Thanksgiving week is one of my favorite times of the year, right up there with the Christmas week leading into New Year’s. The city gets quiet as people fly off to go ski in Aspen or swim in Cabo San Lucas. This is a marvelous week for the local businesses like Bay Cities, when chefs will be cramming in grabbing their Italian delicacies for the Thanksgiving dinner feasts.
As a boy I remember heading to the top of Mulholland for the feasts put on by my cousin Roger. It’s where I first learned to be a bartender at 12 – I recall my cousin Billy paying me to give him what were probably, horribly mixed alcoholic drinks. Ah, the beginnings of an entrepreneur – we make so many mistakes. But the true entrepreneur will stick with it and fight through the messes.
We have so many little shops in Santa Monica that are the product of hardscrabble entrepreneurs. This holiday season we should try to patronize them a bit more than usual to help them get through the end of the year and start off 2022 on the right foot.
When you are entertaining this year, putting out a nice charcuterie board with a selection of cured meats, cheeses, fruits and nuts is a great way to set a tone for a welcoming environment in your home where you don’t have to do too much. A board is a pretty simple thing to put together, a quick trip through the deli section at the Co-Op and you’ll have a nice selection of products. But, if you’re strapped for time, or creativity, I’d suggest you ring up Lady and Larder at 828 Pico and have them build and deliver a custom board for your party. Their creations are gorgeous, their reputation is amazing and they’ve been around for years so you can trust them to deliver the goods.
Another local superstar retail outlet is Andrew’s Cheese Shop on Montana Ave. and Lincoln Ave. next to Menchie’s. Andrew’s is known for its wide selection of flavorful and aromatic cheeses, meats and delicacies. I’ve stopped in for their premade sandwiches and never been disappointed. The staff is highly knowledgeable and I dare you to go in and not buy something – I know I can’t.
While you’re prepping for your party, you might want to do a run through Wally’s Wines on Wilshire at 2nd, they do charcuterie boards as well. Their wine selection is huge and if you have questions about what to pair with your menu, they can certainly help guide you in the right direction.
If you’re looking for that centerpiece to your meal, whether it’s a turkey or a prime rib, you might want to check out A Cut Above Butcher Shop on Santa Monica Blvd. and 24th St. for something that is not your usual Gelson’s or Ralph’s fare. Maybe you want to have those Tomahawk steaks or a frenched prime rib or lamb chops for your family – you can get it here. This great butcher shop is on Santa Monica Blvd next to Vito’s Pizza.
What would any holiday dinner be without some amazing desserts? Of course I’m gonna say that you should check out Rocco’s Cheesecake if you’re a cheesecake fan (and who isn’t?). For those who are looking for something a bit more traditional, there’s Sweet Lady Jane on Montana, La Monarca on Wilshire and Vanilla Bake Shop on Wilshire. If you want something a bit different, lighter and vegan, try out the Frozen Fruit Company on Montana across from Andrew’s Cheese Shop. They have amazing flavors and combinations and for those with a sweet tooth like mine, it’s a winner.
When you’re entertaining, or even just decorating your home for your family, it’s always nice to have fresh flowers and plants to bring a splash of color. On that front, I’d suggest that you check out Sammy’s Blossoms on Pico and Euclid (www.sammysblossom.com) to have a hometown boy prepare your floral arrangements and make your home feel a bit brighter.
All in all, we have lots of options for our holiday partying this year and we should take advantage of all of it! I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a joyful holiday season.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at email@example.com or 310/664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra