There’s Thanksgiving … and then there’s Portland Thanksgiving. And while there’s nothing wrong with a Butterball Turkey, white rolls and cranberry sauce out of a can, for some people, living in Portland means we have an inner maniacal Michelin chef just yearning to break free on this high holy day of food. Here are some tips for taking advantage of the bounty the Pacific NW has to offer.
- Take the family to tour wine country before the big day. Dundee and its multiple wineries are just an hour outside of town.
- Urban wineries right here in Portland. (Urban Crush, SE Wine Collective.)
- Got a question? The helpful staff at Vino can point you to the perfect bottle.
- On the west side, Pearl Specialty Market & Spirits has a fabulous selection of spirits and beyond for home mixologists. Local Big Bottom Whiskey? Amarena cherries? An exotic sweet vermouth (like Byrrh)? They’ve got you covered. Plus, they also have a cigar room.
- East siders, check out Hollywood Beverage and Hawthorne Liquor, which has a nice selection of giant 1.75 L bottles for bulk holiday cheer.
- On Wednesday, get a growler from the Captured Beer Bus at the food carts on SE 28th Ave. (one block south of Burnside.) They’ve got a great, local selection. And while you’re at it, treat yourself to the insanely tasty falafel pita at the Egyptian Brothers right next door!
- And/Or … dazzle your more adventurous guests with a bottle of puckery sour beer brewed by Cascade Barrel House.
- Cheese from Pastaworks at Providore. If I’m being honest, you can get almost every fancy thing you need for the whole day at Providore, a new-ish gourmet marketplace located on NE Sandy. (Meat, seafood, bread, flowers.) Pastaworks also makes massive sheets of focaccia (with or without whole garlic cloves) that make for a refreshing twist on the pass-around basket of rolls.
- Olives and other pickled delights from Zupan’s. Got a Thanksgiving pescatarian on the way? Check out the gorgeous NW salmon in the deli.
- Place your local, free-range turkey order at New Seasons here. In addition to the big bird, you can pre-order ham, seafood, vegetarian mains, stuffing kits, and sides.
- When most people hear “Tofurky Roast” they laugh. That is, until they try one that’s been properly prepared (marinated and herb-roasted.) Made right down the road in Hood River, Tofurkys are truly delicious and this is coming from a meat-eater. They’re available at Trader Joe’s, Fred Meyer, New Seasons, Whole Foods and should run around $10-$12 and can feed about 8 people. Their best-kept secret is the wild-rice stuffing snuggled within. I suggest following the directions on the box and roasting onions and carrots with it. Then make the nutritional yeast-based gravy (easy) and watch the carnivores suddenly take interest.
- Grand Central Bakery is the spot for pies, namely … Bourbon Pecan. They also have apple, pumpkin and marionberry pies. But like I said, Bourbon Pecan. Grand Central also has U-Bake pies, doughs, and pie crusts. But then again, they also have Bourbon. Pecan. Pie.
- Vegan or Gluten-Free? Check out Petunia’s Pies & Pastries downtown. They’re taking orders now!
VEGAN/ VEGETARIAN BONUS TIPS
- Portland was ranked the #1 Vegan-friendly city by PETA in 2016. So chances are, if you plan to attend or host a Thanksgiving feast, there’s going to be a vegan or vegetarian (or ten) in attendance. Don’t let making meatless options intimidate you, let them inspire!
- Here’s a hot tip that will surprise and delight a vegan in attendance: Get Earth Balance and soy milk. Earth Balance is a tasty butter substitute. It can be found in a little yellow tub in the refrigerated case at most grocery stores near the fake meats and vegetarian staples.
- Soy milk is nice to have on hand for vegan coffee-drinkers. Plus, soy milk and Earth Balance can easily be used to make a side batch of vegan mashed potatoes.
- Veganize dressings and dips by using Veganaise in place of mayo and sour cream.
- Stuffing? Replace turkey drippings with veggie broth.
Got a Thanksgiving tip for me? I’d love to hear it! Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone!