December 11, 2015

December 11, 2015
1-Camel_Rob.jpg

One of the tablehopper’s vintage-style T-shirts. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

2-cheese_school_platter.jpg

Who wouldn’t want a cheese platter this pretty at their party? Learn the tricks at The Cheese School of San Francisco. Photo via Facebook.

3-aervana.jpg

The simple and effective design of Aervana. Photo via Facebook.

5-masteringsauces.jpg
6_Sodha_madeinindia_book.jpg
7_devils_acre_book.jpg

The holidays are here, and I know you’re being hit with a million gift guides, but here are a few more ideas for what to get the food lovers in your life. We also have some past gift guides here and here that have some still very relevant and fun gift ideas.

First, of course, I am going to plug my line of tablehopper T-shirts with vintage San Francisco restaurant and bar graphics. There are five in all, whether you want to go classic with the Blue Fox or sassy with Players Club or boozy with Tippy’s (yeah, these shirts are also good for your favorite booze lovers too). They’re all printed on quality cotton shirts that have a nice fit and they’re supersoft. Tees are $25, and the Blue Fox hoodie is $45 (it’s really plush and perfect for these chillier months). You can order online.

Be classy. How happy would you be to receive a gift certificate for a class at The Cheese School, or the San Francisco Cooking School, or one of the fun classes at Parties That Cook (also an awesome tablehopper sponsor). You can go Southern Italian with a cooking class from Rosetta Costantino or give a walking tour with Edible Excursions.

For the beer lover, a membership to Noble Brewer would rock—it’s a beer club that features home brewers.

There’s always a new wine gadget hitting the shelves, but the Aervana is pretty cool. (I tried it a couple of times and was impressed with the results—ditto my somm friend with the killer palate.) It’s a push-button aerator that is really simple (and clean!) to use, and it helps reduce tannins/improve drinkability in any wines that could benefit from some aeration. Do a taste test and you’ll see.

If you’re showing up to someone’s party or a holiday dinner, of course, wine is always welcome, but you can offer some other snazzy options too. Think about showing up with freshly made panettone from Rulli (some of the best—it’s so good with coffee in the morning, and tell the lucky gift recipient that they can use it to make the best French toast ever). Clairesquares has made a Classic Irish Christmas Cake, you can order it online or pick one up at Bi-Rite Market. And of course b. Patisserie makes one heck of a bûche de Noël.

Olio nuovo is such a seasonal present since it’s all being released right now. I love it drizzled on soft-boiled eggs, bean soups, and bruschetta. You can stick with domestic olive oil, like vibrant McEvoy Ranch (it’s organic and available online and at the Ferry Building), or Séka Hills (it’s made in the Capay Valley by Native Americans), or Round Pond in Napa. Market Hall in Rockridge has one of the best selections of olive oil from all over, period (and you’ll note on the shelves that Italy had a much better harvest this year).

Everyone loves being treated to dinner, so why not get a gift certificate to a hot SF restaurant? The way to do it is through ShareTable.org and the SF-Marin Food Bank, because with every $50 gift certificate purchased, $5 goes to the food bank (you can thank Mission Chinese Food for spearheading this fantastic program). We’re talking about GCs to State Bird Provisions, Foreign Cinema, Nopa, and more.

While I was at the MoAD Diaspora Dinner the other night, I was thinking how cool it would be to give a museum membership to someone (here’s a link to MoAD’s). You could go classic, like the de Young/Legion of Honor, and then there’s the new SFMOMA opening in May! Give the gift of some “culchah”! Another option that’s a bit more culinary in nature would be a membership to 18 Reasons. It has a lot of perks and does a lot of good—and all memberships are $10 off until December 31st, 2015!

While our bookworm Pete Mulvihill has a great roundup of holiday titles, I wanted to add a few more in a quick-fire round here (and don’t forget, you can find these at Green Apple Books!):

For the pasta lover (and maker): Pasta by Hand by Jenn Louis.

For the Swede (or Viking) in your life: The Nordic Cookbook by Magnus Nilsson (Fäviken Magasinet).

For the saucy home cook (get that demi on point!): Mastering Sauces by Susan Volland.

For the 2.0 Ottolenghi cook (and damn, is this a beautiful book): NOPI by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully.

For the friend who complains there’s no good Indian food in SF: Made in India by Meera Sodha.

For the culinary badass who always needs to master a new skill: Donabe: Classic and Modern Japanese Clay Pot Cooking by Naoko Takei Moore and Kyle Connaughton.

For your wino friend who loves malbec: Wines of South America: The Essential Guide by Evan Goldstein.

For the cocktail lover who would appreciate some schooling on SF classics (or maybe it’s just someone who loves and misses our incredible bars): Drinking the Devil’s Acre: A Love Letter from San Francisco and her Cocktails by Duggan McDonnell.

Cheers to all of you, happy holidays!