If you can’t handle the thought of cooking one more thing for Christmas dinner, fear not.
You have options.
They range from a handful of restaurants open on Christmas Day to traditional take-home Christmas meals. And, of course, tamales and menudo by the gallon at one Mexican restaurant.
First, if you’re not looking for a traditional Christmas meal, Asian restaurants are often a safe bet to be open. Call first to make sure, especially since some have limited hours.
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This is not a comprehensive list, so if you want to eat out at your favorite restaurant, give it a call to see if it’s open.
New City Chinese Cuisine at 1484 E. Shaw Ave. in Fresno will be open regular hours, from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Popular on Christmas: a ginger-onion lobster dish and a whole steamed striped bass.
The restaurant will also serve dim sum – the dumplings and other small plates served from a cart.
Popular at New City Chinese on Christmas: the ginger-onion lobster.
If sushi sounds like fun, I Love Sushi at 465 W. Shaw Ave. will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The restaurant will serve its regular menu, including its “smelly Gilroy roll” with tempura shrimp, spicy tuna and fresh garlic, along with the Elvis roll with crab meat, avocado, tuna, eel and salmon.
If more traditional American food, as in steak, is what you’re looking for, Ruth’s Chris Steak House will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Christmas Day.
Surf and turf is sure to be a popular dish that day, with two lobster tails paired with a 6- or 8-ounce filet mignon or a 12- or 16-ounce ribeye.
Reservations are recommended, and you can make them online.
Marie Callender’s restaurants in the area will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. They will serve six holiday entrees, including roasted turkey, ham, beef stroganoff, artichoke and mushroom chicken, Cajun salmon and jumbo shrimp or vegetable pasta. All come with soup, salad and apple or pumpkin pie.
If you want to do it up big for Christmas, Erna’s Elderberry House in Oakhurst – the only five-star restaurant in the central San Joaquin Valley – is serving Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meals.
The Christmas Day menu features crisp black cod, apple braised duck and barley soup, a Christmas goose and a Christmas plum pudding. The full menu and details are online at www.chateausureau.com.
Dinner is served from 2 to 6 p.m. and costs $115 per person, plus $75 if you want wine paired with each course.
If eating in the coziness of your own home is important to you, there are several take-home meals and dishes available.
Of course, tamales are always a favorite this time of year.
Tamales are available for $23.99 per dozen at any Bobby Salazar’s restaurant in Fresno and Clovis. They make chicken, chile Colorado pork or Anaheim chile and cheese tamales.
The restaurants are also selling menudo – the traditional Mexican soup made with tripe (beef stomach) – by the gallon for $36. That’s about 10 bowls worth.
Call your nearest Bobby Salazar’s restaurant to order either the tamales or menudo.
The pork [tamale] is a slam dunk.
Jose Aguilar, Casa de Tamales
Casa de Tamales also sells its traditional tamales for the holidays, along with its creative vegan, vegetarian and dessert tamales. All are gluten-free.
The New Mexico chile pork is the most popular meat tamale and the vegetable-laden farmers market tamale is the most popular veggie option.
They cost $26 a dozen. Order them ahead of time by visiting the Tower District restaurant at 609 E. Olive Ave. or calling 559-541-4656.
Grocery stores sell traditional take-home meals, too.
Whole Foods has several different holiday meals available, ranging from turkey and ham with all the sides, to dinners for four people and a vegan dinner for two.
The full menus are available online at www.wholefoodsmarket.com.
Grocery store Sprouts has several meals, including a regular turkey meal, a natural turkey meal and rib roast and ham meals with all the sides.
Vons has heat-and-serve holiday meals featuring turkey or spiral ham and several sides for $49.99.
If it’s just the sides you’re looking to add to your meal, check out Marie Callender’s sides that can be bought individually. They range from fire-roasted yams to gravy.
Boston Market also sells sides individually and several complete holiday meals.