There are many good reasons to outsource your Thanksgiving meal to a professional. Maybe you're a lazy home cook, or your kitchen isn't equipped for a big meal. Perhaps the dysfunctional families in Pieces of April and Home for the Holidays strike you as relatively well-adjusted. Any way you carve it, if you think dining out or ordering in sounds better than wrestling with a frozen Butterball, here are some frugal, stress-free suggestions.
DINE OUT at Sonsie, 327 Newbury Street, Boston. This chic Back Bay veteran offers an attractively priced Thanksgiving plate: roast turkey breast with all the fixings for a paltry $23. The regular à-la-carte menu is also available, plus the bar's usual assortment of birdbath-sized cocktails and the café's fabulous Newbury Street people-watching. Lunch is served from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm; dinner from 5 pm to 11 pm. Call 617.351.2500.
PICK UP from gourmet caterer Staff Meal, at their kitchen in the Sam Adams Brewery, 30 Germania Street, Jamaica Plain. For $35 per person, these former fine-dining chefs will wrap you up a pound of turkey in any of three preparations (e.g., breast roulade with mushroom duxelles farce), three sides from eight amazing options (e.g., truffled mashed potatoes, celery-root remoulade with tarragon, candied bacon sweet potatoes), gravy, rolls, and one of three desserts, like their famous foie gras baklava. If you haven't sampled Staff Meal's best-in-Boston food truck wares, take-home for Thanksgiving is your chance. Menu at staffmealboston.com/tday.pdf. Order by Tuesday, November 22, at 617.209.9244 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
DINE OUT at New Golden Gate, 66 Beach Street, Boston. This Chinatown Cantonese specialist does a worthy if not perfectly traditional version of "Chinese turkey," better known as Peking duck ($39.95, serves two to three). This platter of crisp, lacquered duck skin and meat is served with moo-shu pancakes: slather on some hoisin sauce and wrap it around some duck and scallions. It's crunchy, rich, fatty, sweet, and delicious, the antithesis of the typical dry, dull roast turkey. Get sautéed pea-pod stems ($12.95) and noodle soup with preserved vegetables and shredded duck ($11.95) to round out your feast. Call 617.338.7721.
RECOVER THE EVENING AFTER at Aura in the Seaport Hotel, One Seaport Lane, Boston, and bring the kids for a family-friendly post-Thanksgiving dinner on Friday, November 18, from 5:30 to 8 pm. Award-winning chef Rachel Klein offers a turkey-free three-course adult menu (e.g., cauliflower soup, roasted Statler chicken, and chocolate mousse parfait) at $30 per person. Meanwhile, kids can choose from three bento boxes (e.g., grilled chicken breast, lo mein, snap peas, broccoli, and cookies) for $14, and keep occupied with toys, a movie, and crafts. Call 617.385.4300.