Thanksgiving in LA with Bimble
By McKenzie Amaral
I think having practices at the beginning and end of days are particularly important in the chaotic, busy societies we live in. When everything is out of order and all the pages seem to be turned, a simple routine can be the bookends to the calamity of the day.
Gratitude is something I like to practice daily, but this time of year in the States is particularly designed for such recognition. My gratitude practice falls in my routine of morning or evening depending on my day. The practice is designed to not feel laborious, but to feel joyful and create meaning in even the small mundane things we so often overlook. As Thanksgiving approaches and a time of gathering commences I wanted to highlight some of my favorite places to gather food, wine and other provisions to gather friends and family around a table to enjoy a meal. Farmers markets, local grocers and small wine shops are some of my favorite places in all of Los Angeles. They create the space to connect with experts who are not just selling a product but are passionate about the product and the purpose.
Santa Monica Farmer’s Market
The Santa Monica farmers market is a Westside staple. Bringing together an ever expanding list of fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers and more, the Farmer’s Market has some of the highest quality ingredients you can find in Los Angeles.
One of my favorite stops for seasonal produce baskets is Schaner Farms. The seasonal baskets are composed of the seasonal wonders of California. From perfectly ripe persimmons to juicy red pomegranates, Schaner Farms and the composer herself, Adina, do a lovely job of composing beautiful baskets to indulge in yourself or as a gift to the host for the holidays.
At my most recent Friendsgiving, instead of staying in the tradition of turkey I branched out into a roasted chicken stuffed with seasonal vegetables. The Garden of had the perfect ingredients for the recipe. From rainbow carrots to crunchy celery the vegetable focused vendor has the best of the best and some variations of vegetables you couldn’t dream up.
Last but not least is Peads & Barnett, a pork & flower farm that couldn’t make two opposites more magnetic. Their attention to detail shows in their cuts of meat as well as in their floral arrangements. Their pork is sure to be devoured seconds so their protea arrangements dry beautifully and can be a reminder of your gathering long after you have enjoyed the main course.
Lady & Larder
Lady & Larder is a ray of sunshine and the perfect place to fulfill your charcuterie needs. The store is designed to the 10’s, seasonally driven and thoughtfully curated from each ingredient they place on their shelves as well as on their charcuterie boards. If you are lucky enough to give their Secret Lunch Menu a taste I suggest the Lucky Lady: Thanksgiving Edition, a divine sandwich filled with turkey, cranberry-mayo and baby arugula to just name a few of their quality ingredients.
Little Prince is a charming restaurant that focuses on locally sourced ingredients on their menu and natural wine in their bottle shop. Small batch and artisanal, the natural wine selection is thoughtfully curated and their friendly staff is willing to give you all the facts on the new trend in the wine world and the benefits, history and fun facts of this wine. If you are in the neighborhood for a Saturday or Sunday morning their brunch is a must visit.
The little gems like these across this city are so much of what makes me thankful for LA and the life made up of people I love and places I’ve curated. In fact, I’ve come to realise that my gratitude is so often best expressed after shared experiences with people who mean something and in places that matter. For this reason, I see sharing the places that matter to us as practice of gratitude. A way of paying it forward, not only to our peers to whom we pass on a recommendation but to the local businesses in our communities. And at this time of year, when we gather around a table with our families and friends, and we share in savouring ingredients produced and prepared with passion and purpose, these are the most nourishing of experiences that we can only hope to pass on to others.
The holidays can be a stressful time, but having practices, grocers and a good meal can keep you grounded and grateful.
You can find out more about each of these thoughtfully curated shops and discover more of my favorites via my Bimble or keep an eye out on Bimble’s Instagram (check the highlight reel) for a special takeover where I’ll be bringing the Bimble community with me around LA for a Friendsgiving I’m hosting.
Follow McKenzie on Instagram for more on LA, fresh food and tasty recipes from her cookbooks.
McKenzie Amaral is a writer, cook and lover of all things travel. Amaral’s love of delicious, healthy food comes from her early days of growing up in Napa, California. Her book, Dormet, has guided college students through the trials of cooking in college and beyond.