It's not cheating — it's being resourceful! There's nothing shameful about letting a local restaurant or grocery store cater part — or all, I'm not here to judge — of your holiday meal.
By the time you read this, the bustle of Thanksgiving will most likely be behind us. Which means you've got a whopping week before Hanukkah or about a month until Christmas rolls around. So if you're already planning the next celebratory spread, consider letting someone else do the heavy lifting this time.
Here's just a handful of the options available when it comes to winter holiday goodies.
- Ash Daniel
- Rotisserie chicken from Stella’s Grocery.
1007 Lafayette St.
Listen, turkey isn't necessarily the superior poultry, and you can never go wrong with Stella's rotisserie chicken, which is available five days a week. Pair it with some seasonal sides like corn pudding, roasted fingerling sweet potatoes and braised collard greens. Thinking about going off the beaten path? Consider one of Stella's classic Greek casseroles, like the pasticcio with ground beef, fat noodles, bechamel and cheese, or the artichoke moussaka with potatoes, caramelized onions, zucchini and bechamel.
Montana Gold Bread
3543 W. Cary St.
The holiday bread is loaded with fruits and nuts, the orange-cranberry whole wheat loaf is perfect for piling on leftover turkey and of course there's the sweet and spicy pumpkin bread. And holla! The holiday iteration of challah, the lightly sweet braided bread traditional in Jewish celebrations, features pieces of cherry and apple.
1400 N. Boulevard
It's never too cold for ice cream, and Gelati Celesti leans into the holiday cheer this time of year. We have to bid the pumpkin-gingersnap ice cream adieu after Thanksgiving, but Black Friday brings a whole new set of holiday-inspired flavors: peppermint, eggnog, gingerbread and apple cider sorbet, to name a few.
- Ash Daniel
- WPA Bakery’s eggnog cheesecake.
2707 E. Marshall St.
Eggnog-gingersnap cheesecake? Yes, please. That's just one of several holiday-themed desserts soon making an appearance at WPA Bakery. It's joined by peppermint-mocha cookies, gluten-free and vegan ginger-molasses cookies and cranberry-apple pie. The bakery will be closed on Christmas Eve, so all orders must be picked up by Dec. 23.
Chairlift at Brenner Pass
3200 Rockbridge St., Suite 101
It doesn't get more Christmasy than a bûche de Noël, also known as a Yule log. Chairlift's take on the classic European dessert features chocolate, honey and espresso. A pear and pistachio tart, cardamom coffee cake, herb brioche rolls and a charcuterie platter for 20 are also available this holiday season.
4 N. Thompson St.
Ready-to-roast turkeys and pre-cooked boneless turkey breasts are available on Ellwood Thompson's holiday menu, but if you're all turkeyed out come December, there's also a whole spiral ham. Make it a meal with butternut squash soup, shaved Brussels sprout salad, roasted root veggies and mac and cheese. And don't forget about the bakery section — choose from rolls of the sweet Hawaiian, whole wheat, sweet potato and garlic varieties, plus cornbread, croissants and buttermilk biscuits. Christmas orders are due by Thursday, Dec. 20.
Delicately sweet champagne cakes with decorative winter details are available for Christmas, and they'd be the perfect New Year's Eve dessert, too. Last day for pickup is Dec. 23.
- Ash Daniel
- Sally Bell’s Kitchen’s dinner rolls.
Sally Bell's Kitchen
2337 W. Broad St.
This local staple isn't offering anything different for the holidays, but really, does it need to? Call ahead or go online to order tubs of potato salad (I'm told this is a holiday must-have in some communities), rolls or pies to make your holiday meal feel just a little more Richmond.
Soul n Vinegar
2832 R St.
A new spot in Church Hill, Soul n Vinegar is already putting itself on the map for the holidays. Pre-order items include dirty rice, roasted garlic mashed potatoes with gravy, cornbread, ham salad and roasted plantains — bonus, everything but the ham salad is vegan. Soul n Vinegar will be open the day before Christmas with some items available for walk-ins.
Perly's Restaurant and Delicatessen
111 E. Grace St.
For a classic Hanukkah meal, grab a tub of matzo ball soup and a platter of latkes from Perly's. The fried latkes travel surprisingly well, and you can stick them in the oven at 375 degrees for a few minutes to reheat without losing that crisp.
We all know Wegmans has one of the best hot bars and prepared-food sections around, and the holidays are no exception. Family-sized portions of seasoned green beans, roasted butternut squash with spinach, asparagus tips with lemon zest and whipped potatoes are all there for the taking. Or if you want to buck tradition, consider one of the antipasto trays, heaped with olives, cured meats and cheeses.
Westhampton Pastry Shop
5728 Patterson Ave.
The seasonal menu at Westhampton includes gingerbread men, holiday petits fours and tins of Christmas cookies. But the cream of this crop is the coffeecakes — shaped like a Christmas tree and made of Danish dough, they make the the perfect breakfast paired with coffee.
1903 W. Cary St.
The beloved dessert spot in the Fan is taking holiday orders now. Seasonal offerings include pumpkin cake, pecan streusel bread pudding and pumpkin streusel pie, and of course there are always the Shyndigz favorites like the spotted cow and oatmeal cream pies. Be sure to put your order in with at least 48 hours notice.
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
2408 Ownby Lane
It wouldn't be December in Richmond without that gingerbread stout, and it's available now in its original form, plus aged in brandy, rye, bourbon and rum barrels. It makes an excellent hostess gift and I'm willing to bet it'll pair with just about anything you eat over the holidays.