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Mouthful - Talking turkey

Alternatives to cooking for yourself on Thanksgiving Day

Looking for a hassle-free T-day?

I don't blame you one bit. More and more families are making it a tradition to go out for the big dinner. You can always count on swank hotels like the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead and Park 75 to lay out a glamorous spread, and Agnes & Muriel's and Horseradish Grill will both offer Southern-tinged feasts.

Following are a few noteworthy places that, were I not such a masochist about cooking an enormous meal single-handedly, I would consider either indulging in a sumptuous Thanksgiving dinner or receiving a helping hand in the dessert department.

103 West

This Buckhead Life restaurant is holding its first-ever family-style meal. The menu will include lobster bisque to start, a turkey for every table and an elaborate range of side dishes (including sausage cornbread dressing, brussel sprouts amandine, cranberry orange relish) and traditional desserts. Miss the leftovers that come from cooking yourself? The staff will replenish sides after you're finished and pack them up to go. $60 for adults, $35 for children under 12 and children under 6 eat free.

103 W. Paces Ferry Road, 404-233-5993.

Alon's

The celebrated Virginia-Highland bakery is rolling out a long list of special pies and tarts (you can see the complete list at www.alons.com). Along with holiday standards like pumpkin and apple, they're offering a few twists like chocolate-chunk pecan pie and gingered almond-pear tart. Pick up some cranberry scones for breakfast Thanksgiving morning.

1394 N. Highland Ave., 404-872-6000.

Imperial Fez

In the mood for a Thanksgiving outside the box? Imperial Fez will do a three-course Moroccan interpretation of the classic American meal. The first course will be bastilla (a sweet and savory phyllo dough dish) stuffed with quail, and the turkey will be flavored with exotic herbs. Typical Thanksgiving vegetable side dishes, like sweet potatoes and rice, will add an element of the conventional. Cost is $30 per person.

2285 Peachtree Road, 404-351-0870.

Theo's Brother's Bakery

Theo's is my favorite bakery outside the Perimeter, and I'm tempted to drive out to Alpharetta just to pick up a white chocolate-pumpkin cheesecake, one of their special holiday creations, to scarf down by myself. Other Thanksgiving goodies include rustic apple and apple-cranberry pies, chocolate turtle truffle torte with toasted macadamia nuts and decorated gourd-shaped cookies. They will also be offering caramelized leek-sage stuff made from their own bread. Cut-off for orders is Nov. 22.

12280 Houze Road, Alpharetta, 770-740-0360.

Virginia's

This one doesn't take place on Thanksgiving day, but is worth a mention nonetheless. On Nov. 20, Chef Claudia Nesbit is orchestrating a four-course Thanksgiving wine dinner to benefit Slow Food Atlanta's School Garden Project, an outdoor program providing students first-hand experience in organic gardening. The centerpiece of the meal will be Heritage Farm turkey (that's a free-rangin' bird, y'all) served with pork sausage stuffing. Other courses will include organic butternut squash soup, sea scallops with black truffle vinaigrette and spiced pumpkin flan. Cost is $65 per person.

112 Krog St., 404-827-9005.





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