Thanksgiving TraditionsThanksgiving – There's No Place Like Home
As a wise girl named Dorothy once said, “There’s no place like home.” Whether your family situation is comparable to the Rockwells or the Griswolds, Thanksgiving for most of us means turkey, warm apple pie, and post-dinner Olympic-level games of Risk. At times, the holidays can be, shall we say, “character-building,” but where would we all be without a place to call home? Thus, we dedicate this Thanksgiving edition to New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, where we at Galavante are lucky enough to spend the holidays.
This year marks the third Galavante Thanksgiving issue, which is something to be thankful for in and of itself. We continue to defy all odds and grow our business to bring you the best in travel, lifestyle, and entertainment. Not one day goes by that our team is not grateful for the ability to pursue our passion and build Galavante to its full potential.
But it’s times like these, as we look forward to all the good things to come, that we remember a lesson from a business school statistics professor: Life isn't always about running a regression. You can spend your days working for the next promotion, the bigger house, the more exclusive country club. And sure, those things are important if they make you happy. But we hope you stop to enjoy the moment, because unlike travel, life is about the journey, not the destination.
Check In: There’s something so classically festive about the Upper East Side during the holidays, and The Mark gives you that homey feeling that Thanksgiving inspires – in the very wealthy friend’s townhome kind of way. Check in, if only to be closer to the lobster pizza. Then let the concierge do the rest, from bringing Bergdorf to your hotel suite with all the Louboutin and Saint Laurent your AmEx can buy, to getting you a coveted reservation at the No. 8. For New Yorkers looking to get out of town, the Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa is just two hours away, but its 70 acres of rolling green fields and gardens in the Hudson River Valley make it feel like a different country. With a working farm, it literally is farm to table, complete with alpacas roaming on site.
Thanksgiving Feast: In a city where it’s not entirely uncommon to use your oven as extra storage space, it’s no surprise that New York restaurants are buzzing on Thanksgiving. Daniel keeps up its tradition of haute cuisine on the holiday, starting with sunchoke velouté, organic turkey with giblet stuffing, and decadent French desserts. Marc Forgione, while more casual, will not be outdone, with his smoked lobster bisque to start and roasted organic turkey, complete with all the sides. For those heading to the Hudson Valley, Peekamoose, in a restored farmhouse, is serving up everything from traditional turkey to trout for Thanksgiving dinner.
Post-Thanksgiving Festivities: There are few places that beat NYC for the holidays, and millions of tourists, plus those of us who live here, know it. Our advice is to stay away from the common circuit immediately post-Thanksgiving, unless you like excessive crowds. Save Rockefeller Center for a weekday, and avoid mainstream museums like the Met and the Modern until after the holidays. We think it goes without saying – unless you make your living in Times Square, avoid it completely, especially for the ball drop. New Year’s with no bubbly? No, thank you. Instead, head to Tribeca for a spa day at the Greenwich Hotel and lunch at Locanda Verde. Or hit the Upper West Side’s Burberry Brit, Kiehl’s, and Rag & Bone along Columbus Avenue, which are far less crowded than their Fifth and Madison Avenue counterparts. Catch a performance of the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center for your dose of culture, and explore the New York Historical Society and enjoy lunch or coffee at Caffe Storico. For the best way to spend a NYC ditch day, check out our Ferris Bueller’s Day Off UES and SoHo.
Check In: Bringing home your significant other for the first time? Heed our advice and steer clear of the lumpy bed and those New Kids on the Block posters your mother still can’t bear to part with. Chicago is five-star hotel heaven, so take advantage of the opportunity to show your guest around your city in style. We’re always in favor of tradition, and it doesn’t get more classic than the Four Seasons Chicago, the original luxury hotel right off the Mag Mile. It’s the perfect place to call home during the hectic holidays, with its serene and lavishly comfortable lobby and suites overlooking Lake Michigan.
Thanksgiving Feast: There is little that beats a Midwestern Thanksgiving with family, and for most people spending the holiday in Chicago, it’s unheard of to eat out. But if you don’t score an invitation for a homecooked meal (or if your feast doesn’t quite turn out the way you planned), head to the Trump Hotel Chicago’s Sixteen, named for its view of the city skyline from the 16th floor. The Thanksgiving feast is an all-day brunch affair, where alongside traditional roasted turkey with cranberry compote, there’s a raw bar, cider-braised leg and breast of poussin, and bay scallop gratin. You know, just like you would have made at home.
Post-Thanksgiving Activities: The great chef Charlie Trotter, who recently passed away, is attributed for putting Chicago on the culinary map. The talented chefs who have built their careers since he opened his restaurant over 25 years ago have carried the torch, and some – like Grant Achatz – dare say that they’ve exceeded him. On the high-end, Grace has everyone talking, with its contemporary food that includes Burgundy truffle with creme caramel and chive. Chicago is known for its steak – go classic at Gibsons in the Viagra Triangle, or hit the trendier Bavette's Bar & Boeuf, a European-style steakhouse. The city also knows its BBQ, a meal that we will never pass up, no matter the date. Once your food coma wears off, head to Bub City and Smoke Daddy for late-night grub and live music.
For dinner theater, hit Untitled, Chicago’s more conservative answer to the infamous The Box in New York and London, with food, live music, and burlesque. For highbrow cocktails, the very attractive are currently congregating at Estate Ultra Bar. But at its core, Chicago is a down-to-earth city, and nothing beats a Sunday afternoon at the Pour House to catch the games.
Check In: Los Angeles locals and visitors alike check into Beverly Wilshire over Thanksgiving. It’s just steps from Rodeo Drive, making it quite easy for you to do some damage on Black Friday. For a beach retreat, check into Shutters in Santa Monica, the prime locale for bike rides and long walks on the beach.
Thanksgiving Feast: Unlike Chicago, where most families eat in, Thanksgiving dinner at Peninsula Beverly Hills is an institution. Executive Chef David Codney creates a family-style feast, with a bottomless glass of Nicolas Feuillatte champagne. Starters include chilled smoked bay scallops and mussels and braised d’anjou pears. Organic free-range turkey comes with buttermilk mashed potatoes and haricots verts, or go the route of seared brook trout with fennel confit. No matter what you choose, everyone will meet at their decadent dessert buffet spread. To make Chef David Codney’s dishes in your home kitchen, check out our Peninsula Beverly Hills Thanksgiving Menu.
Post-Thanksgiving Activities: Shopping, obviously, is on the radar. Head to Melrose to browse local favorites like Fred Segal and Kelly Wearstler, and then move on to high-end brands like Alexander McQueen, A.P.C., and Kitson. Lunch at Cecconi’s in West Hollywood is part of the celeb circuit, and Escuela Taqueria will give you your necessary Mexican fix. And of course, it’s hard to beat L.A. sushi. Kiyokawa does traditional sashimi, with melt-in-your-mouth tuna, and Picca fuses Japanese with Peruvian-style bites. It’s not an L.A. weekend without hitting the opulent Sunday brunch spread at the Four Seasons. Its stations of fresh guacamole, sushi chefs assembling California rolls like they’re going out of style, and eggs benedict make Thanksgiving dinner feel a warm-up. For evening drinks, the Sunset Tower Hotel lounge is a favorite of celebs like Jennifer Aniston, and coincidentally Brad and Angelina. Can you say awkward run-in?