By Denise Ortuno

There’s nothing quite like the comforting aroma of roasted turkey permeating the house on Thanksgiving Day. Equally, there is nothing quite like all of the preparing, cooking, cleaning and stress that comes along with hosting the holiday as well. So, if you’re thinking that all of that work is for the birds, perhaps dining out for turkey day is more your speed. Thankfully, there are plenty of dining spots with a variety of styles and prices throughout the Coachella Valley to satisfy your inner “Turkaconist”, and make your Thanksgiving extra thankful.

Desert Willow Golf Resort: Leave all of your Thanksgiving duties behind and dine golf course side at this gorgeous venue in Palm Desert. A full throttle buffet will be offered from noon-4pm with impressive fare including appetizers (seafood display, international cheeses, soups, salads, etc.), a carving station (roasted turkey with cranberry and gravy, slow roasted brisket with onion soubis), varied side dishes (yellow squash ravioli with hazelnut cream sauce, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, etc.) and of course plenty of dessert (pies, cheesecake, crepes suzette, chocolate cake, etc). A complementary glass of champagne as well as coffee, tea, and orange juice will also be offered. The cost is $49.99 for adults and $19.99 for kids 6-12 and little ones under 5 eat free. This popular buffet is in demand and books up fast. Call 760-346-0015 ext.100 for reservations and visit www.desertwillow.com for more information.

Vue Grill and Bar: For a Thanksgiving with a view, pull up a seat at a table at the elevated Indian Wells restaurant where a hearty buffet awaits. The Vue’s buffet offered form 12-8pm, will have cold and hot selections (including, cold: smoked salmon, fresh fruit, Caesar salad, etc. hot: Yukon mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, sausage cornbread stuffing, smoked sausage with shrimp/rice, seabass with toasted caper cream, etc.), a carving station (herb roasted turkey, pineapple ham, prime rib, trimmings) and sweet tooth satisfying desserts (pumpkin pie, pecan pie, pumpkin or New York cheesecake, double chocolate cake). The price for all of this holiday delight is $44.95 for adults and $19.95 for kids 12 and under. For reservations call 760-346-4653 and visit www.indianwellsgolfresort.com for more information.

Spotlight 29 Casino: If you like to mix in some gambling with your turkey dinner, then Coachella’s premier casino is your best bet. The Capitata Buffet will be serving up traditional turkey dinner items as well as other buffet favorites (prime rib, ham, pork shanks, a seafood station, soup, salads, Mexican and Asian dishes and much more) and a fabulous dessert station too, from 11am to 9pm. All of the deliciousness is priced moderately at only $23.95 per person. Guests can extend their experience on through the holiday weekend with Black Friday give-a-ways, and a Fleetwood Mac tribute band on Saturday, November 24th. For more information call 760-775-5566 or visit www.spotlight29.com.

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The Ritz Carlton, Rancho Mirage: Feeling a bit ritzy this holiday season? Then head up to one of the most beautiful hotels in the Coachella Valley, and certainly the one with the best view, The Ritz Carlton, Rancho Mirage. The glorious hotel will be putting out an amazing spread at their Ballroom from 11am – 4pm on Thanksgiving Day. The decadent offerings match the luxurious surroundings, with sumptuous items including a breakfast section (omelet station, etc.), appetizers (Dragon Seafood Bar, charcuterie and cheeses, etc.), carving station with added entrée’s (turkey, ham, prime rib, Pacific Halibut, organic chicken), pasta’s (lobster ravioli, wild mushroom risotto), and scrumptious dessert’s (pies, cranberry and orange crème brulee, etc.) The price tag for all of the glitz at the Ritz is $115 for adults, $35 for kids 7-12 and free for kiddies 5 and under. For reservations call 760-321-8282 and visit www.ritzcarlton.com for more information.

JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa: The oasis in Palm Desert has revved up holiday fun this year! The epic property offers a Pumpkin Bar and Lounge with a humongous pumpkin centerpiece and cozy fall décor. Guests can try out a complimentary glass of sparkling pumpkin punch as they gaze at all of the autumn awesomeness around them.

Rockwood Grill invites guests to indulge in Thanksgiving dinner delights with a turkey carving station (sage and date stuffed turkey, roasted tarragon mustard and thyme ham, trimmings), and desserts galore. Holiday dinner runs from 10am to 8pm and is $72 for adults and $28 for children. For reservations call 760-341-2211 and visit www.marriott.com.

Acqua and Lulu California Bistros:  These sister restaurants will be bringing Thanksgiving to guests in style in Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage. The mirrored four course menus (choose one of each) offers soups (traditional pumpkin, corn chowder, wild mushroom, minestrone), salads (red pear, Caesar, autumn lentil, sweet potato kale & veggie cake), entrée’s (turkey, turkey pot pie, glazed ham, etc.), and desserts (pumpkin pie, sweet potato cheesecake, etc.). The holiday fare is $39.99 for adults and $19.99 for kids 12 and under, offered from 1-9pm, with a special Holiday Happy Hour menu in the bar. For those who would rather take their meal home, the restaurants offer Thanksgiving pick-up orders, which can also be delivered for an extra charge. For reservations call 760-327-5858 for Lulu’s and 760-862-9800 for Acqua. Check out their full holiday menu at www.lulupalmsprings.com.

Copley’s: This beautiful Palm Springs restaurant oozes cozy warmth with historic significance as the former guesthouse of Cary Grant. Their three-course Thanksgiving dinner presents an appetizer (choice of, roasted butternut squash soup, Caesar salad, baby green, arugula and beet salad, three cheese tortellini) an entrée (free range turkey, smoked and grilled pork chop, grilled Scottish salmon, grilled prime New York steak, sesame seed crusted tofu) and a dessert sampler of pumpkin pie, chocolate pecan torte and vanilla bean ice cream. Price for holiday dinner at Copley’s is $70 per person. For reservations call 760-327-9555 and for more information visit www.copleyspalmsprings.com.

Arnold Palmer’s: One of La Quinta’s best dining venues, and the only one with its own putting green, will be bringing forth Thanksgiving dinner with a hearty three-course menu. Their holiday dinner is offered from 2:30-7:30pm, with choice of appetizer (shrimp cocktail, CV date skewers, wedge salad, potato leek soup, date and strawberry salad) entrée (free range turkey, prime rib, filet mignon, herb roasted salmon, diver scallops) and a choice of desserts (pumpkin pie, apple pie, flourless chocolate cake). Arnold Palmer’s Thanksgiving dinner is $54.95 for adults and $ 34.95 for kids 14 and under. For reservations call 760-771-4653 and for more information visit www.arnoldpalmersrestaurant.com.

The Nest: At this legendary establishment in Indian Wells, you can indulge in a three-course Thanksgiving dinner, and then dance away those pesky calories in their lounge. Their holiday menu offers a first course selection (carrot soup, Kevin & Dodi salad, wedge salad or Caesar) an entrée selection (traditional roasted turkey, prime rib, Scottish salmon, porcini ravioli, or rack of lamb) and for dessert, pumpkin or apple pie. They also offer a special children’s menu as well. Thanksgiving dinner is $39.95 from 1-3pm and $47.95 from 3pm on. For reservations call 346-2314 and for more information visit www.gotothenest.com.

Cuistot: Thanksgiving with a French twist will be served at this elegant Palm Desert restaurant. A four course menu will be offered, dine inside in the grand dining room or outside on the lovely terrace by the stone fireplace. The first course starts with a Scottish salmon and celery root salad, then for the second course a choice of, carrot and ginger puree soup, Caesar salad or their famous farfalle pasta. Entrée selections include, roasted free range chicken, English cut New York Sirloin of Beef, grilled seasonal seabass or organic quinoa with vegan chili and edamame. For dessert, choose from flourless chocolate cake with raspberries, Susan Dervieux’s Famous Pumpkin Pie, Cuistot Vanilla and Chocolate Sundae, or a fresh trio of sorbets. Holiday dinner price ranges from $53.50 to $58.50, depending on the entrée selected. Cuistot also offers their holiday dinner catered to go. For reservations call 760-340-1000 and for more information visit www.cuistotrestaurant.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino: Acclaimed chefs, led by Executive Chef Freddy Rieger, have assembled a beautiful menu to serve your entire family this Thanksgiving. On Thursday, November 23rd Fresh Grill Buffet, POM and The Bistro will create the perfect atmosphere to celebrate the holiday and give thanks with friends and family.

Autumn favorites are combined with Thanksgiving staples from around the world at the Fresh Grill Buffet, which is open from 11am to 9pm on Thanksgiving. Adults are $31.99 and children ages 3 to 11 are $16.99. Children under 3 are free. The all-you-can-eat buffet begins with the soup and salad bar, where Chef Freddy has prepared classic light fare of grilled shrimp and chicken Caesar salad, Autumn mixed greens with sun-dried cranberries, golden beets and goat cheese, and North Coast shrimp and orecchiette pasta salad. These will be matched with palate teasers such as butternut squash bisque and Amish chicken and corn chowder. Hearty entrees will include chilled seafood on ice and carving board favorites like maple roasted turkey breast, prime rib and honey-mustard glazed Virginia ham. The Chef’s Specialties will feature baked Atlantic salmon with lemon-dill butter sauce, seafood jambalaya, bacon-wrapped stuffed pork tenderloin with spinach and local dates and cornbread stuffing with maple roasted sausage. Ending on a sweet note, diners can indulge in the Fantasy Springs Signature Chocolate Fountain, pumpkin pie, warm raisin bread pudding and much more.

The Bistro takes a more traditional approach to Thanksgiving, providing families with favorites that are sure to remind them of home. The a-la-carte menu includes an autumn mixed green salad or butternut squash bisque for $8.00, a lovely main course of roasted Tom turkey, cheddar whipped potatoes and gravy, country-style cornbread stuffing with maple and sausage, asparagus with wild honey hollandaise, candied sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce for $28.00. A warm French baguette and whipped butter are served with every meal. And for dessert, a deliciously comforting homemade pumpkin pie with cinnamon whipped cream is available for $8.00. The Bistro serves Thanksgiving dinner from 3pm-10pm. The Bistro’s regular menu will also be available. Reservations are recommended for The Bistro and may be made via telephone at (760) 342-5000 or online at www.FantasySpringsResort.com.

Rounding out the abundance of Thanksgiving options at Fantasy Springs, POM brings the classics straight from Grandma’s kitchen. The a-la-carte menu begins with Amish chicken and corn chowder or autumn mixed green salad for $7.00. For $26.00, diners can feast on a main course of fresh roasted Tom turkey, cornbread stuffing with maple roasted sausage, candied sweet potatoes, buttered broccoli amandine, cranberry sauce and warm dinner rolls with whipped butter. Homemade pumpkin pie with cinnamon whipped cream complete the meal for $7.00. This Thanksgiving special is served all day on November 23rd from 12 noon to 11pm, and POM’s regular menu will also be available.

Keep in mind that restaurants book up quickly for the holidays, so try to make your reservations soon if you go. No matter if you choose to dine out, have it catered, or get into the trenches and cook it yourself, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.