Food

Holiday Helpers, part two

They make it, you take it

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

A lot can change in a week. When we printed a Holiday Helpers list in last Wednesday’s paper comprised of businesses who’d stepped up to the plate to sell pre-made Thanksgiving dinners and a variety of sides, it was before Governor Jay Inslee had put the kibosh on indoor restaurant dining for a month in an attempt to slow the alarming surge of coronavirus cases in Washington state.

What this means for local eateries, coffeeshops, bars and bakeries is that unless they have outdoor seating options that comply with current COVID health and safety guidelines, they’ll be depending on a steady stream of takeout and delivery orders from their customers to help survive the latest pandemic-related shutdowns—which took effect for restaurants Wed., Nov. 18 and continue (for now) until Mon., Dec. 14 and include additional restrictions on everything from indoor social gatherings to fitness facilities, movie theaters, museums, weddings and funerals, long-term care facilities, professional services and more.

Given that travel restrictions are also in effect, your Thanksgiving dinner table is likely to look different than usual this year. But if you can help local businesses by outsourcing some of your modified meal plans for the holidays, it’ll be a win-win situation for everyone. In addition to supporting venues you’d like to still be able to frequent once restrictions are lifted, the rewards are also sure to be delicious.

To that end, I’d like to remind readers of some of the still-available suggestions from last week, which included Old World Deli’s array of high-end meats, cheeses, wines and assorted accoutrements; Burnt Ends Barbecue’s heat-and-serve Big Dinner and Turkey Feed offerings (order by Fri., Nov. 20); Lombardi’s Italian Restaurant four-person dinner packages (pick up on Weds., Nov. 25); and Great Harvest Bread Co.‘s) array of dinner rolls, breads and sugar and cookie dough that can be found in the three days preceding turkey day.

Since that list was published, I’ve uncovered even more options for those looking for holiday help, including a sweet deal at Simmering Tava (http://www.simmeringtava.com). The State Street eatery with an emphasis on Indian food is offering a Thanksgiving Family Meal meant to feed as many as eight people. Included in the price is an organic whole chicken with scratch-made tandoori spices alongside stuffing, sweet potato mash, coconut and peas pilaf, cranberry sauce with molasses, and dessert.

Just up the street, you’ll find more epicurean enticements at Cosmos Bistro (http://www.bellinghamcosmosbistro.com). The drool-worthy Family Dinner menu consists of cider-brined turkey breast with turkey gravy or polenta-stuffed butternut squash and vegan mushroom gravy as a main, alongside cranberry orange sauce, wild rice stuffing, multigrain rolls, rosemary roasted potatoes, maple-glazed sweet potatoes, roasted seasonal veggies, a fall salad, pumpkin pie with ginger whip, and a bottle of red or white wine. Pre-order online by Fri., Nov. 20, and pick up your goodies Weds., Nov. 25.

A couple blocks up, Pepper Sisters (http://www.peppersisters.com) is currently taking orders for scratch-made apple or pumpkin pies served with a side of altruism. The nine-inch desserts are $23 each, with all proceeds being donated to the Lhaq’temish Foundation, which supports cultural, social and economic abundance for the people of Lummi Nation.

Pies can also be purchased in advance of the big day at the Old Town Cafe (http://www.theoldtowncafe.com). Pumpkin and maple pecan pies are on the menu, but that’s not all. The Holly Street breakfast staple has recently opened an online pantry, so those craving a pre- or post-Thanksgiving morning repast can order up the restaurant’s signature home fries, black beans, pancake batter, sauces and more to reheat at their conveniences (and no, ordering mushroom tahini gravy for your home-cooked turkey isn’t cheating). Heads up: due to COVID restrictions, the restaurant won’t be serving its annual free Thanksgiving dinner, but plans to continue the tradition in 2021.

Additionally, a “Celebrations Made Easy” announcement recently came from Bellingham’s Community Food Co-op (http://www.communityfood.coop). Mix-and-match your options, whether you’re ordering a pre-made Thanksgiving Dinner for four or one or more of the a la carte menu items such as maple-glazed squash, mashed sweet potatoes with pecans, smashed potatoes or one of many desserts sourced from the Co-op Bakery (my money’s on the pumpkin cheesecake). It should go without saying, but vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free menu items can also be had.

Boundary Bay Brewery (http://www.bbaybrewery.com) is also getting in on the action, with meal kits of various sizes being offered. Whether you’re ordering an entire turkey and sides, a vegetarian Thanksgiving plan, drunkin’ pumpkin pies, wine, six-packs or growlers, the Railroad Avenue brewpub has your back. Plus, delivery options are available, so you can stay safe and be well-fed.

Finally, my research has uncovered yet another family-style offering available for pickup at Hotel Bellwether’s Lighthouse Grill (http://www.hotelbellwether.com). The dinner is meant to feed four people, and includes free-range roast turkey breast and braised turkey leg, gravy, potato puree, roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls and a full pumpkin pie for dessert. Orders are limited, so don’t delay.

UPCOMING EVENTS

[Wed., Nov. 18]

FOOD FORUM: Join the Whatcom Food Network for its online Fall Forum, “Where Are We Now? COVID Responses in our Local Food System,” from 2pm-4pm on Zoom. The interactive event will focus on community responses to the COVID crisis; with a mix of presentations and small-group discussions to maximize information-sharing, strategic conversations, and collaboration across sectors. Participants will discuss food systems inequities and gaps that have either arisen or become exacerbated during the pandemic, and hear about groups that have coalesced to address them. Entry is free; please register in advance.
For more info: http://www.whatcomfoodnetwork.org

[Sat., Nov. 21]

HOLIDAY MARKET: Anacortes Farmers Market will host an open-air Holiday Market at the Depot from 10am-4pm at the Depot Arts Center, 611 R Ave. In addition to shopping for food sourced from local farmers in advance of Thanksgiving, the event will also features handmade gifts, door prizes, a 50-50 raffle, a cafe, warm drinks and more.
For more info: http://www.anacortesfarmersmarket.org

BELLINGHAM MARKET: Attend the Bellingham Farmers Market from 10am-2pm Saturdays through December at the Depot Market Square, 1100 Railroad Ave. At the modified market, social distancing is strongly enforced, patrons are not allowed to touch the food, and a limited number of vendors are allowed on site. Entertainment, music and eating areas have been suspended until further notice, and masks are mandatory. Please stay home if you are sick, and be prepared with small bills to offer exact change to vendors when possible.
For more info: http://www.bellinghamfarmers.org

[Nov. 21-22]

BLAINE MARKET: Find fresh produce and herbs, homemade pastries, jams and jellies, coffee beans and grounds, a variety of face masks, unique treasures and gifts and more at a Blaine Indoor Farmers Market taking place from 10am-2pm Saturdays and 10am-4pm Sundays through December. Due to social distancing requirements, vendor booths will be spread out.
For more info: http://www.blainechamber.com

[Tues., Nov. 24]

DOCKSIDE MARKET: Bellingham SeaFeast, the Port of Bellingham, and the Working Waterfront Coalition of Whatcom County have joined forces for a Bellingham Dockside Market happening most Saturdays at Gate 5 or 7 at Squalicum Harbor—today’s event taking place from 2pm-4:30pm is meant to help out shoppers in advance of Thanksgiving. Product availability and sale dates will vary; the operation of the market will reflect the dynamic circumstances local fisher-folks navigate. Check the market’s Facebook page prior to sale days to see what sort of fresh seafood will be on the menu.
For more info: http://www.bellinghamdockside.org

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