One year ago, I launched the first Hopper Holiday Gift Bag, and it was such a success—thanks to YOU—that I decided to do it again this year. We all know how much our independent restaurants and pop-ups and food businesses continue to suffer from the pandemic, and yet they still manage to make beautiful food and holiday treats that fill us with delight. Let’s support and celebrate them with this year’s Hopper Holiday Gift Bag!
This abundant gift bag is packed full of some of the most delicious, local, hand-crafted, and festive treats, all curated by yours truly! I’m talking about 13 stellar, San Francisco Bay Area-made products, many of them from BIPOC, queer, and women makers, as well as small businesses that I know have been hustling extra hard to stay afloat.
You can order it for yourself, or you can split up the gift bag into stocking stuffers for your friends or as host/ess gifts, share a bag with a friend, or give a gift bag to someone who could really use a lift (and maybe can’t afford it right now). And there’s a donation included with each bag sold to La Cocina’s Stock the Pot fundraiser!
Check out the tasty goods:
- Le Dix-Sept Pâtisserie’s Nougat (2.8 oz.): Michelle Hernandez is the talented baker and maker behind her hot pink café that opened in the Mission last fall. Her sublime European-style blanc nougat highlights the quality of the organic honey she uses, with flavor notes and textures from mango, cacao nibs, and almond, while the nougat chocolat features dark chocolate, black mission figs, pumpkin seeds, and hazelnuts. One bar of either of these two flavors will be in your bag! Surprise!
- Golden Honey Cookies from Cinderella Bakery & Café (12 oz.): This Inner Richmond Russian bakery has been around and filling our bellies with piroshki since 1953! These traditional Russian “pryaniki” are honey-spice cookies covered with a glaze, giving them a festive look and taste—I love the soft texture and rustic flavor with notes of cinnamon. They’re fantastic with tea (or a hot toddy).
- Neococoa Double Chocolate Peppermint Marshmallow Quartet (4 oz., 4 pieces): Founder (and La Cocina grad) Christine Doerr has taken a quintessential childhood treat and given it a sophisticated make-over. Made with Guittard Chocolate’s cocoa rouge powder and peppermint extract, these fluffy marshmallows have a robust, fudge-like flavor, thanks to a 72% dark chocolate exterior. Both your inner child and adult gourmand self will be happy.
- Bourbon Caramel from Humphry Slocombe (9 oz.): Just like the gents of this 13-year-old, innovative ice cream shop and brand say, “Ice cream never had it so good.” Seriously! It’s so great to be an adult. You can also drizzle this boozy caramel on brownies, chocolate, pancakes/waffles, buttered toast, cakes, pies, muffins, or have a spoonful right down the gullet in case of any/all emotional emergencies.
- Shichimi Togarashi from Daybreak Seaweed Co. and Soba Ichi (1.9 oz.): This women-owned, Bay Area seaweed company teamed up with the chefs of Soba Ichi in Oakland for a California take on the classic Japanese shichimi togarashi. Also known as seven-spice seasoning, this spicy blend highlights the rich flavors of red chiles, roasted sesame, citrusy yuzu, and umami-packed West Coast seaweed. Sprinkle it on soba, ramen, stir-frys, steamed vegetables, popcorn, and fried eggs! It packs a punch, so start with just a pinch.
- Chingona salsa macha from Otra (8 oz.): Chef Nick Cobarruvias of the recently opened Otra in the Lower Haight is behind this crunchy, spicy salsa that is THE hot item (har) of the year. It’s made with roasted peanuts, garlic, and sesame. I love how versatile it is—it’s great drizzled on everything from eggs to meat or vegetable dishes to rice porridge.
- Cambodian Dirt from Shlaup Muan (3.5 oz.): No, you aren’t getting a shaker of dirt—this is Cambodian Dirt! It’s a wonderful spin on lemon pepper seasoning from downtown’s Cambodian fried wing shop from the kind husband-and-wife team of Hawk and Sophia, with earthy bass notes that contrast the bright hit of lemongrass. I love shaking this pepper to liven things up with a little acidic pop, from marinades to stir-frys to roast pork to soups, and it’s great on raw fruit and vegetables, but yeah, fried chicken is the move.
- Red’s House Hot Sauce #1 (5 oz.): Red’s House started as a Jamaican pop-up dinner series from mother-and-son duo Sharon and Christopher Russell, and they’re currently raising money for their first-ever brick and mortar (please check out their raise). They bring the flavors of the Caribbean to the Bay Area with this knockout sauce made with fiery Scotch Bonnet peppers, fresh ginger, garlic, lime juice, salt, and various spices. It packs a reasonable punch, while having a rich and developed taste, so it doesn’t overwhelm your food. Enjoy and lively up yourself!
- Sicilia Sauce from Omnivore (8 oz.): Local culinary icon and maestro Angelo Garro is behind the Omnivore line of salts and handmade sauces. His Sicilia sauce is like a concentrated Italian harissa, made with organic balsamic vinegar, fennel, ancho peppers, tomatoes, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and spices, slowly cooked for a day to create this versatile, unique cooking base—a little goes a long way! Brush it on meats and vegetables before grilling or roasting, or add it to melted butter and white wine to create a finger-lickin’ sauce over seafood. Perfect for rubs, braises, sauces, and roasts.
- Holiday Gingerbread Cookie Mix from Le Marais Bakery (1 lb. 15 oz.): There’s nothing like freshly made gingerbread cookies to get you into a holiday mood. Whether you bake them as a gift or to enjoy at home, your house will smell wonderful (and you’ll be showing your support to this beloved local French bakery that has had an extra-rough year, like so many of us, ugh, let’s all eat some cookies). This deliciously spiced, traditional gingerbread mix is based on a French pain d’épices recipe, mixed with Giusto’s organic pastry flour, Valrhona cocoa powder, and freshly ground spices. Packaged in their lovely blue bakery box. Makes 12-24 cookies.
- Holiday Blend: Paleo Chocolate Cheer Granola from Nana Joe’s Granola (8 oz.): Michelle Pusateri makes my favorite granola in town (Sunset Blend, all the way), and here’s her first-ever Holiday Blend, with nut and seed clusters (including pistachio!) and notes of chocolate peppermint (but not too much—it’s just right)! Here’s how busy elves need to start their day.
- Petit Fours Sec from Maison Danel (3.5 oz.): This Polk Gulch French pâtisserie and tea salon opened just before the pandemic (oof). But they have fought to survive and fulfill their dream of making a variety of baked goods and viennoiserie in an elegant space (you’ll need to check out their freshly made treats on your own). We’re doing a variety pack of their tuiles aux amandes (almond “tiles”) and langues de chat (butter and pistachio “cat tongue” cookies). These light and crisp cookies are perfect with tea, or for an afternoon or midnight snack.
- Everything comes in an oversized, tablehopper 15th Anniversary Canvas Market Tote! In honor of all the takeout and doggie bags I have brought home over the years, I asked studio1500 to design a custom tablehopper version of the classic THANK YOU takeout bag graphic. Thank you to all of you who got me to 15! We have a FINAL, LIMITED QUANTITY of 26 bags. Once the hopper totes run out, we’ll be swapping in the fab Queens tote below!
- Queens Market Tote: Since we only have a limited quantity of the tablehopper tote bag available, our beautiful back-up is this bright cobalt blue, organic cotton, canvas tote from Queens, a neighborhood Korean superette in the Inner Sunset (who will be opening a restaurant in the Outer Sunset in 2022)! It’s a sturdy and spacious tote (15” x 17”), with enough room for all your goodies.
- $10 donation to La Cocina: Your gift bag includes a donation to this incredible organization that has been helping over 130 low-income food entrepreneurs grow their businesses, since 2005! Right now, La Cocina is hosting a Stock the Pot fundraiser to update their 16-year-old kitchen! Their goal is to raise $75,000 for new equipment, appliances, and plumbing work. If you want to make a bigger donation, please click here. XO
PURCHASING DETAILS Whew! So how’s that for a festive celebration of flavor from our wonderful SF Bay Area businesses? The hopper holiday gift bag is $225 (click to order), and 100 percent fabulous. All sales are final, no refunds or returns. Sales tax and fees are all included.
Everything will be shelf-stable, so you don’t have to worry about getting anything into the fridge after you receive it (but a couple items will need to be refrigerated after you open them, and don’t leave any cookies sitting around for too long). An ingredient list will be included (or listed on some items).
Unfortunately, there are no substitutions or custom orders. If there’s something you can’t eat or enjoy, I’m sure you can find someone who will! Thanks for understanding.
Items are subject to change and availability—since we’re dealing with so many items here (13!), there’s a small chance we’ll need to make a change or swap an item. Please trust it will be delicious. Thank you for understanding, we’ll keep you informed of any changes.
Like last time, quantities are limited, so you’ll want to hop to it. Email me to be added to a waitlist if the bag is sold out.
In-person, pre-paid PICK-UPS will be available at Merkado in SoMa Tuesday December 21st, Wednesday December 22nd, and Thursday December 23rd, from 4pm-6pm each day. The bag will be listed under the name on your order.
Merkado is going to be offering special takeout holiday meals (did someone say tamales?) and cocktail kits that you can pre-order and pick up when you get your bag, and there will also be lumpia from The Lumpia Company, and holiday sausages from Sean Lackey. (Stand by for more details from me on how to order these additional tasty items.) It’s a great way to say “gracias” to Merkado for hosting us.
Merkado: 130 Townsend St. at 2nd St. There’s a parking zone where you can pull up. Please don’t contact the restaurant for any questions you have about the bag.
DELIVERY in San Francisco will be available Tuesday December 21st, Wednesday December 22nd, and Thursday December 23rd, for an additional fee of $12. (If you’re in the East Bay, please reach out and we’ll see what we can do, but the fee will be more.)
We’ll finalize your delivery time window after we get all orders in and can map things out. You will specify your preferred day and timeframe to start (morning is 9am-12pm; afternoon is 12pm-5pm, evening is 5pm-8pm). Available time slots will be Tue afternoon, evening; Wed morning, afternoon, evening; Thu morning. (Stand by for more details and a better ETA from us if you choose delivery.)
If you miss your delivery (things happen!) and there’s nowhere safe for us to leave it, you’ll be able to pick up your bag at Merkado. No delivery fee refunds (unless it’s totally our fault). Sorry, no shipping, and we won’t be able to offer the gift bags any earlier than Tuesday December 22nd.
On behalf of all our local restaurants, businesses, makers, and me, thank you so much. We appreciate all your generous support, and this gift bag is a kind way to share holiday cheer and show and feel the love. Our Bay Area hospitality industry is so special, let’s do everything we can to show up for it.
Thank you for reading my column and supporting my venture in so many ways these past fifteen years. It has been quite an adventure, and you are such an incredible community! The best! I raise my glass to you. Cheers and Happy Holidays!
(If there are any elves who have spare hands to help me out with bag assembly on Sunday December 19th, I’d be so grateful! Please send me an email and I’ll get back to you. Mwah!!)