Five Great (Non-Traditional) Thanksgiving Courses

We crave turkey this time of year like our friends tweet Pumpkin Spice Latte updates. But our holiday fix shouldn't be confined to a couple of major holidays. Instead, we look for signs of merriment in alternative forms. Here are five of our favorite tastes.


1. Cranberry Shrub from The Bungalow

We kick things off with a drink, because everyone should! This one was christened over the weekend during a holiday cocktail competition. Of the three entrants, Tiffany Harding enchanted with a cranberry drinking vinegar that gave us warm fuzzies of our Portland vacation. The bourbon, champagne and bitters made it toast-worthy. Give us a candied berry garnish, and we are good to go until the next course. Her specialty beverage will be offered throughout the season at The Bungalow, and you don't need a reason to celebrate to order this sparkler.

2. Thanksgiving slider from The Burnt Truck

In lieu of heat-and-serve finger foods, how about a slider? Our three wise men guys keep it friendly and efficient on their luxe lonchera (we're still waiting on that brick-and-mortar, by the way). In addition to the shredded meat and cran jam, cornbread bratwurst stuffing and sage gravy cause us to order two . . .or more. Between the King's roll and tater tots, we could call it a day. But we carry on, thankful for more ways to gobble.

3. Thanksgiving taco from Taco Asylum

Our second helping of the other white meat is a handheld meal (because we're just plain busy to use a fork and knife, right?). At the asylum, we are prisoners to fried green beans and garlic mashers. We've heard of beer can chicken, but how about beer-braised turkey? The cranberry chutney and gravy may drip down your hand before you have time to pour on cayenne sauce, so extra napkins before you do.

4. Thank You Turkey from Which Wich

Sandwiches made from leftovers are inevitable, but our next course minimizes the wait for said leftovers to make their way to your fridge. Our preferred customizable sammich shop, we like marking up our bag with preferences. The base is meat, stuffing and cranberry sauce; that by itself is a good thing. We doctored ours with crispy onion strings, provolone, mayo and toasting it “skinny”. That's where they remove most of the bread inside our roll, saving us 90 calories and Jedi mind tricking us into having room for some house chips. Not the prettiest, but definitely more interesting than a sad plate of scraps.

5. Zucca gelato from Gelato Paradiso

After we reported their return to Fashion Island, we bee-lined to Gelato Paradiso for dessert. Nutella was so inviting, but we spotted our orange dream patiently waiting to be noticed. Most pumpkin flavors are served warm, but zucca was cool and creamy. The sweetest way to wrap up our meal, we will brave MacArthur roadwork for a loving spoonful.

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