It seems just downright wrong that Thanksgiving is but a week away. So much stuff to nab, so little time. Let's get started.
If you're heading out of town to visit familial relations in snowy destinations, then you'll need luggage. John's Fifth Avenue Luggage (oddly located at 3833 Fourth Ave. in Hillcrest) has full yet smallish sets for $120 and not the crud you pick up at the Downtown junk shops. The store has markdowns on most of the Vera Bradley bags, so you can bring some Holly Hobby country color to your carry-on. Plus, John's has an assortment of hard cases that roll sideways and valises of various volumes. Urban Outfitters (several locations) is closing out some of the Pendleton travel bags and at half off, they're a stylish choice for rugged men with mustaches and women alike. If you, like me, don't enjoy the adventure known as flying, you may want some accoutrement with you on the plane for distraction purposes. Le Travel Store (745 Fourth Ave., Downtown) has pillows and eye masks, blow-up stools for your feet and those anti-motionsickness bands that I don't think work but others swear by—plus gadgets and packing help and TSAapproved bottles and other things that may or may not take your mind off the fact that you're hurtling through the air at 30,000 feet in a giant tin can.
Perhaps you have the great fortune of not getting on an airplane and not cooking your own food. You would then be in need of a hostess gift. It's always acceptable to bring wine, unless you're feasting at a recovering alcoholic's house. In that case, I say go with a candle. It's predictable, yes, but also necessary after 19 people have descended upon a house with only one bathroom. There's no better place than Cathedral (435 University Ave. in Hillcrest) for your candle needs. They carry a crazy amount of different brands, smells, shapes, sizes and styles—from Tocca, Journey of the Bee and Paddywax, among others. If you go with wine, I've previously touted the virtues of San Diego Wine Company (7080 Miramar Road in Mira Mesa) for its vast knowledge and helpful guidance.
But maybe you're cooking. And you don't know how. Then Thanksgiving is the perfect place to start.
No, of course it isn't. Sur La Table, the coolest of the large-ish chains of kitchen goods, has a location in Carlsbad (1915 Calle Barcelona), and its cooking classes—upcoming sessions include “Holiday Tamales,” “Saveur Desserts” and “Take and Bake Thanksgiving Pies”— are top-notch. North Park just got an outpost of a small chain of cooking schools, Hip Cooks (4048 30th St.)—there's a class this Friday evening covering the basics of cocktail parties. And if you're looking to go vegetarian (or vegan) this holiday season, you may want to try a class at Veg Appeal.
Maybe you know what you're doing in the kitchen and just need some extra gadgets and gizmos for the big occasion. The little store-withina-store called The Kitchen Sink inside The Grove in South Park (3010 Juniper St.) has tools from Kuhn Rikon and Progressive, things like garlic peelers and mandolines. These are predominantly ergonomic kitchen thingamabobs, which means they're cute, too. The Pacific Beach cooking shop Great News (1788 Garnet Ave., great-news.com) has everything you need for roasting a bird and beyond, like injectors and basters and separators, plus classes in a backroom school, including a kid's Thanksgiving class and a Promise to Make Thanksgiving Easy class.
If you're cooking this year, I hope you forgo the ridiculously cheap but tasteless frozen turkey and go for a heritage bird. These are the turkeys that nature built, as opposed to the genetically modified, crap-fed, mass-produced birds. You can get one of them at a couple of places in town. Whole Foods has them, but so does the local butcher at Iowa Meat Farms (6041 Mission Gorge Road in Grantville). And, in La Jolla, Homegrown Meats (7660 Fay St., homegrownmeats.com), home of my favorite hot dog, is taking orders, but you must act fast. For local fixings, you should take a field trip to Susie's Farm (1856 saturn Blvd. in Imperial Beach) and pick out your purple potatoes in person.
If you want to go all Martha on your party and craft up some crazy place cards with turkeys made out of clothespins or some such homespun wackiness, you should drop in at Paper Tales (3960 W. Point Loma Blvd. in Midway), which is ostensibly a scrap-booking shop but really is just a big ball of beautiful inspiration. And they have pretty ribbons, too.
And, finally, you can get a prescription for Xanax from your doctor. Happy Thanksgiving!