Need a break from cooking for Thanksgiving? You have options

Skip the cooking and head out to one of several local establishments serving up Thanksgiving dinner this year. Courtesy photo

Whether to roast, smoke or deep-fry a turkey is just one of a multitude of questions residents have to answer when hosting friends and family for Thanksgiving this year.

Will they ask guests to bring a dish? Does anyone really like candied yams? Will there be enough stuffing? Will people be mad if they serve ham? Do they choose pie or cake for dessert?

The answer is ham and cake, by the way; it’s always ham and always cake. Don’t hate me.

Then there is the challenge of execution and the aftermath.

Are they really that affected by tryptophan that they can’t help with the dishes? Whose cookware was left behind?

It’s just too much. Way too much.

Fortunately, residents have options this year as many local establishments will be doing all the hard, dirty work to make Thanksgiving as painless and delicious as possible.

Take in the pregame at Killarney’s.

If the thought of the entire family descending upon the house rattles the nerves, take a trip down to Killarney’s Restaurant and Irish Pub Wednesday, Nov. 27, for their Pre-Turkey Day Party from 7-10 p.m.

Nothing soothes the soul and enhances the ability to come up with really good excuses for nosy family questions as downing a few tasty pints and listing to bumping music spun by a live DJ.

Killarney’s is located at 32475 Temecula Parkway in Temecula. Visit

Pechanga has many, many options.

This year, seven of Pechanga’s restaurants will feature Thanksgiving dining specials, offering choices for every taste and budget. Thanksgiving dinner specials can be found at the Pechanga Buffet, Great Oak Steakhouse, Lobby Bar and Grill, Kelsey’s, Journey’s End, Paisano’s and Pechanga Café.

The Pechanga Buffet will start its Thanksgiving festivities with brunch from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. with dinner following until 10 p.m. for $46.99 for adults and $23.99 for children ages 3-11.

The AAA Four Diamond Great Oak Steakhouse’s Thanksgiving special will include a three-course meal starting with a butternut squash and roasted apple soup. The entrée is a roasted organic turkey with Italian sausage served with wild mushroom and polenta stuffing, cranberry compote, roasted sweet potatoes with pecan and mashed potatoes. The final course is a spiced Bundt cake with apple caramel sauce. All for $38 and the nightly menu will be served in addition to the Thanksgiving special, but reservations are always recommended.

Paisano’s will put an Italian flair into Thanksgiving with a three course meal of potato and leek soup topped with a crisp pancetta crumble, followed by the main course with includes fresh roasted turkey, Italian-style mashed potatoes, ciabatta sausage, fennel stuffing, turkey mushroom gravy and cherry pomegranate chutney. To round out the meal, enjoy a pumpkin crème brulee for dessert. This Thanksgiving dinner is available for $32.

Kelsey’s Bar and Grill is offering favorite dishes with a three-course meal for $27. The meal includes a butternut squash soup with cornbread croutons, smoked turkey and mashed potatoes with green beans, cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce and turkey gravy, and lastly, a pumpkin pie chantilly.

The Pechanga Café will feature a Thanksgiving menu of roasted turkey with sweet potatoes, green beans gratin, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, and cranberry sauce all for just $22.

The Lobby Bar and Grill will be offering a buffet special featuring three different carving stations with roasted turkey and home-style gravy, honey glazed ham and Cajun tri-tip roast. There will also be macaroni and cheese, roasted pear stuffing, roasted Brussel sprouts, brown sugar-glazed sweet potatoes with toasted marshmallows, green bean casserole and many more options. Try this buffet from 11a.m. to 9 p.m. for $28 for adults and $14 for children.

Journey’s End is the place for a Thanksgiving breakfast or dinner with an extensive buffet menu complete with freshly baked pastries, seasonal fruits, live egg and omelet station, tri-tip, honey glazed ham and roasted turkey carving stations, breakfast and dinner entrees accompanied with various holiday sides and a large assortments of desserts. The price is $32 for adults and $18 for children.

Blends Coffee and Wine Bar is also offering whole pies for pickup for $17. The apple, cherry, pecan or pumpkin pies are made in-house by Pechanga’s expert pastry chefs. Sugar-free pies are also available with 24-hour advance notice by calling (951) 770-8511.

To make reservations or for more information on Pechanga’s culinary offerings this Thanksgiving, visit

Everyone loves wine country.

Who is going to say “no” to copious amounts of wine at their beckon call on Thanksgiving? Thankfully, a couple of local wineries are hosting this year.

South Coast Winery’s Vineyard Rose Restaurant is offering Thanksgiving Day menus that include three-course traditional and non-traditional offerings including breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m., brunch from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 9:30 p.m.

Pricing for each menu depends on which entrée is ordered, except for dinner which is $59 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Children under 3 are free.

Reservations should be made in advance at (888) 726-8821.

Thanksgiving dinner at Cafe Champagne at Thornton Winery is available from noon to 5 p.m.

Thronton has a tempting holiday menu with a selection of starters that includes lobster bisque, heirloom tomato bruschetta, warm butternut squash salad and Café Champagne salad. Entrée selections are a traditional roasted turkey, French pork chop, pistachio and cherry-crusted salmon or a grilled filet mignon and a choice from a list of delectable desserts.

The cost is $64.95 for adults, $19.95 for children ages 6-12 and free for children ages 5 and younger. Discounts are available for wine club members.

Thornton Winery is at 32575 Rancho California Road in Temecula.

Reservations are required, visit

Come and get it at Corkfire Kitchen.

Corkfire Kitchen at Temecula Creek Inn is hosting Thanksgiving at the Inn and offering a farmhouse meal featuring traditional menu items with a farm-to-table twist from noon to 9 p.m.

All the specials are available a la carte or try all three courses for $50. There is just way too much to list. Visit to view the full menu.

Temecula Creek Inn is at 44501 Rainbow Canyon Road in Temecula. Call (951) 587-1465 to make reservations.

Try barbecue for Thanksgiving.

Lucille’s BBQ will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day at the Promenade Temecula offering individual and group dinners for dine in or take out.

The individual dinner is $28.99 and includes the choice of slow-smoked turkey, ham or both and all the fixings. For $14.99, children can have just about the same thing, albeit with smaller portions.

You can also have Lucille’s do the work by ordering a Thanksgiving Feast for $209.99 that feeds 10 or more guests. Choose from a whole smoked turkey, sliced smoked turkey, sliced marinated ham or both, again with all the fixings. And everything is served ready to heat.

Lucille’s BBQ is located at 40748 Winchester Road in Temecula.

Visit for more information or call (951) 719-7427.

Or enjoy Thanksgiving at The Gambling Cowboy.

The Gambling Cowboy, located in Old Town Temecula, will offer a four-course Thanksgiving feast complete with a traditional roast turkey, signature prime rib, and maple glazed ham served with all the traditional Thanksgiving fixings.

The Gambling Cowboy is at 42072 Fifth Street on the third floor in Temecula. Visit for more information or call (951) 699-2895 to make reservations.

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at