BY BRIDGET SALMONS
Every year around Thanksgiving, I get the dreaded phone call from my older sister:
“Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?”
“Oh, I’m done.”
If, like me, you wait until the very last minute to start your holiday shopping, here are 10 great (and easy) gifts for the food-lover(s) on your shopping list.
Mercato Gift Basket
Complete with a gift certificate for two for dinner, their signature olive oil tasting flight glasses, one basil-infused and one garlic-infused olive oil, and bread sticks for dipping, Mercato’s Martha Stewart-esque gift basket makes you look like you went to a whole lot more trouble than just buying a gift certificate. $150. 215-985-BYOB; mercatobyob.com.
Did you know you can buy pints of Capogiro? Head to the store and get as many as you want, or shop online and they’ll ship it overnight. Some of the sampler options available now: Heat Miser vs. Snow Miser has pomegranate, egg nog with Southern Comfort, apple cider with clove, cinnamon, cranberry with heirloom apples, and cioccolato scuro. $60; capogirogelato.com.
Starr Restaurant Gift Cards
Give the gift of eating out — without the pressure of committing to one single restaurant. The cards are valid (and available for purchase) at all of Starr’s 17 restaurants. Might we suggest knocking out everyone on your list with these cards — when you spend $500, you get a free $50 bonus card (to keep for yourself as a reward for such efficient shopping). Starr-restaurant.com.
Jose Garces Gift Cards
Pretty much the same deal as above, but you get to tell the lucky gift recipient that they’ll be eating at their choice of the newest Iron Chef’s five Philly restaurants (Amada, Tinto, Distrito, Chifa, and Village Whiskey). Throw in a copy of Garces’s Latin Evolution cookbook for those who’ve been extra nice this year.
Locally Penned Cookbooks
A little DYI, but all solid choices from local authors for an all-Philly culinary gift. Our picks:
Il Viaggio di Vetri, by Marc Vetri
Latin Evolution, by Jose Garces
Almost Meatless, by Tara Mataraza Desmond and our very own Joy Manning
He Said Beer, She Said Wine, by Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione and local wine writer Marnie Old
Susanna Foo Fresh Inspiration, by Susanna Foo
Forklore: Recipes and Tales from an American Bistro, by Fork’s Ellen Yin
McKenzie Brew House’s Artisan Brew Basket
Ideal for your beer-loving boyfriend, brother, uncle, dad … The restaurant/brewery packs three of head brewmaster Ryan Michael’s beers (and two pint glasses) into a festive red ice bucket. The brews: Saison Brune Reserve, an amber ale brewed with spices; Cuvee McK, a spiced winter beer that’s aged in French oak barrels; and Saison Vautour, a blonde farmhouse-style beer brewed with rye (this one was a gold medal winner at Great American Beer Festival). $39. Available at the restaurant’s Malvern and Chadds Ford locations with 24 hours’ notice; mckenziebrewhouse.com.
Dock Street’s Barley Wine
Both winos and beer fanatics will love Dock Street‘s Barley Wine (their first-ever bottled beer to be produced and packaged at the new brewery). The malt-y, hoppy brew is aged for 10 months in oak barrels that once held Chadds Ford’s pinot noir. Available at Dock Street (dockstreetbeer.com) and The Foodery (fooderybeer.com).
DiBruno Gift Baskets
Our culinary epicenter has some gift basket selections filled we stuff that people will actually use. The pasta sampler ($59.99) has artisan pasta, Locatelli cheese, and their own collection of sauces. The “Top Shelf” ($89.99) oil and vinegar sampler comes with a 15-year aged balsamic and a fruity, unfiltered olive oil from Sicily, and is packed in a keepsake wooden crate. Or, head to the store and make your own oil and vinegar set. We love Badia a Coltibuono oil for $29.99. dibruno.com.
Tria Gift Cards
Tria’s running a pretty sweet deal: Purchase a $100 gift card and get a $15 gift card for yourself. Or, pick up a Fermentation School card and gift someone some pretty sweet beer and wine classes. Available at both Tria locations or triacafe.com.
The knowledgeable folk at Bella Vista’s Hawthornes or both locations of Foodery (Antique Row and Northern Liberties) can help you pick out a six-pack sampler of solid beers for your recipient to try. Go with an all-local sixer or find new varieties of their favorites brews. (You’ll have to bring your own bow.) Hawthornecafe.com or fooderybeer.com.