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Local Options: Alejandra’s Gift Guide for the Food Lover in Your Life

by Borderstan.com — December 19, 2011 at 4:17 pm 0

Capital Teas, Connecticut Avenue NW, Alejandra Owens

One local option is Capital Teas on Connecticut Avenue NW. (Alejandra Owens)

From Alejandra Owens. You can find her at her food blog, One Bite At A Time. Alejandra also writes for City Eats DC, a Food Network site, where you can book dinner reservations. Email her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @frijolita.

Buying gifts for your favorite food-minded friend can be both overwhelming and vexing. Us food folks can be intimidating.

What with our pickiness over restaurants, selective snobbery when it comes to things like booze, beer and coffee and who the heck knows what new gadget we’re oogling over in our kitchen this week! Worry not, I’ve got you covered.

No gift certificates to random restaurants you’ve never set foot in! No bags of “locally sourced, organic, farm fresh, hand milled” flour someone on Twitter told you makes great bread. These are real deal gifts you can give food lovers (not just foodies…but people who, you know, like to eat) and feel good about! Purchase and wrap with pride this year, you are going to be everyone’s favorite gift giver!

All these gifts can be purchased locally! Don’t forget to support our friends and neighbors by doing our holiday shopping at as many small businesses as possible! Store details below.

For The Home Cook With A Cookbook Library The Size Of The Library Of Congress

This is easier than you think. This is a selection of my favorite (read: go-to) cookbooks from the Big Timers and the Big Timers Who Happen To Be Local. Each of these cookbooks can be purchased at Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle.

Alejandra Owens, Home Rule

At Home Rule: An 8-quart enameled steel Le Creuset stock pot. (Alejandra Owens)

  • Serve Yourself by Joe Yonan, the food editor at The Washington Post is all about cooking for one. Nab it for your solo living pal who still loves to eat well!
  • The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters is a bullseye for that farmers market fanatic in your life. It’s all about real, good food done simply (and deliciously).
  • Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi is for both the always and sometimes vegetarian in your life… 120 vegetarian recipes, all crafted by someone who still likes meat means there’s creativity with an eye for substance.
  • The Glorious Pasta of Italy by Domenica Marchetti is for that carb-hound in  your life. That girlfriend who grabs for the bread basket, loves Pasta Mia and shuns jars of Ragu? This is for her. (Domenica also happens to be a DC local, so I extra love the idea of supporting local talent!)
  • Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan is for your foodie boss or friend who loves spots like Proof, Estadio and Rasika but loves to play around in the kitchen. They’re not afraid to give an “intermediate” recipe a whirl.
Home Rule, mortar and pestle, Alejandra Owens

At Home Rule: A 2-ended, 2-sized mortar and pestle. (Alejandra Owens)

For The Good Acquaintance/Assistant/Doorman/Caffeine Addict/Tea Snob. I am not opposed to food related gift cards at all… not one bit. But gift cards to restaurants can be a slippery slope. You’re trying to make things easier on yourself, yet you end up feeling like you have to put a substantial amount of dough on the things to even make it worth it. Enter Capital Teas and Dolcezza Gelato. If you feel like going out on a limb you can purchase some tea or coffee from these fine spots, or you can go the $25 gift card route and still be a winner in your acquaintance/assistant/doorman/caffeine addict/tea snob’s book.

For The Friend Who Really, I Mean Really Enjoys Reading the Sunday NY TimesOne word: Marimekko. Two words: Tabletop. A half block from the Dupont Circle Q Street Metro exit in a basement level boutique sits Tabletop. While they have an outstanding selection of jewelry, kids books and toys, cookbooks and trinkets — I have always been quite taken with their selection of, what I will generally call, “serverware.” Table Top has a lovely collection of mugs, latte bowls, cups and plates from famed designer Marimekko ($16-$50). What could make morning coffee or tea time more special than a beautiful set of mugs and plates to go with it?

For The Chocoholic/Sweets Fiend/M&M Lover Who Needs An Upgrade. ACKC in Logan Circle is a chocolate covered treasure trove, so why not take an opportunity to fulfill your favorite chocoholic’s cocoa bean dream? You can create your very own gift basket (hello, budget friendly gift giving!) combining chocolate/toffee covered pretzels, chocolate dipped oreos, artisanal chocolates, gourmet hot cocoa mixes and caramel popcorns! (Individual chocolate bars $3.50-$6.50, 6-pack chocolates $12, caramel popcorn $6, hot cocoa mix $10.)

For The Gourmand Who Laments The Folding Of Gourmet Magazine and Belongs To An Italian Wine Of The Month Club. Some food folk like to eat out, some like to cook a lot at home, some are gadget fiends and still others are food product connoisseurs. For these folks I say, buy them rich olive oils and fancy vinegars! No seriously. To a home cook who likes to dabble in the finer ingredients these pantry staples are the perfect gift. I can’t think of the last time I made something and didn’t reach for olive oil! Rainieri Gold Unfiltered Extra Virgin Olive Oil ($15) and A L’Olivier Vinegars (in Fruit de La Passion or Tomate, $16) are highly giftable go-to items.

For The Home Cook Who Has Everything. Well, not everything. Because you are giving said home cook one of two items: a two-ended, two-sized mortar and pestle ($19.99), or an 8-quart enameled steel Le Creuset stock pot ($54.99)! You can purchase them both at Home Rule, 1807 14th Street NW.

I’d be elated to get anything on this list (clearly, I am biased), but I wonder, what are you guys giving your favorite foodie this year? Anything we’re missing here?

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