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Alicia Robinson Turkey for Thanksgiving dinner is a...

November 27, 2003

Alicia Robinson

Turkey for Thanksgiving dinner is a tradition for many, but it's not

necessarily a must.

Area food service businesses have been bustling with holiday

business this week, but they're not just purveying drumsticks and

wings.

The Honey Baked Ham Co. in Corona del Mar has been doing a booming

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business and, contrary to what the name suggests, it does sell

turkey.

"[But] the majority of what goes out of here is ham," store

supervisor Colleen Skalla said.

People also have been buying side dishes such as baked beans,

cheesy potatoes and potato salad for their Thanksgiving dinners, she

said.

"Not everyone likes turkey," agreed Josephine Calentino, owner of

Calentino's Italian Deli in Costa Mesa.

Her customers come in hankering for the fresh Italian sausage,

meatballs, eggplant parmigiana and pasta her store offers.

"We've been here 35 years, so we have a lot of regulars that come

in for different things," she said.

Another haven for people who don't want turkey is Mother's Market

and Kitchen. The store sells vegetarian roasts and other meatless

main courses such as Tofurkey, chief marketing officer Sharon Macgurn

said.

The deli at Mother's prepares "all the trimmings" for a

Thanksgiving dinner and even makes wheat-free and sugar-free pies for

people with special diets.

Macgurn said customers come to her for organic produce, and those

seeking a holiday bird can choose a turkey that's fresh, certified

organic or free range.

And the customers have been coming in droves, she said.

"Thanksgiving is traditionally the biggest food shopping day of

the year," she said. "It's been nonstop for three days."

Chris Flores, kitchen manager at Big Belly Deli in Newport Beach,

said he's been making a lot more deliveries than usual this week.

In the days before Thanksgiving, "they're ordering pizzas because

they're cooking turkey at home," he said.

Flores expected a big crowd Wednesday night because of students

coming home from college and going out to reunite with high school

friends.

The deli hasn't gotten many turkey orders, but people have been

buying potato and macaroni salads by the quart, he said.

While most of the businesses interviewed are closed today,

Christine Briee at Le Biarritz Deli and Catering said she'll be

working. Briee's Costa Mesa business will be fixing meals for other

businesses that are open.

In the last few weeks she's prepared a lot of turkey for

businesses who planned their employee fetes a few weeks before

Thanksgiving to avoid competing with holiday meals at home, she said.

But now that the holiday season has begun, she expects more unique

requests. On Wednesday, she catered a meal of Maine lobster and New

York steak for an electrical company.

For Briee, Thanksgiving started in mid-November, but she won't see

too many more customers asking for turkeys this year.

By now, she said, "most of them want to stay away from it. They're

all turkeyed out."

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