Friendsgiving season is here and that leaves us with many questions but most importantly, what are you bringing to the table? Are you a side dish contributor? Do you dabble in dessert? Are you the hostess with the mostess and handle the bird? Or, do you like to play it safe and supply adult beverages? Do you have a go-to recipe? Or do you like to switch it up every year? Homemade is preferred but in the wise words of Ina Garten “store-bought is fine”. Whether you’re hosting or attending a Friendsgiving this year we wanted to share some of our go-to spots to make sure you have exactly what you need to pull off the perfect Friendsgiving!
The Big Guy – Turkey Tom (duh)
It’s not Thanksgiving without turkey right? No pressure but this is a very important staple to this season’s feast. Serving a farm-fresh turkey from a local farm can only up your chances of making the juiciest and most delicious main course for all your friends. If you can’t get to a farm in time check out when your favorite neighborhood grocery store plans to stock their turkeys. Making a turkey takes time and planning. There are many steps to take to make sure yours turns out just right.
Pro Tip: Brine your turkey while it thaws if thawing is necessary. Recipes and brine time may vary.
Some favorite spots to buy Turkey:
- Pounds’ Turkey Farm (Leechburg
- Sunny Bridge Natural Foods & Cafe (McMurray)
- East End Food Coop (East End)
Here is where things get interesting. Typical Thanksgiving meals are complete with mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, sweet potato casserole, and some kind of green. That said, there are other side dish options that rarely get the proper credit they deserve so we want to inspire those who are looking for a new recipe. How about some: cornbread muffins, mac n’ cheese, pierogies, butternut squash soup, goat cheese whipped potatoes, sweet potato rolls, candied yams? The list could go on and on. Putting a twist on a classic recipe can be very simple!
Using specialty ingredients while cooking and baking is a game-changer. Especially when they are locally sourced. But not everyone has the time or desire to get in the kitchen and that’s totally understandable. If you’re looking for something store-bought but still want to impress your friends, bringing something like fresh-baked artisan bread from a local bakery, a cheese board from a specialty cheese shop, locally crafted libations, or even a specialty vinegarette to pare with a salad will do the trick. These additions play a big part at the table and will not go unnoticed.
Some favorite spots for specialty ingredients:
- Pennsylvania Macaroni Company (Strip District)
- Arsenal Cider House (Lawrenceville)
- Chantal’s Cheese Shop
- Mediterra Cafe (Sewickley)
- The Olive Tap (Strip District)
Pies & Desserts
If you have a sweet tooth, supply the sweets and treats could be a great option. Pumpkin pie and pecan pie are your typical Thanksgiving staples but at the end of the day, any dessert is a win in my book. Pie, cookies, cakes or any other kind of pastry makes for the perfect post-feast sweet treat or a pre-nap snack. We have a list of places to order from but here’s my staples.
Some local Pie Favorites
Sipping on a boozy adult beverage while catching up with friends is the definition of a successful Friendsgiving. Lucky for us, there are so many local breweries and distilleries crafting some of the finest! Grab your favorite beer and liquor and you’re set.
Pro Tip: Making a bached specialty cocktail will get you extra brownie points with your friends!
Some of our favorite boozy beverages are from…
- Hitchhiker Brewing Company (Mt. Lebanon & Sharpsburg)
- Maggie’s Farm Rum (Strip District)
- Quantum Spirits (Carnegie)
- Insurrection AleWorks (Heidelberg)
Centerpieces might be over the top but will set the mood and again, little details like this won’t go unnoticed. If you’re not hosting but want to get your host a little gift as a thank you for planning such a special get together, a flower arrangement or plant is a great go-to.
We love these flower shops!