Tired of the same old turkey grind? Try one of these restaurants instead and you'll be thankful for more than just a great meal."Thanksgiving dinners take 18 hours to prepare. They're consumed in 12 minutes," observed the late, great humorist Erma Bombeck. Anyone who's ever served a Thanksgiving meal will attest to that. But there's no law that says Thanksgiving dinner has to be a homemade affair. If your kitchen is being renovated, if you happen to be away from home on Thanksgiving, or if you just want to turn in your turkey baster this year, we offer some suggestions on where to enjoy a sumptuous Thanksgiving feast away from home. The food is great, and if it takes 18 hours to prepare, well, it's someone else's 18 hours. So sit down, count your blessings, and give thanks ... that you won't have to clean up this year!
Saddle Peak Lodge
419 Cold Canyon Rd.
Nestled between Malibu and the San Fernando Valley, Saddle Peak Lodge pays homage to old Hollywood and the days when stars ventured up Old Malibu Road for a discreet dinner. The rustic stone-and-timber lodge, built in 1920, is magical with its large fireplaces, high wood-beam ceilings, and hunting trophies mounted on the walls - the antithesis of the sleek, modern decor that characterizes most L.A. restaurants. On Thanksgiving Day, Saddle Peak is especially cozy. Head chef Mark Murillo continues to prepare the restaurant's trademark venison and beef dishes, but in recent years he's added choices such as seared salmon for those who prefer to dine on less-gamy fare. "We want this to be a cozy, family experience," says managing director Gerhard Tratter. Dinner is served from noon until eight p.m., and parties of all sizes are welcome. Each course includes several choices, as well as a vegetarian option. Here's just one possible menu: butternut-squash soup with torn garlic croutons, fried sage, and pumpkin-seed oil; and free-range turkey with country stuffing, mashed garnet yams, green beans, and cranberry compote. For dessert: pumpkin pie with Tahitian vanilla whipped cream.
Price: $68 for adults and $32 for children under 12.