Oh Thanksgiving… it’s one American Holiday we at ABC License Company can get behind. We’ve all hosted before, an anxiety inducing, Xanax-taking, stabbing bystanders with a fork-type of affair for us non-pros, but consistently some of our favorite dinners for the good company, the delicious food coma, and the stories. One of our go-to recipes is Marilyn Monroe’s Sutter Street Stuffing.

Not only a piece of classic Americana, it’s also incredibly delicious. Sourdough, because San Francisco, soaked and shredded, raisins, parmesan, liver & heart, and a host of other ingredients that, all told, fill 15 ramekins when ready to assemble.The recipe likely came to be in 1956, during Marilyn’s marriage to Joe Dimaggio, and is written on a notepad from City Title Insurance Company located at 68 Sutter Street in San Francisco, which, incidentally, is just around the corner from the Dept. of ABC SF District Office!


We asked a few of our favorite restaurateur clients to share their stories. Here’s what we heard…

We already love Kim Alter of the forthcoming Nightbird for her boss kitchen skills and genuinely lovely personality, and this story endears us to her even more:

My biggest nightmare story would probably be about 10 years ago I had an “orphan thanksgiving.”  To make everyone feel better about being away from their families I asked each guest (14 of them!) what their family always made, what was their family tradition.  Most of them said normal dishes, like mashed potatoes, green beans, etc.  One of my friends said Divinity.  I didn’t have a clue what that was.  I found out it’s a meringue-like candy.  So I went and got myself a candy thermometer and a recipe from a friend.  I was all ready to make it, along with everything else, until Thanksgiving Day was like 70 degrees (in November!!) with humidity.  No matter what I did this stupid candy sucked.  I was so focused and stressed about this candy that I spent most of the day trying to make it work. At the end, it wasn’t great, but everyone was touched I tried to make them feel at home.


Hugh Groman of the eponymous catering company and Phil’s Sliders has another great (in retrospect) story.

We were going to Lake Tahoe to spend Thanksgiving with our dear family friends, which we did every year as a wonderful tradition.  I was about 6, the youngest of 4 kids.  By the time we got all packed and left our house in Lafayette for the 3 hour drive, it was late afternoon. I was bundled up in the back of the station wagon (no seat belts, of course).  About 2 hours into the trip, someone realized that the turkey had been left on top of the freezer in the garage back home.  I think we figured that it would be a real problem with raccoons etc. to leave it there for a week, so my parents made the decision to turn around, haul the whole family back to Lafayette to rescue the turkey. Never did that again.

Well, we can’t imagine anything more fun than an 8 hour road trip with 4 darling children.  Speaking of turkeys….

The Turkey

Scott McFadin, the man behind a cool collection of East Bay pubs (Kensington Circus Pub & Barney McBears Social Club), recommends this killer turkey recipethat chefs and normal humans alike will love.  Once you stuff yourself and your guests on the day of, Charles Bililies of Greek-coffee-cup-frozen-yogurt-having, mouth-watering Souvla & his lady Jen Pelka have a great recipe for your turkey bones, an Easier to Write Than Say Turkey Avgolemono (emphasis ours), a delicious, heart-warming soup considered by many to be “Greek Penicillin”.

And Mourad Lahlou has some opinions on the fowl (surprising, we know). In an interview with Food Republic, he offered this colorful exchange:

Food Republic: Let’s be honest. Turkey is a difficult protein, right?
Mourad Lahlou: It’s a fucking horrible protein. It’s like the worst protein. I don’t even understand why people…

FR: Tradition?
ML: Well, I get that it’s tradition. But it’s dry and people spend $150 on a fucking turkey. “Oh, this is heritage turkey!” It’s still fucking turkey at the end of the day. But you know what? That’s what makes Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving. I’ve gotten to understand that and kind of appreciate that.

FR: Give me some tips for cooking on Thanksgiving…
ML: I think that the best thing you can do is to prepare everything ahead of time. If you’re not having more fun than your guests, it’s not worth it.

Amen to that. Wishing every host the most fun this year, and may you all enjoy bountiful food and drink with friends or family.

We are thankful to know you. Happy Holidays!

– ABC License Company