Giving thanks This holiday season, there's no shortage of places offering a sit-down dining experience for Thanksgiving. We hear that MGM Grand Detroit (1777 Third St., Detroit; 877-888-2121) will have all its restaurants open that day. Palette Dining Studio will be open 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; for $32, you'll get roasted whole turkeys with giblet gravy, pineapple-glazed bone-in ham, cranberry and walnut stuffing, baked sweet potato, grilled snapper with sautéed leeks and roasted fingerling potatoes, and much more. Wolfgang Puck Grille will be open 3-8 p.m. (reservations strongly encouraged) with a prix-fixe menu ($40) and an optional wine pairing ($21), including butternut squash soup, chopped vegetable salad, ricotta gnocchi with Italian sausage bolognese and Parmigiano-Reggiano, roasted turkey breast with potato puree, cornbread stuffing, green beans, and giblet gravy, among other entrée choices. Perhaps most interesting of all, Bourbon Steak will offer a special Thanksgiving Day menu from 5 to 10 p.m. (reservations strongly encouraged), featuring potato leek soup, pumpkin salad, a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, including cider-brined natural turkey breast, confit leg, cranberry sauce, corn bread stuffing, sage turkey gravy, caramelized sweet potato, fried brussels sprouts, and, for dessert, spiced pumpkin cheesecake and cranberry compote ($50).
The good folks at Camp Ticonderoga are offering an affordable Thanksgiving "feast," a "turkey dinner with all the trimmings" — at a family-friendly price of $16.99 for adults and $9.99 for kids 10 and younger. It's at 5725 Rochester Rd., Troy; call 248-828-2825 for reservations.
Although it may conjure images of corned beef and cabbage, Claddagh Irish Pubs is contending for your Thanksgiving business with an all-day brunch buffet, featuring stations for every Turkey Day craving. Expect Belgian waffles, freshly baked breads, assorted fresh fruit, carved turkey and ham, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, candied yams, a huge salad bar, seafood pasta and much more. It's available 11 a.m.-7 p.m., and closes one hour after the last seating; $22.95 for adults, $9.95 for kids ages 5 to 10, free for kids 4 years old and younger; reservations strongly recommended at 734-542-8141. It all happens at 17800 Haggerty Rd., Livonia.
Passport to beer If you've been to Foran's Grand Trunk Pub in downtown Detroit, you know they love beer. They stock a huge selection of some of Michigan's finest craft beers, including rare, vintage, private selections. If that makes your palate perk up, you might consider their new Passport Club. Hundreds have already signed up. It costs nothing to join, and rewards come your way with every 25 beers you drink. Foran's calls it the "perfect way to try 100 Michigan beers." Drop in at 612 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-961-3043.
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food/thought Anyone who enjoys the photos in a cookbook as much as the recipes should pick up Yvette Van Boven's Home Made (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $40). The vivid, beautifully composed photos will draw both budding and seasoned cooks to the kitchen. The book shows how to reduce the cost of extraordinary homemade meals by learning to make the basics — broth, cheese, ice cream, preserved vegetables and smoked meats, even mustard and ketchup — the fundamental ingredients used in the likes of hearty sweet potato soup with buttered cashews, or yogurt ice cream with vanilla, walnuts and dates, all among more than 200 other recipes.
the works Some folks like their mashed potatoes chunky. Others prefer them smooth and fluffy. If the latter is your preference, there's no better path to success than a potato ricer. A squeeze of the grips pushes boiled or baked potatoes through small holes, resulting in soft pulp. Stir in some butter and cream — we like sour cream — and perhaps a bit of stock. Voilà — perfect mashed potatoes. This stainless steel OXO model is one that we recommend. Use it for pureeing fruits and vegetables too. You should be able to find one for about $20.