The holidays will look a little different this year, with many choosing to stay at home due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and many others spending them apart from their families. With that in mind, gifting will likely take on even more meaning this year.
That’s also reflected in this year’s gift guide, which is larger that it’s been in the past. This selection of local gifts includes spice mixes from the late revolutionary chef Floyd Cardoz, a new wine subscription from Eater, and cute merchandise like totes and t-shirts from some of the city’s best restaurants.
Still want more options? Check out Eater’s list of gift guides across the country. For now, check out these 18 gifts for the restaurant and food lovers in your life.
Vesta chocolate gift sets
The craft chocolate purveyors at Vesta have taken the small-batch, bean-to-bar movement and applied the same sourcing process to sweets that include more than just chocolate bars (although they’ve got those, too). Vesta’s range of gift packages include hot chocolate, brownies, cookies, bonbons, cacao hazelnut spread, and more.
Price: $70 to $185
Virtual speakeasy with Santa Teresa 1796
Venezuelan rum company Santa Teresa 1796 has partnered with bartenders from cocktail hotspots around the country, including Ireen Ha from Dante, Samantha Casuga from the Dead Rabbit, and Meaghan Dorman from Raines Law Room, to offer virtual cocktail classes throughout the holiday season. A bottle of rum is included with the purchase of each ticket.
Seamore’s oyster shucking kit
Local seafood mini-chain Seamore’s put together an at-home oyster shucking kit that come with 24 East Coast oysters, a shucking knife and protective glove, plus all the condiments, including mignonette, cocktail sauce, and a mini Tabasco sauce. Make-at-home kits for lobster rolls or shrimp tacos are also on deck.
West-bourne’s something special set
After permanently shutting down her casual, all-day restaurant earlier this year, owner Camilla Marcus has kept the restaurant’s online pantry shop going, selling some of the most popular goodies and custom spice mixes from the laid-back cafe. West-bourne’s something special set packages some of the in-house hits like the popcorn trio and the togorashi chex mix along with baked goods from Lani Halliday, and a bottle of the aperitif Ghia, among other items.
Petee’s Pie cookbook
In Pie for Everyone, released this fall, Petee’s Pie owner Petra Paredez has divulged plenty of pie-making secrets from the beloved Lower East Side bakery. There’s a range of over 80 recipes for all types of pie enthusiasts covered in the book, plus lots of tips for getting the foundations of pie-making down pat, from achieving flaky crusts to nailing perfectly balanced fillings.
Sze Daddy chili sauce
Eric Sze, the chef and owner of playful East Village Taiwanese restaurant 886, has a chile sauce that’s a take on the spicy and savory Taiwanese condiment shacha sauce. Sze’s creation includes garlic, Sichuan peppercorns, Korean chile powder, star anise, and scallions among other ingredients. It’s ideal for tossing on salads, steaks, fried chicken, or all on its own if you’re into fiery condiments.
With Warm Welcome’s restaurant posters
With Warm Welcome, the group that amplifies Asian-American voices in the restaurant industry through its podcast, magazine, and online store is selling dozens of posters by designers like Max Kho and Seohui Chi. The prints depict NYC favorites like Adda Indian Canteen, Fish Cheeks, Wayla, and others, along with beloved dishes like the kimchi burger at Nowon.
Floyd Cardoz’s spice line
The renowned late chef died from complications related to COVID-19 in March, but his wife Barkha Cardoz decided to complete his last unfinished project, in partnership with NYC shop Burlap and Barrel. The line of spice blends includes a fragrant garam masala, a more subtle Goan masala, and a heat-packed Kashmiri masala. Profits from sales of the blends will be split between Barkha and Burlap and Barrel, with a portion of the proceeds going towards Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a nonprofit that Floyd supported during his career.
88 Lan Zhou short-sleeve t-shirt
Nonprofit Welcome to Chinatown has been working through the pandemic to support businesses in the neighborhood that have been impacted by the economic downturn. Part of that effort includes a merchandize shop with caps, crewnecks, mugs, and more, sold in partnership with New York institution Pearl River Mart. This limited-print shirt, created by graphic designer Harry Trinh, helps support 88 Lan Zhou, a Chinatown mainstay that closed its doors at the end of October due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Supergay Spirits vodka
This upstate New York small batch vodka company was started by one of the founders of queer biannual print magazine Gayletter, Tom Jackson, along with Aaron Thorp, a New York bar and restaurant vet. It’s made with local corn and filtered through activated coconut charcoal, which makes for a particularly smooth-tasting vodka. The vodka is sold at several local liquor stores across the city but can also be ordered online.
Tea and Milk’s DIY boba kits
This Astoria-based tea shop — known for its high-quality, well-sourced boba teas — started selling DIY boba tea kits earlier this year to help fund the team’s efforts to pay staff during the initial shutdown, donate drinks to hospitals, and buy and donate PPE to local clinics. Each kit comes with the customer’s choice of loose leaf tea plus brown sugar, raw boba, and instructions on how to put it all together.
Price: $32 to $40
An “Every Day I’m Trufflin” truffle slicer
New York City loves its truffles, but none perhaps more so than Liv Woudstra-Robinson and Cornelious Robinson, the founders behind local truffle supplier Trufflin. First spotted by Eater staff at Koreatown pop-up Joomak, the company sells a stainless steel truffle slicer, emblazoned with the words, “Everyday I’m Trufflin.” A selection of seasonal French truffles is also available for sale.
A schmaltzy tote from the Jewish Food Society
The holidays are an excellent excuse to bring a new tote bag into your rotation, and Eater wholly recommends this one from New York City-based non-profit the Jewish Food Society. Through recipes and food history, the local organization works to “preserve beloved Jewish foods and to celebrate new ones,” according to its website. This tote, designed in partnership with creative studio Fuzzco, pays homage to shakshuka, challah, herring, and more.
Eater Wine Club subscription
Reasons to uncork a bottle of wine are in no short supply right now, and Eater has New York City covered with this new monthly subscription. Available in packages of two or four bottles per month, the club’s shipments are curated by a different restaurant each month. The first package comes from Zwann Grays, the beverage director behind popular Prospect Heights restaurants Olmsted and Maison Yaki.
Price: $70 to $110
Ceramic coffee mugs from Recreation Center
Small-batch ceramics brand Recreation Center creates mugs that “contribute to a less boring and more colorful day,” according to its website, something most stuck-at-home workers could likely benefit from right now. The shop’s selection of patterned ceramics, created by Brooklyn-based artist Josephine Noel, includes patterned mugs, cups, bowls, and plateware. Shop the selection at her website or through Brooklyn jewelry store Mociun.
Price: $40 to $52
A fleece blanket for outdoor dining from the Four Horsemen
Williamsburg supplier of natural wine and good times the Four Horsemen is selling fleece blankets through its online store, perfect for bundling up on the couch or at your favorite restaurant outdoors. The cream-colored blankets are embroidered with a pandemic-adapted version of the restaurant’s logo, featuring a horse with a mask over its mouth.
A gifted donation to the Street Vendor Project
New York City food businesses have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, and street vendors — which rely on tourists and office lunch crowds to stay afloat — have been particularly at-risk of closing. At the heart of that struggle is the Street Vendor Project, a local non-profit that advocates on behalf of street vendors and provides affordable legal assistance to vendors facing fines from the police. Donations in any amount can be made to the non-profit under someone else’s name.
Price: $1 to $100
Omsom starter kits
Sisters Vanessa and Kim Pham kicked off OmSom in the middle of the pandemic, selling starter packs of Asian sauces and spices in collaboration with buzzy NYC Asian restaurants like Fish Cheeks, MáLà Project, and Jeepney. Since its launch, OmSom has grown to include starter packs that lay an easy foundation for several Southeast and East Asian dishes, including lemongrass barbecue, spicy bulgogi, and fiery Mala salads.