Whether you're hosting family and friends for a huge Thanksgiving production or want to celebrate the harvest by having someone else do the cooking and cleaning for you, we've put together seven ways to enjoy the holiday and get everything you need — from the main course to dessert or skipping all of that to eat out — by staying local in Toronto's east end
FREE-RANGE TURKEY AT OLLIFFE
Olliffe is taking pre-orders for wonderful Thanksgiving birds. This holiday, the Queen East butcher shop, is sourcing two kinds of free-range turkeys.
The first, from Elm Valley Farms in Arthur, Ont., are "always fresh, never frozen free-run turkeys with ample barn space," says Olliffe's Sam Gundy. "Naturally raised without antibiotics and air chilled, which results in a superior bird that is tender and cooks very evenly offering a true turkey taste. Sure, you can buy a $0.99 Butterball, but it has been frozen since last winter and is water-chilled, resulting in the muscles being dense with water and a huge loss of yield during cooking."
Price is $6.50/lb., and the turkeys range from 10 to 21 lbs. "Any bigger just ain’t natural."
Olliffe is also taking orders on turkeys from Howick Community Partners in Huron County, Ont. 100 per cent raised on pasture, the turkeys are free to “scratch in their pens,” Gundy says. "The pens are moved daily resulting in a very high degree of humane handling. Fed organic feed and never given antibiotics, the turkey has the true taste like your grandparents would remember. This is the last call for pastured poultry as all chickens and turkeys will be moved indoors until the spring." Sizing 14 to 17 lb. at $7/lb. | 1378 Queen St. E | olliffe.ca
ORGANIC PRODUCE AT RAISE THE ROOT
Leslieville's organic grocer, Raise The Root, is carrying all of the Thanksgiving classics you need to round out your dinner in the veggie department. Seasonal vegetables, all grown in Ontario, include Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, pumpkin, turnip, sweet potatoes, butternut and spaghetti squash, Macintosh and Gala apples, celeriac, parsnip, yellow and red potatoes, blue fingerling potatoes and green and red cabbage. The shop also has fresh cranberries from Quebec and Honey Crisp apples from BC. Farmer's Market canned pumpkin is on sale for $3.49 and Wholly Wholesome pie shells are on sale next week for $4.99.
PARTY PLATTERS AT SANDY ALEKSANDER
Across the street at Sandy Aleksander, the friendly folks will help you pull out all the stops for your get-together. Few things wow guests more than a stunning charcuterie board, and the shop has a spectacular selection of specialty cured meats and pate to go along with their artisanal cheeses. They'll arrange a platter for you or you can pick and choose a la carte.
The shop also preps ready-to-cook meals free of preservatives — just pop them in the oven and done like dinner. Bring home pot pies, lasagnas and sides like their roasted root veggies or mac 'n chese with (or without) double-smoked bacon. | 1183 Queen St. E | sandyaleksander.ca
DECADENT DESSERT AT SWEET BLISS
Sweet Bliss is perhaps best known for its scones and cupcakes that fill the outside air with delicious scents, but right now the Queen East bake shop is taking orders on a limited run of "wicked-good" pumpkin pies. Place your order before Oct. 2 if you're looking to put the cap your Thanksgiving dinner in sweet style. All of the baked goods at Sweet Bliss are made from scratch in the bakery's back kitchen with pure, natural ingredients. The shop is only open Thursday through Sunday, so make sure you pay them a visit early before they sell out. | 1304 Queen St. E | sweetblissleslieville.com
TURKEY DINNER AT EDWARD'S 1290 AND THE ROY
If you're orphaned this holiday or simply don't want to step one foot in your kitchen for fear of the overwhelming sweat and headache that comes with prepping, cooking and cleaning up Thanksgiving dinner, then skip the fuss altogether.
Instead, head down to Edward's 1290 and get stuffed on a prix-fixe feast mom would approve of. Start with green tomato and beet pickles, and sage-cheddar biscuits with apple butter. Next comes two appetizer options: apple and golden beet salad or roast onion soup. From there, Edward's is carving up roast turkey breast and gravy with sweet and sour Brussel sprouts, spaghetti squash, mash potato and mushroom stuffing. Finish with pumpkin pie, all for $46 per person on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the holiday weekend. Make your reservation now as it's known to sell out. | 1290 Queen St. E | edwardlevesque.ca
Likewise, The Roy Public House is also plating turkey dinner with all of the holiday fixings including stuffing, mashed potato, veggies, gravy and cranberry sauce for just $18.95 per person on both Sunday and Monday from 5 p.m. on. | 894 Queen St. E | theroy.ca
For the plant-based crowd, Raise The Root is stocking Gardein Vegan Holiday Roast, an alternative taste of cranberry wild rice stuffing with homestyle gravy that can serve up to 8 people. | 1164 Queen St. E | Raise The Root on Facebook
Order your smoked salmon and smoked trout now from Kristapsons in order to avoid disappointment. The Leslieville-based institution, which cold smokes its fish, says it's gearing up for a busy October and is ready to take orders for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Thanksgiving. | 1095 Queen St. E | kristapsons.com
Beyond its free-run turkeys, Olliffe is also selling roasts and racks — beef tenderloin, prime rib roast, country ham and leg of lamb to name a few. The Leslieville butcher also carries wild boar, bison prime rib, venison rack and even trap-line caught wild hare. They also stock plenty of stuffing, sides, sauces and gravies. | 1378 Queen St. E | olliffe.ca