The kale you buy at the weekend farmers market may not make it until Thanksgiving, so the Carrboro, Durham, Eno River, Chapel Hill and Western Wake farmers markets are hosting special holiday hours on the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving.
"Everything you need for Thanksgiving Day will be there," says Erin Heiderman, assistant manager for the Carrboro market. "It's a unique and special opportunity to incorporate local produce into Thanksgiving."
Market vendors will sell meats, cheeses, produce, desserts, flowers and more. For more information about individual market hours, or for recipe ideas, visit trianglefarmersmarkets.wordpress.com.
If you're not up for cooking, the Triangle Vegetarian Society (www.trianglevegsociety.org) hosts its annual Thanksgiving feast on Nov. 24. The meal, which is held in shifts throughout the day at Parizde in Durham and Spice Street in Chapel Hill, is the largest vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner in the nation. The event has held that rank since 2004, when it served more than 300 people.
Dilip Barman, one of the event's organizers, expects more than 800 reservations this year, including diners from New York, Chicago and Philadelphia who make trips just for the food. "Several say that it's the best meal they've ever had."
This year's menu at Parizde tentatively includes oyster mushroom tempura, vegan shepherd's pie, hominy succotash and cardamom pickled beets, among other dishes. The menu at Spice Street will be similar.
Though all food at both restaurants will be strictly vegan, Barman says most folks who come to the dinner aren't vegetarian. "They come because the food is fabulous," he says.
Reserve a seat online at www.trianglevegsociety.org/thanksgiving11. Do it quickly, though: As of Monday, all of the seatings at Parizde are full and only 18 seats remain at Spice Street. Tickets are $23 for Triangle Vegetarian Society members, $26.50 for non-members, $7 for children ages 5–10, and free for children under 5.
Any day now, Sean Fowler, who cut his teeth at Pittsboro's acclaimed Fearrington House, will open Mandolin (www.mandolinraleigh.com) in Raleigh. Fowler says his debut restaurant will open around Thanksgiving at 2519 Fairview Road, near the Five Points area, and feature "contemporary Southern food in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere."
The fall lunch menu includes twice-fried chicken with potato gratin and carrots ($12), a Cane Creek Farm burger ($12) and macaroni and cheese with duck confit ($13). Dinner includes seared scallops with celery root purée, black truffles and local apples ($12) and grilled striped bass with bok choy, black trumpet mushrooms, duck confit, grapefruit and grains ($22). Fowler plans to source most of his food from local growers. Thus, the menu will change frequently depending on availability.
Fowler says Mandolin will also feature brunch on Saturday and Sunday and "a progressive and interesting wine list and craft cocktail program." To view Mandolin's full menu and hours, visit the restaurant online.