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Get in the Thanksgiving spirit, virtually | Let’s Eat

Also: The latest on the Philadelphia restaurant scene, plus Vietnamese street food and pizza worth checking out.

Thanksgiving is top of mind today, of course, and your family meal is likely smaller than it’s been in years past. (Which might not be a bad thing. I see you.) Read on for last-minute ideas to make the day special, and catch up on news from the Philly restaurant scene, which was dealt a blow this week.

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Michael Klein

Virtually, some of the best Thanksgiving ideas we’ve heard

Looking for ways to create a sense of togetherness while maintaining a healthy distance this Thanksgiving? Staff writer Elizabeth Wellington has a bunch of ideas, such as music playlists, DIY cocktails, and even a virtual cookie bakeoff.

Some holiday cheer

The second-best English-style brown ale in the U.S., as awarded at the Great American Beer Festival, comes from the new Attic Brewing Co. in Germantown. It’s Bloodhound Brown Ale, and critic Craig LaBan spills the back story.

Meanwhile, even though the beer business is overwhelmingly white and male, some of our regional craft breweries are making diversity a priority, as staff writer Jenn Ladd points out for an article in our “Let’s Eat” guide. (Miss it? You can order a copy of this 44-page magazine, which makes a great holiday gift.)

Need a wine for one of those big holiday dinners? Wine expert Marnie Old recommends a $10 off-dry California riesling that will have you covered.

Black Friday shopping? Here are some cookbooks and foodie gifts

Though many holiday traditions are on pause this year, gift giving remains a safe way to celebrate with friends and loved ones. Contributor Sarah Maiellano has come up with special gifts — all with Philly ties — that will be just right for gastronauts and home cooks.

Many of us have been in the kitchen since March, with breaks for Zoom calls and such. Food editor Jamila Robinson thinks that reason alone makes the 2020 holiday season a great time to give and receive cookbooks. She offers 21 books that are worth a look.

Restaurant report

And now for the sad news: Philadelphia restaurants have been barred from allowing indoor dining, a move that has already sent some restaurateurs to shut their doors temporarily. I’ve been keeping a list of the closings, and it includes the short-term shutterings of some big guns, such as Continental Mid-town and Monk’s Cafe.

Craig LaBan checked in with a few restaurateurs, and “the vibe ... was that everybody is feeling like the extinction event is upon us,” said Tyler Akin, who operates Stock and Le Cavalier in Wilmington, referring to a Zoom call Monday with about 50 local restaurateurs involved with a coalition known as Save Philly Restaurants.

Cheap meal

Wait. A cheeseburger, fries, and drink for $5? That’s the meal deal at a growing collection of food carts in South Philadelphia.

Local favorite

Recommendation for Vietnamese street food, served right on the street: Banh Mi & Bottles (712 South St.), Tuan and Olivia Phung’s family-run restaurant. Four tables out front by the curb, steaming pho (served in real bowls), crispy Imperial rolls, wings, vermicelli bowls, and killer banh mi. And the bottles? A fine beer selection of bottles, cans, and drafts.

New in the pizza world

When life gives you lemons, Viktor Tato and Romeo Bocaj decided to make pizza. The relatives were flying high in March with their long-running Good Day Eatery in the concourse of the Mellon Bank Center (1735 Market St). Then COVID-19 emptied the tower and destroyed their business. Their recent pivot: become a pizza parlor called Pizza in Style, offering generously topped, thin-crusted New York-ish pies. The bottom has just enough flop while outer crust is crispy with buttery sesame seeds. Here’s Viktor with a half-pepperoni, half-cheese (shredded mozzarella on the bottom, fresh mozzarella fior di latte above, and topped with shredded Parmigiana). You can pick up by heading into the Market Street lobby. Also on the pizza front: I’m hearing about the Nov. 28 debut of The Angelo Pizza at 229 Market St. in Old City — not to be confused with Angelo’s Pizzeria South Philly at Ninth and Fitzwater.