Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. No gifts, no religion, no guilt, just FOOD! We spend two days cooking: my husband makes the turkey, gravy that I’d happily drink like soup, and the most ridiculous challah stuffing (recipe here). I make the sides and my daughter makes dessert. But with all the mouth-watering turkey take-out on the Shoreline, sometimes I fantasize about skipping the whole megillah: the many trips to various grocery stores and specialty shops, the cooking, the cleaning! If you’re overwhelmed or uninspired, here’s a list of some of the best takeout (and takeout desserts) on the Shoreline. Elizabeth’s Cafe in Madison offers an elegant feast: start with mushroom leek crescents or butternut squash and apple soup, choose an all natural or organic turkey and three types of stuffing. Elizabeths pulls out the stops when it comes to sides: puree of celery root and apple and 13 more to choose from; finish the feast with butter-crusted pies or their famous cupcakes (pumpkin, of course). Click here for the menu and ordering details. (Individual turkey dinners available, too). La Rosticerria (Guilford) Italian accented menu is big on sides and pasta including an Antipasto platter and Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli, Fresh Cranberry Relish and Cranberry Apple Cider Compote. Bread stuffing and classics like mashed Yukon Gold, French green beans and roasted root vegetables are on the menu too. Desserts range from a small Apple Galette to Cranberry Walnut Pie. Heritage and Organic turkeys available to order. Click here for the menu and ordering details. La Belle Aurore, Niantic: I just had a simple and perfect dinner at La Belle Aurore: grilled trout with a mound of local roasted vegetables, and garlicky spaghetti squash with cauliflower fritters. Yum! If you’ve yet to try their thoughtful and creative farm-to-table cuisine, make reservations. You’ll love it. Their Thanksgiving menu won me over with the highly original Stuffing Muffins! What could possibly be better (except perhaps my recipe for Passover Potato Kugelettes)? A lovely ratio of crust to doughy interior offered in a bunch of flavors: Traditional, quinoa (gluten free!), sausage and apple, Butternut, cornbread and bacon. Who needs turkey? Stuffing heaven. Several options for starters and salads, all their local gorgeous veggies and Cake Balls (yes you read that right) are on offer, too. Click for the menu. Pictured, bacon cornbread Stuffing Muffins. Coffee’s Country Market in Old Lyme – On Tuesdays, when The E List team convenes around my dining room table for our weekly brainstorm and proofing session, we always send out for lunch from Coffee’s. We’re mad for their soups and sandwiches (especially mozzarella, tomato, pesto on onion ficelle) and my daughter insists on a breakfast sandwich from Coffee’s every weekend. I like their straightforward and incredibly well-priced Thanksgiving Dinner: For $250 you get an 18 lb turkey, homemade gravy, cranberry walnut chuntney, butternut bisque, stuffing, four sides, a Mile-High Apple Pie and a Pumpkin Pie that serves 10 – 12. Could not be simpler. Call to order: 860.434.3801 And if you’re heading out to Thanksgiving with friends or family, pick up dessert here: 4 & Twenty Blackbirds, Guilford: 4 & 20 is my go-to spot for chocolate layer cake and tie-dye cupcakes, but you’ll salivate over their Thanksgiving desserts, too. If you’ve never tried their Austrian Apple Cake (a towering confection of tart apples, sour cream custard and butter cookie crust), now’s the time. Apple pie and pumpkin pie are hand decorated with a maple leaf cut-outs and Shoreliners line up for Cranberry Orange Cheesecake. And for good reason: Nancy is one of the best bakers on the Shoreline. Don’t dally, when they reach their capacity, they stop taking orders. 203.458.6900 Dagmar’s Desserts in Old Saybrook is my favorite bakery for all things Austrian and Bavarian, but she makes beautiful Thanksgiving treats, too: Apple Cranberry Cake, Pear Fragipani or Cranberry Tart. My favorite? the Hazelnut Pumpkin Roll with Ginger Cream Cheese filling. Yum. Sheila’s Vegan Desserts: You won’t believe that Sheila’s cheesecakes have no cheese, but it’s true, and they come in myriad flavours. She’s great at cupcakes, too. Available directory through Sheila or to order at Dagmar’s, above. Olive Oyl’s of Essex is known for their delish take-out (lobster mac and cheese, osso bucco, chicken pot pie, but their desserts are drool-worthy, too. I like simple and straightforward (Apple Crisp) or complex (Lebanese Baklawa), but the’ve got traditional pumpkin and apple pies to order, too. Keep your houseguests happy with pumpkin spice coffee cake, pumpkin raisin scones or Olive Oyl’s famous sticky buns. Call to order: 860.767.4909 So, yes, I’ll be cooking this year, but I think I’ll skip the shopping and place my order through CT Farm Fresh Express. They deliver locally grown, mostly organic, fresh vegetables, fruit, dairy products, meat, baked goods, and more. Instead of lugging bags of potatoes, onions, and celery, they’ll miraculously appear in a cooler at my door. They’ll deliver my free range turkey from Ekonk Hill and those addictive pumpkin seed snacks from Super Seedz, too. A couple of dozen roses from Roses for Autism and I’m set!