My 5 picks for Thanksgiving Dining in NYC

turkey-city_450We’re New Yorkers. We can order anything from Lebanese to lasagna at 2am and have it delivered right to our door. While we know culinary brilliance when we taste it, our stove hasn’t been ignited since that night we tried to heat the apartment by turing the oven on. Let’s face it, we could cook but it’s SO much easier just to eat out. Thanksgiving is no exception.

During my seven years in the Big Apple, I haven’t traveled home for the holidays once. Since all my kin live on the west coast, I find it much easier just to make a reservation instead of making a turkey. Here are my picks for those of you who find yourself in NYC this Thanksgiving and feel the same….

Jane has been my go-to destination for my holiday feast for 4 years now. A casual American bistro smack dab between SoHo and Greenwich Village, it’s classic NYC fare. The space is comforting and warm (kinda like Grandma’s kitchen, only chicer) and the menu has all the components you’d want on your plate. T-day menu consists of a prix fix, three course with various options. You can’t go wrong with turkey and the trimmings but you could go with short ribs, risotto, or salmon if the bird isn’t your thang.

One of my all-time foodie favs is definitely Freeman’s. Located at the back of an alley, its charm doesn’t stop just at the decor. The food and design is rugged, rustic, and has a certain old world charm. Their holiday menu consists of turkey and the usual suspects, as well as their signature (almost better-than-sex) artichoke dip. Believe me the dip alone is worth the trek to the LES. Oh, and did I mention they have pie? Homemade pie.

A little pricier than the two above, Maialino is one of the FINEST NYC restaurants you can pay a visit. Their Thanksgiving bill of fare has an Italian flare since it’s what they do best. Start with the zuppa di castagne (or chestnut soup), then get your roasted bird with Polenta instead of stuffing, and finish with their expertly executed Zabaione or Italian custard. They also have a special menu just for the wee ones that doesn’t require they sit at the “kids” table.

Red Rooster
I included Red Rooster simply because I’ve heard such amazing things about this uptown gem. You’re pretty much gonna get a typical Thanksgiving dinner here but chef Marcus Samuel is bound to throw in a couple culinary surprises here and there. They also have live jazz so prepare to be serenaded by some of the good stuff in the heart of Harlem.

Il Buco
I used to teach a couple in their home (with equipment and all) right across the cobblestoned street from Il Buco. Finally, I had salivated long enough and one day decided to visit their feast of the pig. OMG! THE BEST suckling pig I’ve ever had. Thanksgiving dinner here has your choice of that or traditional turkey. Part Italian, part Spanish, all delicious. A holiday feast here will change your life.

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In Our Kitchen: Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving for me, is all about the food. There’s the old standards- turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes; but I like to mix things up. I interrogated my friends, clients, and fellow teachers for their picks in this holiday season. I’ve compiled a list for you to play with below:

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

by FORM Instructor, Amy Nelms (a vegan with a vengeance)                                  IMG_9279

  • 13/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 11/4 cups sufst
  • 1tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1/2 soy milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons molasses

Preheat oven to 400.  Lightly grease a 12 muffin tin.  Sift together flour,sugar,baking powder,salt, and spices.  In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, soy milk,oil, and molasses.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix.

Fill the muffin cups two- thirds full.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean

 Roast Turkey with Sage and Orange Gravy

by super Pilates client, Casey Nicolaw (as seen in Real Simple)

  • 1  12- to 14-pound whole fresh or frozen turkey, thawed
  • 2  tablespoons  kosher salt
  • 8  large oranges, scrubbed
  • 1  large bunch fresh sage
  • 3  heads garlic, cut crosswise in half
  • 1  5.2- to 6.4-ounce package garlic-herb cheese spread (such as Boursin)
  • 4  large carrots
  • 3  small leeks, trimmed and rinsed, or 2 large onions, cut into quarters
  • olive oil
  • 6  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  1. Remove the giblets, then rinse the turkey. Dry with paper towels. Rub the cavity with the salt. Cut 2 of the oranges into 2-inch chunks. Set aside a few sage sprigs for garnish later. Place the remaining sage, cut-up oranges, and garlic in the cavity. Loosen the skin from the breast and spread the cheese under the skin. Tuck the wings under the back; tie the legs together. Arrange the carrots and leeks in the roasting pan to create a “rack” and place the turkey on it; rub with oil. (The turkey can be prepared to this point up to 1 day ahead. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)
  2. Heat oven to 350º F. Roast for 1 hour. Place a foil tent over the turkey and continue roasting for 2 1/2 to 3 hours more or until an instant-read thermometer registers 180º F when inserted in the breast.
  3. Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Carefully move the turkey to a platter, pouring any cavity juice back into the pan. Cover with foil to keep warm. Set oven to 500º F. Cut the remaining 6 oranges into quarters and arrange in a shallow baking pan. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes or until brown.
  4. Meanwhile, discard the vegetables from the roasting pan. Pour the pan drippings into a 4-cup measure. When the fat separates and rises to the surface, spoon 1/3 cup of it into a medium saucepan; discard any remaining fat. Squeeze the juice from 12 of the orange wedges into the defatted broth; if necessary, add water or chicken broth to make 4 cups. Whisk the flour into the fat in the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add the broth mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the gravy thickens and boils, 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Arrange the remaining baked oranges with the sage on the platter around the turkey. Serve with the gravy.

Coconut Flavored Sweet Potatoes

by holistic health honey, Erica Trestyn

  • 3-4 medium sized Sweet potatoes, skinned and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1-2 TBSP of black strap molasses
  • ¾ teaspoon of sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Put sweet potatoes in a large bowl and pour over coconut oil & molasses.  Toss with remaining ingredients. Spread the potatoes on a large baking sheet or in a large roasting pan.  Roast for about an hour, tossing about every 20 min.*You can also try this recipe with butternut squash. Mash either for a “mashed potato feel”. It is super yummy & decadent!

Balsamic-Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Crushed Pine Nuts and Parmesan
spotted by yours truly, Lindsay Lopez on Pinterest

  • 1 pound of Brussels sprouts
  • 1/8 cup pine nuts, finely diced
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
  1.  Trim and peel away the outer leaves of each Brussel sprout and half them
  2. Slide the Brussels sprout halves onto the skewers, about six to eight halves per skewer
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place skewers halved-side up
  4. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over each skewer, trying to “fill up” the Brussels  sprouts
  5. Bake the skewers at 400 degrees for about 30min until they are cooked and crispy
  6. Plate the skewers on a serving tray and cover them with parmesan and the pine nuts


Thanksgiving Eggs Benedict

by FORM Instructor Alissa Alter Fuhrman

In a pan with melted butter, fry a large spoonful of leftover mashed potatoes into a potato pancake. Then in the same pan make a fried egg. Serve the egg over the pancake and cover with leftover gravy.

Let us know which of our recipes you tried and loved, or post a recipe of your own below!

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What my bulldog is thankful for

We have a 70lb English Bulldog named Stitch. We got Stitchy two years ago from the Long Island Bulldog Rescue, and our lives have never been the same. We are so thankful for him, so I thought I would ask him what he’s thankful for this Thanksgiving. This is what he said:

This is me on the way to my new home!

My name is Stitch and although I’ve had a rough life previous Thanksgivings- my life is pretty sweet now! Here’s 5 Things I’m most grateful for:

1. Laurette and the Long Island Bulldog Rescue

It was because of Laurette’s warm heart and love for bullies that I was scooped up out of a New Jersey kill shelter and into a foster mommy’s home.

2. My new Mommy and Daddy
After three months of calling and emailing Laurette in hopes to find a bulldog of their own- they found me!!! Mom and Dad are the coolest. We snuggle, play, take walks, and best of all they give me belly rubs!

Here's the three of us! Mommy, Daddy, and me!!

3. The Park

One of the best things about my new home

is that I get to go to the park every week.

Astoria park is my favorite. There are squirrels

to chase, dog butts to sniff,

and lots of places to take a good poop!

4. Balls
My favorite toys are balls.


Small Balls

or big balls

or big balls

or even the occasional stick will do!

5. Most of all LOVE
I am THE most loved bulldog around, but don’t take it from me- see it for yourself:
Watch Stitcy on YouTube

Have a very happy Thanksgiving! Would love to hear what you’re grateful for!