Friday, November 18, 2011

A Buffet for the Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving dinner is a sumptuous feast and some of the most sumtuous feasts that I know of are at buffets. Not everyone wants to cook a large meal and not everyone has family enough to invite for a meal that consists of a groaning board loaded with the makings of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Singles and those without family at all don't have to eat alone. Of course, there are many menu restaurants that are open on Thanksgiving and will serve from their menu what most expect to have on Thanksgiving, but what you are getting is a plate with a few slices of turkey, barely a scoop full of stuffing, some mashed potatoes, and some vegetable in a little plate on the side. And for this you will pay three times what this same dish would cost on any other day.

To enjoy a full and abundant Thanksgiving dinner, try a buffet. There are a number of buffet restaurants open on Thanksgiving from the major chains to as ritzy as the Waldorf Astoria's Thanksgiving buffet dinner. Each is putting out all of what goes into a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and it is all there for you to have all you care to eat.

Old Country Buffet, Golden Corral, and Ryans are serving Thanksgiving dinner at their buffets. Ponderosa - a buffet that I have not much considered a buffet but rather a supplement to their menu - is advertising a full Thanksgiving buffet that looks quite good - and for just $9.99 a person. None of these require reservations in advance, but they do have different hours than their regular weekday hours. For example, Old Country Buffet closes at 7:00 pm on Thanksgiving. It is a good idea to check the hours in advance.

Some buffets like Souplantations/Sweet Tomatoes are offering all of their specialties for purchase in advance to take out to your home.

In the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania area several of the buffets are opening for Thanksgiving and will be serving special buffets for the holiday. These include Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant and Family Cupboard Restaurant. Both have wonderful buffets on regular days and their Thanksgiving buffets look to be extra special and close as you can get to having cooked all of this at home and dining in a family atmosphere. These buffets do require reservations - and by now are likely fully booked. (But call anyway if you are interested, as you never know!)

I recently learned that the famous and elegant Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City serves a Thanksgiving buffet in one of their restaurants. I am certain that this is quite expensive - a salad at the restaurants at this hotel costs over $25 on their usual menus. The restaurants at the Waldorf are well known, and the cooking is supposed to be fabulous. So if you are the type that turns your nose up when the word "buffet" is mentioned - even you will be impressed with a Thanksgiving buffet at the Waldorf. Here, of course, reservations are a must and there is a dress code. Men should not show up without a jacket and tie.

Last year, tired of cooking for two days in a row, we decided to try a buffet for Thanksgiving. Did we go to the Waldorf? Certainly not! We went to Old Country Buffet. And it was very nice! We had a great time and were surrounded by other guests having nice times. This all gave a much more holiday atmosphere and feeling than just the two of us sitting at home. And dinner did not cost any more than the usual dinner buffet at OCB. We intend to do this again this year! In fact, even though OCB is not my most favorite buffet, and we eat there quite often - I am looking forward to the Thanksgiving Buffet there. It consists of what is basically served on their Sunday dinner buffet - carved roast turkey, roast beef, and ham, served with a selection of vegetables, potatoes, and the addition of whole sweet potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, and most of what you would expect to have for Thanksgiving. And the staff - at least at the one that we went to - were not unhappy to be working on the holiday and all had a smile and did their jobs well.

So, if you don't have plans for Thanksgiving, check out a buffet. Remember to check the times in advance, and find out if you need a reservation.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my readers! Enjoy!

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