November 18, 2009 (San Diego's East County) - If you don't want to cook this Thanksgiving, you'll find an array of sumptuous holiday repasts in San Diego and East County. Choose from an old-fashioned feast amid rustic rural charm, a football fan's favorite, a bountiful budget buffet, a potluck at an outdoor retreat, or a Thanksgiving Day jazz festival to liven up your holiday.
Feast in the forest: Pine Hills Lodge, Julian
Enjoy fine dining amid a rustic woodlands retreat in Julian at the Pine Hills Lodge, where you're likely to glimpse wild turkeys in the woods outside. The Inn serves Thanksgiving dinner with seating at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Menu includes roast tom turkey and imported smoked ham with mango glaze, carrot and ginger soup, Kensington salad, Tenessee candied baked yams, dressing, and more. Cost: $40 per person. Reservations are required. Call (760) 765-1100. The inn is located at 2962 La Posada Way, Julian. See www.pinehillslodge.com for details.
Football Fans’ Favorite: Cali Comfort Restaurant & Sports Bar, Spring Valley
Watch holiday football games on wide-screen TVs and cheer on your favorite team with fellow sports fans, also savoring a hearty, home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner at Cali Comfort Restaurant and Sports Bar, 8910 Troy St. in Spring Valley. Reservations recommended; call (619)337-0670 and visit www.calicomfortsd.com for more information. You can also read the East County Eater’s recent review of Cali’s at http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/2228.
Thanksgiving Campout and Potluck Party: Sacred Rocks Reserve, Boulevard
Nature walks, star-gazing, a nature scavenger hunt , community bonfire and labyrinth gratitude walk are all part of the fun at Sacred Rocks’ Thanksgiving potluck—served in the clubhouse, where guests can also watch football on TV. Later, cozy up with hot cocoa beside a campfire. Owners provide turkey and ham; guests are asked to bring a favorite holiday side dish to share, beverages, plates and utensils. Buy two nights and get one free with this coupon from East County Magazine: http://www.sacredrocksreserve.com/rvpark/clubhouse/thanksgiving/2009.html . Sacred Rocks Reserve is located at 1331 Shasta Way in Boulevard, about 60 miles east of San Diego. For more details, visit http://sacredrocksreserve.com/index.html or call (619) 766-4480.
Dixieland Jazz Festival & Champagne Dinner: Town & Country Hotel, San Diego
Okay, this one’s not East County. But it’s close—and some of the talented performers are East County residents. A highlight of the five-day, 30th annual Thanksgiving Jazz Festival San Diegoi is a champagne dinner served in the Golden West Room from3 to 6 p.m. onoThanksgiving Day, complete with turkey and herb-crusted sirloin of beef, cheeses, fruits, salads, side dishes, and old-fashioned pies. Dinner cost: $28 with advance reservations, $30 at the door ($17 for children under 12). The jazz festival spans traditional, Dixieland, swing and classic jazz, drawing people from around the globe. Single- or multiple-day badges are available for the music festival, ranging from $15 to $90 ($20 for a single-day badge on Thanksgiving day). For details, see http://www.dixielandjazzfestival.org/festival.html.
Bountiful Backcountry Buffet: Orchard Hill Country Inn, Julian
Voted one of the top six inns in the West by Sunset Magazine, Orchard Hill Country Inn offers a bountiful Thanksgiving Feast for $42 ($20 for children 12 and under), available only to guests staying at the Inn and, if space is available, friends or family of guests. Nestled in the woods at 2502 Washington St. in quaintly historic Julian, the Inn offers heartwarming charm and country hospitality. Weekend guests can get a double treat, staying over to enjoy Julian’s annual tree-lighting celebration on Saturday. Call (800)716-7242 for reservations and lodging prices/availability. For more details, see www.orchardhill.com.
Dinner at Andiamo Ristorante Italiano
Thanksgiving dinner at Andiamo wll be served from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. for $25.95 per person ($14.95 for children). Start with butternut squash soup or Caesar salad, followed by slow-roast turkey with walnut stuffing, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, French beans Amandine and cranberry sauce. As a finishing touch, savor pumpkin tiramisu. Call (858)-277-3501 for reservations to Andiamo, which is located at 5950 Santo Road in San Diego’s Tierrasanta neighborhood. For details, visit www.andiamo-ristorante.com.
Thanksgiving with the Indians
Several tribes are serving up Thanksgiving fare at local casinos and restaurants in East County.
Native American-hosted options include:
Best Budget Bargain: Viejas Harvest Buffet, Alpine (or feast the Viejas Grove Steakhouse),
Harvest Buffet at the Viejas Casino, 5000 Willow Road in Alpine, offers a complete Thanksgiving buffet with turkey and all the fixings for just $9.95 per person or $7.96 for V-Card members. (Not yet a member? Joining is free.) Where else can you feed a family of ten a Thanksgiving dinner for under $80? Another option is the Grove Steakhouse at Viejas, which will be open from noon to 9 p.m. serving up turkey cutlet meals or ribeye steak dinners for $15.95. You can make reservations online for the Grove at www.opentable.com for Thanksgiving or other occasions. For details and directions on Harvest Buffet and the Grove Steakhouse,, see www.viejas.com.
Seafood and prime rib at Harrah’s Rincon Casino and Resort, Valley Center
Harrah’s is serving up two Thanksgiving feasts. At Fiiore Steak & Seafood, start your feast with choice of Moroccan spiced cauliflower soup with Dungeness crab meat or beet salad with tempura goat cheese. A main course of roasted turkey breast stuffed with duck confit is served with sweet potato puree, roasted garlic and winter vegetables, and dessert for $40 per person; dinner served from 5:30-11 p.m. Reservations are recommended. Or opt for an all-you-can-eat buffet for $25.99 per person at The International Buffet, which will serve up a traditional turkey with sausage stuffing, prime rib, and all the trimmings for $25.99 per person from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Harrah’s is located at 777 Harrah’s Way, Valley Center. For details, call (877)777-2457 or visit http://www.viejas.com/.
3 hearty options at Barona Valley Ranch Resort & Casino, Lakeside
Barona Oaks Steakhouse offers a prixe-fixe, three-course Thanksgiving menu for $40 a person or purchase items a la carte from $9 to $28 between 5 and 10 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended. Or opt for an all-you-can-eat Thanksgiving buffet at the Ranch House Buffet for $29.95 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Sage Café will also serve Thanksgiving dinner from noon to midnight for $24.95, or order a la carte. Barona Valley Ranch Resort is located at 1932 Wildcat Canyon Road in Lakeside. For details, visit www.barona.com.