The Ins and Outs of Nailing Thanksgiving in Sacramento
Regardless of its sordid connotation with American Indian displacement, it’s hard to deny that Thanksgiving is one of the most enjoyable holidays. It is a prime opportunity to slow down, contemplate and express gratitude, spend quality time with family and loved ones, show off your culinary skills and stuff your face.
Turkey Day has also come a long way from its Norman Rockwell-era canned green bean casseroles and cranberry sauces, stuffing from a box and overcooked frozen turkeys. These days, and in America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital, Sacramentans have a cornucopia of resources close at hand to make this year the best Thanksgiving ever. The list below is limited by word count constraints, and is by no means inclusive of the many other inspired local businesses, for which to be thankful.
FOR THE CHEF
This is the year: you’re going to prepare a feast for the record books. But your carefully concocted provisions are only as good as the ingredients with which they were prepared. Here are some places to stock up or learn something new, so you can bust out a meal that will put Suzy Homemaker herself to shame.
Branigan’s Turkey Farm
39621 Co Rd 24A, Woodland
In addition to the obvious fact that fresh, local food just tastes better, did you know that big business meat-packing companies use shady ingredients like saline to beef up weight so they can further profit from a cut of meat, while upping your sodium intake? And utilize low doses of arsenic, which is a poison, to make the color of the meat appear fresher? Play it safe, get a better tasting bird and keep your money within our local economy by supporting Branigan’s Turkey Farm. Family-owned and operated since 1942, their turkeys are available at stores throughout the area, or you can order from the farm directly.
Preservation & Co.
1717 19th Street, Suite B, Sacramento
Originally launched into the limelight with his award-winning Bloody Mary recipe, Jason Poole is no one-trick pony. His sauces, seasoned salts, pickled goods and cocktail mixes put the special in specialty. Preservation and Co. also carries other regionally made goods for spicing up your kitchen cupboard, offers cooking classes and sells cool aprons so you can look the part while giving your guests the performance of a lifetime.
Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op
1900 Alhambra Boulevard, Sacramento
If you ain’t got time for shopping around all over the place and need a one-stop market to get everything you need for Thanksgiving, the Co-op is your go-to. Boasting the first 100 percent organic produce department in the nation, SNFC also has a no-GMO, all-natural food buying policy. The robust meat, cheese, wine, beer, bulk, grocery, deli and kitchenware sections cover all your bases, while natural medicines in the wellness section will help you digest after overeating. Additionally, fun and affordable cooking classes broaden your skillset in the kitchen.
FOR FRIENDSGIVING (OR THE LAZY)
Invited to a Friendsgiving potluck or a family Thanksgiving where you aren’t responsible for cooking the whole shebang? Show some manners and bring something fancy, but effortless. Or maybe you’re not interested in getting out of your pajamas, socializing, cooking or washing dishes, but still want to feast? That’s cool, we’ve got you covered.
5810 Folsom Boulevard, Sacramento
You can hardly call yourself a Sacramentan if you haven’t paid a visit to this local main staple. Famed for their beer, wine and specialty foods selection, Corti Brothers is a homegrown grocery store and deli in East Sacramento founded in 1947. Their aforementioned deli is killer, and makes for a great place to order a charcuterie or veggie tray that is far and away on another level than what you’d get at Safeway. Impress friends, family or yourself with your good taste, and shop Corti Brothers’ unique craft beer and artisan wine offerings.
5340 H Street, Sacramento
Selland’s is, in this writer’s opinion, Sacramento’s best place to get breakfast, lunch or dinner without going for broke. And—shut the front door—they have a full Turkey Day catering menu. You can sit on your ass while you piece together your perfect meal from the catering options menu, get off your ass and go pick it up, then go right back to sitting on your ass the whole holiday while you go in on the top-notch cuisine Selland’s serves up. Orders must be placed by the Friday before Thanksgiving at 3 p.m., and picked up by appointment the day prior. Bonus! Thanksgiving catering orders entitle you to 15 percent off all bottles of wine in Selland’s Wine Shop, too.
26295 Mace Boulevard, Davis
My best friend turned me on to Ikeda’s by appointing it our pre-hike meeting spot in Auburn this summer on our way to Stevens Creek Trail. I was so impressed with their pie selection—I mean, they have every kind of pie you can think of—that I made a mental note to stop at one of their regional locations prior to Thanksgiving. I like to cook on Thanksgiving, but I leave the baking to someone else. The expression “easy as pie” is a lie and must have been coined by some smug asshole. You can plan on Ikeda’s selection of well-executed pies getting picked over leading up to the holiday, but the good news is that they welcome you to call ahead early in the day, order your favorite, and they’ll bake and hold it for you.
BEST WAYS TO EARN THOSE EXTRA CALORIES
Turkey Day doesn’t have to mean your pants aren’t going to fit anymore. Pig out, guilt-free with these two annual events. In fact, research shows that aerobic exercise curbs appetite, so you’re less likely to overeat if you start your day by getting your juices flowing.
Run to Feed the Hungry
Register at Runtofeedthehungry.com
Entering its 22nd year, this annual fundraising event is now the largest Thanksgiving run of its kind in the country—around 30,000 people participate each year. Managed by and benefiting Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, this 10K run or 5K run/walk will make you feel good spiritually as well as physically as you race through East Sacramento.
Sacramento Appetite Enhancement Thanksgiving Bike Ride
Friend “Sacramento Appetite Enhancement Thanksgiving Day Bike Ride” on Facebook
Celebrating its 28th year, the Appetite Enhancement Thanksgiving Day Bike Ride is as much a party as it is a workout. In fact, it’s usually wrapped up with many of its participants plunging into the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers. Rad bikes, raffles, ciders from local brewer Two Rivers and more are part and parcel of this grassroots ride.
TIME TO DITCH THE FAMILY
OK, we love our families, but after a while, they get on our nerves. That’s why we all moved out. You’ve paid your dues, suffered through your dad telling the same damn story for the umpteenth time, lied through your teeth that you adored your grandma’s fruitcake and appeased your mom by watching the passage of oversized, inflatable banal that is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Now, it’s time for a drink. These few bars below are known for staying open on Thanksgiving. A lot of bars play it by ear each year, so we suggest asking your favorite haunts what they have planned for this Thanksgiving.