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Affordable Alternative Thanksgiving Day Dining at Washington, DC Area’s Select Restaurants: Tandoori Turkey, Chicken, Quail, Duck, and More!

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Alternative Thanksgiving Day Feasts: (Counterclockwise from Top Right) Tandoori Turkey, Chicken (Kabob and Peruvian), Tandoori Quail, and Cornucopia of Vegetables/Grains.

As with the Corean Chuseok, the U.S.’s Thanksgiving is the autumn harvest festival, which is celebrated on the 4th Thursday in November—November 25 in 2010.  Traditionally, Thanksgiving had been a holiday to show appreciation to God, family, and friends for blessings of bountiful harvest, material possessions, and relationships.  Today, the holiday has become more secular but still serves as the largest annual family gathering of the year, celebrating with a feast of turkey (roasted or deep-fried in the South), stuffing, cranberry, green beans, sweet potatoes, and more. Thanksgiving can be a tiresome day at the stoves preparing a large feast for the family. If you want to save time and energy of having to cook, dining out for Thanksgiving can be an expensive affair but still the same boring selections.

How about a handful of alternative yet affordable ideas to jazz up the holiday celebration for your jaded palate?  There are many other ways to enjoy the dining portion of the holiday on a reasonable budget: try Tandoori Turkey, go with an alternate bird (chicken or quail), or go Native American with variety, then sip on a warm beverage at a neighborhood hangout while watching a ball game.

Alternative Ways to Feast on Turkey
In addition to regular dinner menu, Indique (open 5:30-9pm) will serve a Thanksgiving special of Turkey Kebab accompanied by Cranberry Chutney.  Passage to India (open 11:30am-2:30pm & 5-10pm) will also include Tandoori Turkey or Turkey Curry with Cranberry Sauce and Pumpkin Masala on top of their regular dinner menu.  Another place for Turkey is at Spice Xing (open 11:30am-3pm, 5:30-9pm) for buffet at $13.95 (11:30am-3pm), including Turkey Jhalfrazie, chicken/fish entrées, and a plethora of vegetarian/vegan selections in addition to the regular dinner menu (5:30-9pm).

Spare a Turkey, “Eat More Chicken”
Ravi’s Kabob House 2 will open at normal hours (open Noon-10pm) to serve their regular menu, headed by superior Chicken Kabobs and Karahi as well as delectable vegetable curries.

A way to enjoy a whole roasted bird without the tryptophan is an iconic South American dish that has become a major part of DC’s culinary identity: Peruvian chicken.  While many places like El Pollo Rico, Crisp & Juicy, Sardi’s, and Chix will be closed for Thanksgiving, Don Pollo will be open 11:30am-4:30pm offering its flavorful spice-inflected chickens.

Quail, a Smaller Alternative
Want something smaller than turkey but still want to celebrate symbolically with a bird?a  How about with a quail?  Indique (open 5:30-9pm) features in their regular dinner menu this scrumptious little fowl Tandoor-roasted to a char-edged yet moist inside as a light appetizer for $7.  This quail appetizer will pair nicely with their wonderful seafood selections or Thanksgiving turkey special as mentioned above.

Truly Traditional Thanksgiving with Variety
If you want to return to the roots of Thanksgiving, there is no better way than to try the diverse cuisine of those who helped to make the celebration and subsequent success rise of America as a nation possible: the Native Americans.  Mitsitam Café (open 10am-5pm) offers a plethora of tasty selections, from venison, salmon, bison, buffalo, turkey, to a cornucopia of vegetarian selections such as quinoa, wild rice, pumpkin/squash, turnips, etc.

Post-Feast Drink/Watching a Ball Game
After a day of feasting, you may need a comfortable spot to drink, snack, and watch an afternoon/evening football or basketball game.  Enter the newly-opened District 2 Bar & Grille (4:30pm-2am), a cozy neighborhood hangout in the Cathedral Heights area where they have a range of seating options (casual high tops, 30-foot bar, small to bigger booths), drinks, and plenty of new flatscreen HDTVs to watch sporting events.  Perfect for the post-Thanksgiving feast will be their new Warm Apple Cider spiked with Captain Morgan—naturally sweet, tasty with spices, and a (spin) kick provided by the rum.

Whether you decide on a turkey or to spare it by choosing chicken, quail, or something other than poultry altogether, there are plenty of alternatives to the clichéd roasted Turkey and trimmings to enjoy this Thanksgiving holiday.