faux turkeys get to go near the real thing. nice, helpful guide, though.

Frequent Traveler said...

Just found your blog last night - and frequenting L.A. and O.C. restaurants myself - enjoyed it - and will be back again to visit and see where you have been / what you have liked and disliked !

Am off to try The Luau in Beverly Hills next... And then Saddle Peak Lodge in Calabasas...

Hope that you had a good Thanksgiving - whatever you ate :)

H. C. said...

Mattatouille I actually don't mind eating "fake meats" and "faux turkeys" as long as they are not labeled as such. Seitan, Tempeh and Quorn are pretty good stuff taken on their own terms.

Annie thanks! let me know how luau and saddle peak goes!


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