Way before the barrage of unsolicited advice, the endless deliberations over whether or not to add a sprig of fir to the brine, the sheer panic when you realize it's drying out and there's nothing you can do about it, and the earnest entreaties to just put the effing thing in the oven comes the question: Where am I going to get a turkey for Thanksgiving (which falls on November 28 this year)?
Luckily, this is San Francisco and you've got options. Conversely, this is San Francisco and you're facing the tyranny of choice. Here are our best picks for where to pick up a fine bird that everyone will enjoy.
Beloved Bi-Rite has a number of Thanksgiving options, from a la carte side dishes and cheese pairings to an entire dinner kit ($179.99 for eight to ten people) available at both locations. If you're looking for just the raw, fresh bird, they've got Bill Niman Ranch ($60-147) and Mary's ($33-84), helpfully arranged by weight (in two-pound increments) and with serving size comparisons for flawless menu planning. The ordering deadline is Sunday, 11/24 for any date between 11/23-30. 3639 18th St., 241-9760 or 550 Divisadero St., 551-7900.
If you're truly aiming for that effortless Martha Stewart spread, look to Good Eggs, which sources theirs from Early Bird Ranch and Niman, ranging from 12.9 pounds of white-breasted ($100) to 18-pound heritage birds ($168.98). You can pre-order online now for pickup or delivery from Friday, 11/22 to Wednesday, 11/26, and be quick about it because they're already starting to sell out. Don't forget pie! 483-7344.
Home of the world's most rewarding (if intimidating) butchery classes, 4505 carries both Niman turkeys (a steal at the flate rate of $98, with an average weight of 17 pounds) and that wonderful monstrosity, the turducken. At $380 for 20 pounds, the beast comes with very detailed instructions for the daring. Everything must be picked up at the Mission location -- not at the Ferry Building -- from 11/25-27. 1901 Mission St., 255-3094.
The hilltop butcher to the fearless whole-animal set carries turkeys from Bill Niman but stands out for its creativity. Try a "Turchetta" (a deboned turkey, rubbed down with garlic, herbs and duck fat and rolled into a roast), for the same per-pound price as turkey, plus $85. If you've got a houseful of carnivores or you're determined to blow some minds at the dinner table with your towering ambition, consider the Exotic Meat Box, with rabbit, wild boar shoulder, duck legs, beef tongue and others ($175 for 20 pounds). They're taking orders now until approximately a week before Turkey Day. 235 Cortland Ave., 285-6328.
Guerra Quality Meats
This Inner Sunset purveyor has been around for some 60 Thanksgivings now, and there's probably no better turkey gravy around. Why not drizzle it over a Diestel ($2.99/pound fresh, $4.49/pound roasted) or Heidi Organic Turkey ($4.49/pound)? Guerra is accepting orders through Sat. 11/23. 490 Taraval St., 564-0585.