Julia Child says stuff it, truss it and cook it at 325. So when did Thanksgiving fixings get so darned elaborate? Squanto wouldn't even recognize the meal we sweat over each November. Here's one way to lighten the load: Eat out. Make reservations ASAP. For more restaurants ideas, go to tampabay.com/things-to-do.
Cassis American Bistro: Menu includes choices like apple pumpkin soup, shrimp and bacon casserole, roasted turkey or Atlantic salmon, pecan or pumpkin pie, served from 11 a.m. to last seating at 8 p.m. $38 adults, $20 kids under 12 (entree only, dessert is $6 extra for kids). 170 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. CassisAB.com. (727) 827-2927.
Columbia Restaurants: Traditional holiday turkey dinner at all six locations; 11 a.m. to close; adults $21.95, children 10 and under $5.95; columbia restaurant.com. Locations at the airport and Tampa Bay History Center in Channelside will be closed.
Maritana Grille: In addition to an a la carte menu, there will be a three-course turkey dinner from 4 to 9 p.m. Adults $60, 12 and under $19.50. Don CeSar Beach Resort, 3400 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. (727) 360-1881.
SHOR at Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa: Brunch buffet with live jazz from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., with a menu that includes seafood, carved meats, brunch favorites. Or, a three-course prix fixe a la carte dinner feast from 5-10 p.m. Brunch is $48 for adults, $24 per child ages 12 and under, with kids 3 and under free; prix fixe dinner is $32 adult and $16 child, free for children under age 3. Reservations recommended. 301 S Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater Beach. shorclearwater.com. (727) 373-4780.
Parkshore Grille: Three-course traditional holiday menu for $32 (children $17) plus pumpkin panna cotta. Regular menu also available. 300 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 896-9463.
Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club: Marchand's Bar and Grill sends out a three-course menu featuring a beef tenderloin with truffle carrot puree and porcini sauce or a traditional turkey dinner. 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg; (727) 894-1000; 1 to 8 p.m., some availability left; adults $55, children 11 and under $18.
Sandpearl Resort's Caretta on the Gulf: Brunch is a traditional buffet ranging from breakfast items to turkey and its proper accoutrements. The dinner is a plated three-course affair with four choices for first and second course plus dessert. 500 Mandalay Ave., Clearwater Beach; (727) 674-4109 or sandpearl.com. Brunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; prix fixe dinner 6 to 10 p.m. Adults $59, children ages 3 to 10 $19. Dinner 5 to 9 p.m.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino: From 5 p.m. until close, Council Oak offers buttermilk country-fried turkey and fixings for $50 per person. Reservations strongly suggested. From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. the Green Room restaurant offers a traditional turkey dinner; no reservations. Fresh Harvest offers a buffet from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. for $27 per person. 5223 N Orient Road, Tampa; toll-free 1-866-502-7529.
Spoto's Steak Joint: Traditional spread for $17.95, children $10.95. Regular menu also available. "Leftover kits" available for takeout, $8.95. 1280 Main St., Dunedin. (727) 734-0008.
TradeWinds Island Grand Resort: In the Lobby's Grand Palm Colonnade area, Thanksgiving buffet from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Buffet is $41.95 adults, $38.95 seniors (over age 60), $20.95 children 3-10, free for kids 2 and under. Tax and service charges extra. Reservations required. 5500 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. (727) 363-2258.
Compiled by Peggy Anders and Laura Reiley