Gourmet Live and BlogHer Road Trip: Thanksgiving Restaurants

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Thanksgiving Restaurants
As part of our monthly collaboration with Gourmet Live, we're hanging up our aprons and going cross-country to find the top restaurants serving up Turkey Day feasts.


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Bloggers' Favorite Restaurants for Thanksgiving Dinner
Susan Whetzel
Virginia Appalachians: Mountain Lake Hotel
This stunning stone hotel, made famous by the movie Dirty Dancing, sits high in the mountains. Its elegant yet family-friendly restaurant offers wide-open views, courteous service, and meals to please. Thanksgiving dinner features a home style buffet, complete with turkey, gravy, dressing, and all the sides one would hope to see on the family table, but prepared by talented chefs.

-- Susan Whetzel, Doughmestic

Julie Ross Godar
San Francisco, CA: Ame
I can't imagine a better backdrop for fall flowers than the striking red wall, dark wood and sculptural fireplace at Ame's chic South of Market space -- nor a better twist on Thanksgiving flavors than the harmonious French-Italian-Japanese treatment that chef-owners Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani bring to everything at their Michelin-starred restaurant. Like most meals at Ame, the five-course Thanksgiving tasting menu starts with a little something from the raw bar; in this case, hamachi crudo with a persimmon-radish salad. Foie-stuffed quail stands in for turkey, but the sides are classic Thanksgiving: buttermilk mashed potatoes, cranberry compote, and crispy Brussels sprouts, with a bourbon-sauced pecan pie to end the night. Make reservations, like, NOW, but if you miss it: Hurray, they're serving on Christmas and New Year's Eve, too.

-- Julie Ross Godar, executive editor, BlogHer

Carolyn Cope
Hoboken, NJ: Amanda's
To celebrate Thanksgiving at a local restaurant, I'd head straight to Amanda's. For me, Thanksgiving is about enjoying family, tradition, and great food and wine in a relaxed but festive environment. Amanda's has all of those qualities in spades. Situated in an historic Hoboken row house with tons of original detailing like tin ceilings and ornate moldings, it's both family-friendly and elegant. The food is just the right mix of traditional, modern, and seasonal -- pumpkin bisque with roasted pumpkin oil drizzle, or gorgonzola and walnut ravioli with sun-dried cranberries and sage to start your Thanksgiving meal, anyone? And Amanda's takes equal care with its wine lists and pairings, which is a rarity in Hoboken.

-- Carolyn Cope, Umami Girl

Seattle, WA: ART
One of my favorite Seattle restaurants for the holidays is ART restaurant. Chef Kerry Sear does amazing things with local and seasonal ingredients. ART's Thanksgiving menu always provides a variety of options that are sure to please whether you're an adventurous eater or a stickler for turkey and stuffing.

-- Diana Johnson, Dianasaur Dishes

Feast on the Cheap
Since Bronxville is only one square mile, you'd think this sleepy little village outside New York City would be a wasteland for fine dining, but think again. Underhill's Crossing has become the town's go-to location for Manhattan-caliber fare, minus any Manhattan pretense. Dishing up inventive nouvelle American cuisine in a cozy, townhouse-like setting, the restaurant is intimate, inventive and inviting, drawing upon fresh seasonal ingredients to spruce up classics. In all the years we've lived nearby, we've never had a bad meal and the service is always second to none. And while nothing beats Nana's chocolate gateau, Underhill's sac au chocolate isn't to be missed.

-- Mariel and Mary Anne, Feast on the Cheap

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Thanksgiving Recipe:
Melanie Mendelson
Chicago, IL: Allgauer's
We went here for Thanksgiving two years in a row -- it's the best place for holiday dinner in the Chicago area! Allgauer's has a huge buffet with all the traditional dishes: turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, cornbread and pumpkin pie -- alongside a variety of other offerings like crab legs, shrimp cocktail, prime rib, poached salmon, salads and appetizers. The dessert table has about 20 different sweets, all artfully prepared and tasty. The quality of the buffet is what you get at a fine restaurant. The ambience is also very nice -- the tables have white tablecloths and the service is outstanding. Thanksgiving buffet at Allgauer's is extremely popular, so be sure to make your reservations far in advance!

-- Melanie Mendelson, Melanie Cooks

Los Angeles, CA: Catalina Kitchen
If I could have Thanksgiving dinner in a local restaurant, I would pick Catalina Kitchen, in the Terranea L.A.'s Oceanfront Resort in Palos Verdes, for its wide variety of appetizers and side dishes and a traditional family-style Thanksgiving dinner followed by a dessert buffet. It's a beautiful restaurant with an oceanfront view and a relaxing atmosphere -- and the quality of food and service is exceptional. If that doesn't sound perfect, I don't know what is.

-- Amy, u Try it

Nikki Art Lemons
Sunderland, MA: Blue Heron Restaurant
When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, I have four basic rules: one, spend time with family and friends; two, serve turkey, gravy, and cranberry sauce, a la Grandma; three, roast Fall vegetables; and four, cook local seasonal produce. Dining out is no different which is why Chef Deborah Snow's kitchen at the Blue Heron (in the Old Town Hall in Sunderland, Massachusetts) fits into my favorite holiday. As a graduate of the “Nana School of Culinary Arts,” Snow learned to cook from various cultural traditions, as many of us have. The two-story restaurant is ample yet cozy with a crackling fire, extensive wine list, and buffet-style Thanksgiving menu where soup to dessert is laid out for the choosing and may include seasonal dishes such as fall vegetable bisque, roasted vegetable salad, orange maple whipped squash, and apple cranberry crisp, among many others. One thing is certain: All the warmth and comfort reminiscent of our holiday traditions will be served by the heaving plateful.

-- Nikki Gardner, Art and Lemons

Jaime Good Eats Sweet Treats
I'd love to have Thanksgiving dinner at any of the locations of this cute, consistently good southern chain of "country French" cafes. There's a wide variety of food for everyone, from pasta to cold sandwiches to savory crepes. Around Thanksgiving time, they make the most delicious risotto with moist chunks of turkey breast, dried cranberries, and scallions. What I love most about La Madeleine, though, is their desserts. So many to choose from! Rich and creamy cheesecake, fresh fruit tarts, tiramisu, decadent Sacher tortes... the list goes on and on!

-- Jaime, Good Eats and Sweet Treats

See all the blogger-recommended places on the Gourmet Live and BlogHer Road Trip so far. And for 10 more exclusive Thanksgiving restaurants and recipes, download the free Gourmet Live app -- now for the iPhone! -- or visit the road trip on on Gourmet.com and on the Gourmet Live blog now.

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