Nothing gives Bite Club a bigger bellyache than poor Thanksgiving planning. This year, we're helping witless cooks--like ourselves--get the jump on reservation-only Turkey Day dinners with a no-nonsense guide to a few holiday hotspots.
Paley's Place 1204 NW 21st Ave., 243-2403. 2:30-8:30 pm. $21.
Eugene's Heritage Farms rears organic birds especially for chef Vitaly Paley's traditional holiday spread. Bonus: Paley's offers half-portions of many dishes, allowing gluttons to engage in some major free-range menu grazing.
Rheinlander 5035 NE Sandy Blvd., 288-5503. 11 am-8 pm. $15-$25.
Come for the $16 Bavarian turkey dinner dressed with sweet and mashed potatoes, green beans and that trademark fondue. Stay for the singing, swingin' accordion players.
Higgins 1239 SW Broadway, 222-9070. 1-7:30 pm. $45 adults, $22.50 kids under 12.
Holiday love for every palate: Greens-lovin' chef Greg Higgins is serving a five-course prix fixe meal featuring a lush vegetarian risotto, salad and savory soup for veg-heads, while meat junkies can salivate over main course choices of pork, salmon or--of course--turkey with all the fixins.
The Heathman Restaurant 1001 SW Broadway, 790-7752. 11 am-4 pm buffet, 11:30 am-7:30 pm prix fixe dinner. $41 adults, $14 kids under 12.
Have your pie and eat it, too: Celebrate in old-school luxury with a monster midday buffet (we're talkin' turkey, pecan pie and raw oysters!) or sit down for a four-course dinner featuring slow-cooked lamb and bison.
Salty's on the Columbia 3839 NE Marine Drive, 288-4444. 11 am-6 pm. $32.95 adults, $1.50 per year of age up to 10.
This Columbia River retreat wins the Turkey Day prize for biggest buffet menu--a 29-item belly-buster that runs the culinary gamut from prawns and poached cod with tomatillo sauce to veggies with ranch dressing, thyme stuffing and mini pumpkin pies.
Whole Foods 1210 NW Couch St., 525-4343. $99.99 full dinner (serves 6-8), $54.99 half (serves 2-4). Order by Monday, Nov. 22.
Get stuffed sans fuss: Meatless eaters can celebrate with a vegan dinner for four, which includes stuffed field roast, black rice salad and saffron-poached pears. Carnivores can pre-order roasted ranch turkey with fixins like roasted garlic mashers and cranberry relish.
Elephants Delicatessen 13 NW 23rd Place, 299-6304. Order by 3 pm Monday, Nov. 22, for pickup Wednesday, Nov. 24. Orders must be prepaid.
Play "gourmet slave chained to the stove" but serve savory Elephants sides (yams with apricot nectar and pecans, tomato-orange soup, peas with mint) and French apple pie. Oh, yes, you can also order a turkey (sliced or whole).
Gartner's Country Meats 7450 NE Killingsworth St., 252-7801.
The phone has already been "ringing off the hook" for this Northeast Portland protein nirvana's chemical-free, organic Northwest Natural turkeys. Get yer order in ASAP for turkeys ranging from 9 to 34 pounds--all priced $1.29 a pound.
Wineology Weekend www.gatewaytooregonwines.com. Noon, 2 and 4 pm Friday-Sunday, Nov. 26-28. $20.
Drink the weekend! Ditch the Willamette Valley to study northern vines with Washington County's Wineology Weekend. For $29, "students" will receive eight wine classes, a Riedel "O" glass, course syllabus and a lotta grape juice from wineries such as Ponzi Vineyards. Classes range from terroir seminars to a sushi-chef crash course at Momokawa, the Pacific Northwest's only sakéry. And those spiffy student ID-cards? They'll land you discounts on, ahem, education supplies.
A hearty thanks to WW interns Dominic Luxford and Amy McCullough, who helped digest info for the week's column!
Your secret cooking weapon this holiday: www.turkeyhelp.com. The experts at Cook's Illustrated have roasted thousands of turkeys, all so you can make your own perfect bird this year. Plus, check out idiot-proof recipes for sides and pro-caliber carving techniques. Better than calling Mom long-distance.