Recently we read an article on "Facebook Depression," which is essentially a feeling of general malaise attributed to the constant comparison of one's own turbulent, unexciting existence to the seemingly glamorous and worry-free lives of their digital friends. But the reality is social media sites, for the most part, are a collection of people's finest moments. Nobody's going to post a picture of themselves in sweats cradling a gallon of Häagen-Dazs on a Saturday night or check in at the courthouse when finalizing their divorce.
The same could be said of holiday advertising, which would have us believe "Thanksgiving is easy with [insert major grocery store chain here]!" Except major grocery store chain didn't account for the oven breaking down, last-minute guests, or mothers-in-law. And their lovely, soft-lit ads never show the kitchen aftermath, gravy-stained everything, or a sink overflowing with every dish and utensil in the house.
Luckily, we have options. For those opting to forgo the sometimes harrowing experience of preparing a Thanksgiving feast next week -- or those hoping to pass off some of the finest food in Houston as their own -- Eating Our Words has compiled a list of local restaurants happy to handle the cooking for you, and even more that will take care of the cleaning too. Just remember, if you're looking to have a pro cook your meal, get your order in early. And if you're dining out on Turkey Day, advance reservations are a must.
Backstreet Cafe 1103 South Shepherd Dr., 713-521-2239 Cooking a turkey is time-consuming enough. Why not let Chef Hugo Ortega handle the sides. His New American concept is offering customer favorites like Cornbread and Andouille Sausage Dressing, Pumpkin Risotto, and Wine Poached Pears in portions to feed 6-8 or 12-15 people. Orders for November 23 must be placed by Monday, November 21.
Berryhill Baja Grill Multiple locations For holiday celebrations with Tex-Mex flair, Berryhill Baja Grill announces the return of Turkey Tamales. The seasonal favorites, served with spicy brown gravy, are available through January 1, 2012 for $14.99 for a dozen and $9.99, and perfect with the chain's Pumpkin Tres Leches, also on sale through New Year's Day. The company recommends placing orders well in advance (like now), or as they put it, "Order today or tamale may never come."
Goode Company Texas Barbeque Multiple locations Thank your lucky stars you live in Texas and treat your loved ones to a feast worthy of the Lone Star State with a Goode Company Mesquite Smoked Turkey with an old fashioned brown sugar cure ($60), one of their legendary Brazos Bottom Pecan Pies ($35), or both for only $90. Orders for November 23 must be placed by 1 p.m. on Monday, November 21.
Hugo's 1602 Westheimer, 713-524-7744 Celebrate el Día de Acción de Gracias with regional Mexican cuisine from one of Houston's most beloved restaurants. Options range from Chicken and Mole Tamales and Enchiladas Suizas to a whole suckling pig stuffed with apples and butternut squash puree. No me digas! Orders for November 23 must be placed by Monday, November 21.
Kenny & Ziggy's 2327 Post Oak Boulevard, 713-871-8883 In addition to a range of a la carte items that run the gamut of traditional Puritan to East European fare, the Galleria-area deli's Thanksgiving menu features a meal package for 12-15 people with a 20 lb. turkey, chestnut stuffing, homemade gravy, cranberry compote, and a choice of two sides for $160. Orders for November 23 must be placed by Wednesday, November 16.
Mandola Family Restaurants 2817 W. Dallas, 713-522-5120 Serve your loved ones an Italian-themed Thanksgiving feast from the Mandola Family Restaurants (Nino's, Grappino's, Vincent's) and they'll be saying "grazie mille." Choose from a variety of sides ranging from imported cheeses and roast vegetables to lump crab meat and shrimp, and forgo the turkey altogether with a Whole Spit Roasted Chicken, Roasted Beef or Pork Tenderloin, or Lasagna. Sides feed 6-10 and range from $16-$45, main courses feed up to 12 for $11-$135. All orders must be placed 48 hours in advance and picked up by November 23.
Mardi Gras Grille 1200 Durham, 713-864-5600 Spice up your celebration with a Cajun-style feast from Mardi Gras Grille. In addition to a 12-pound Original Cajun Fried Turkey and Secret Cajun Turkey Gravy -- which sounds absolutely freaking magical, by the way -- the Heights restaurant offers sides like Creole Dirty Rice, Zydeco Crawfish Cornbread, and Mashed NOLA Red Potatoes. Just don't forget the bread pudding. Orders for November 23 must be placed by 6 p.m. on Tuesday, November 22.
Mockingbird Bistro Wine Bar 1985 Welch, 713-533-0200 Mockingbird invites you to have a bistro-style Thanksgiving with meal packages for 2-4, 6-8, 8-10, and 10-15 ($180-$400) that include turkey, ham, and all the fixin's, as well as a variety of a la carte items. Orders must be placed before 2 p.m. on November 22 and may be picked up on Wednesday, November 23 or Thanksgiving Day between 10 a.m. and noon.
Ouisie's Table 3939 San Felipe, 713-528-2264 Famous for their upscale down-home cuisine, the River Oaks restaurant has an "Occupy Thanksgiving" turkey-day takeout menu even Paula Deen would swoon for. Choose from entrees for 10-20 like "Grilled Herb Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Brandied Sauce & The Works" and "Roasted Turkey with Gravy" and a variety of classic Southern dishes on the side. Orders for November 23 must be placed no later than Thursday, November 17.
Revival Market 550 Heights Blvd., 713-880-8463 Chef Ryan Pera and co. want to cut down on holiday stress by preparing all the Thanksgiving sides. The Heights-area grocery store-butcher shop-coffee bar offers vegetable, stuffing, and gravy options, extras like turkey brine concentrate and apple chutney, and a variety of desserts*. Just add turkey and you're good to go. *pies should be ordered no later than Sunday, November 20.
THANKSGIVING DAY - PRIX FIXE & A LA CARTE
Bistro Provence 13616 Memorial, 713-827-8008 The West Houston French Bistro imagines what Thanksgiving would be like if the pilgrims had worn berets with a choice of soup or salad; fish, beef, or fowl, and dessert. $19 - $25 per person
Branch Water Tavern 510 Shepherd, 713-863 - 7777 The Modern American tavern will hold a family-style feast with traditional fare (turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy) and a few more exotic selections (duck confit ravioli, Maine lobster, and homemade marshmallows). $40 adults / $20 children 12 and under
Brennan's of Houston 3300 Smith Street, 713-522-9711 Because nothing says Thanksgiving on the Bayou like turtle soup, gumbo, gulf oysters, and jumbo lump blue crab cakes -- Brennan's is offering a choice of starter, entree, and dessert from 11 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. $55 per person
Khun Kai Thai 1209 Montrose, 713-524-9614 The Montrose-area restaurant will honor both American and Thai traditions with a Thanksgiving Thai-key Dinner. The meal will feature a choice of "Thai-key" -- ground turkey breast, peppers, broccoli, and bamboo shoots with black sauce -- or "Thanksgiving Curry" and "Pumpkin Thai" dishes, both made with tender-cooked Thai pumpkin. Entrees range from $9-$12.95 and are available for dine-in, to-go, or delivery within a 15 mile radius.
Mockingbird Bistro Wine Bar 1985 Welch, 713-533-0200 Not a fan of the tryptophan coma? Opt for Chilean Sea Bass, Prime Rib Eye, or Roasted Leg of Lamb instead at Mockingbird's 3-course bistro feast from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. $59 adults / $25 children
Philippe 1800 Post Oak Blvd., 713-439-1000 Those seeking a French twist on the Thanksgiving feast can choose from the regular dinner menu or special holiday selections including Grain Fed, Free Range Organic turkey with Sweet Potato Flan, Sauteed Broccoli Rabe, Wild Mushroom Chestnut Stuffing, Wild Cranberry Relish, Baby Apple Stuffed with Celery and Walnuts, Madeira Gravy, Philippe's Coleslaw, and Homemade Cornbread - all for only $29. Oui oui!
Quattro at Four Seasons Houston Hotel 1300 Lamar, 713-276-4700 The traditional 3-course prix fixe menu, served from 5:30 to 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, offers a choice Butternut Squash Soup or Pumpkin and Amaretto Ravioli to start, Marinated Turkey Roulade, Double Lamb Chop or Gulf Snapper for entrees, and a Pumpkin tart for dessert. $58 adults / $29 children ages 6-12
THANKSGIVING DAY - BUFFET
Cadillac Bar's Thanksgiving Brunch 1802 Shepherd, 713-862-2020 $26.99 adults / $21.99 seniors / $9.99 children
InterContinental Hotel Houston Thanksgiving Brunch 2222 West Loop South, 713-627-7600, ext. 0 $55 adults / $25 children under 12
Omni Houston Westside Thanksgiving Day Brunch 13210 Katy Freeway, 281-558-8338 $51.95 adults / $44.95 seniors / $24.95 children 6-12
Quattro at Four Seasons Houston Hotel Thanksgiving Brunch Buffett 1300 Lamar, 713-276-4700 $77 adults / $35 children 6-12
Ristorante Cavour's Thanksgiving Brunch 1080 Uptown Park Blvd., 713-418-1104 $30 adults / $35 children 5-12
Hilton Resort Thanksgiving Buffet 5400 Seawall Blvd., 409-744-5000, ext. 724 $25.99 adults / $19.99 seniors / $9.99 children 6-12
Holiday Inn Resort Traditional Bountiful Buffet 5002 Seawall Blvd., 409-740-5300 $20.99 adults / $18.99 seniors / $14.99 children 5-12
Holiday Inn Resort Thanksgiving Dinner 5002 Seawall Blvd., 409-740-5300 $14.99 adults / $11.99 seniors / $9.99 children 5-12
Hotel Galvez Thanksgiving Brunch 2024 Seawall Blvd., 409-515-2145 $49.95 adults / $25.95 children 6-11
Moody Gardens Hotel Thanksgiving Buffet 1 Hope Boulevard, 409-741-8484 $38.95 adults / $29.95 seniors / $19.95 children 4-12 http://www.moodygardenshotel.com/i/downloads/Thanksgiving.pdf
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Thanksgiving Day Champagne Brunch at San Luis Resort 5222 Seawall Blvd., 800-392-5937 $49 adults / $25.95 children 6-12
For a list of open restaurants NOT serving Thanksgiving-themed fare on November 24, click here.