AIWFC: Catchup and Liquor

And so continues All I Want For Christmas, where I scour the town looking for cool food-related presents that secretly, I would really like to get, but that I’m also pretty sure you and yours would love too.

I’ve been a little behind on posting gift ideas for All I Want For Christmas, mostly because I fell down a rabbit hole. Just kidding, but that is sort of what this holiday season has felt like. I have been saving up ideas though, so let’s play catch up.

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33piecesofcheese1. 33 Bottles/Drams/Pieces of

Be your culinary vice whiskey, wine, beer, coffee, cheese or cigars, take notes on your favorite finds in these easy-to-tote Scout Books formulated by BS Brewing‘s Dave Selden. Billed as “a pocket-sized companion and memory aid,” the index card-sized journals come equipped with features like flavor wheels, color meters, and space for your undoubtedly brilliant tasting notes. The wine books even have wine mixed into the ink for extra authenticity. Find them at fashionable retailers around Portland, or buy them at 33beers.com–booklets are $4 a piece, or for $20 you can get all six.

Buy online here or find a local retailer here

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rubyjewelmarshmallows2. Ruby Jewel Delights

Lisa Herlinger and Becky Burnett’s Ruby Jewel Scoop Shop is one of Portland’s most beloved purveyors of all things cold, sweet and melty, but since ice cream does not historically hold up well beneath the tree for the days/weeks preceding Christmas, you’ll have to eat your scoop of fresh mint flake while you shop for hardier treats, like pretty packages of rich hot chocolate mix and Mason jars of housemade marshmallows, toffee, and pumpkin seed brittle. Or, best of all, you can mix and match from the scoop shop’s wall o’ stocking stuffers to create a custom gift basket for the Ruby Jewel enthusiast on your “nice” list.

Ruby Jewel Scoop Shop * 3713 N. Mississippi Ave. *  503.505.9314 * Facebook

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confectionerycaramels3. Confectionery Caramels

You’ve probably already fallen hard for Jessie Smith and Nicole Trueblood‘s dreamy macarons, but how about them caramels–chewy marble-sized sweets in imaginative flavors like jalapeño pink peppercorn, boozy ginger, and smoky timber, all corn-syrup free and with just the right amount of salt ($12 for 10). Boxed with a wink ‘n a smile, and some very snazzy glitter ribbon, they’re so tasty your favorite insatiable sugar hound won’t even mind that they’ve managed to glue their molars together ’til New Years Eve. And for that person who simply can’t belong to enough clubs that involve calories, I suggest enrollment  in one of Confectionery‘s three scrumptious Confection Clubs–the Salted Caramel Club, the French Macaron Club, or the Secret Surprise Club. (prices vary)

Confectionery website * Caramels available at the Crafty Wonderland shop and Fuschia

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foodcartpostcards4. Portland’s Food Carts Postcards

I’m mildly obsessed with postcards (see the Facestuffer Eat Sheet in postcard form here), so I’m quite taken with this six-pack of local watercolorist Linda Daily‘s food cart postcards ($8). Featuring Addy’s Sandwiches, Potato Champion, The Sugar Cube, The Big Egg, Rollin’ Etta and gone-but-not-forgotten Créme de la Créme, this collection of 4″x6″ watercolor prints is just begging to be stamped and filled with descriptions of your latest cart craving so deliciously detailed that it will arrive at its destination mailbox slightly sodden with nosy postman drool.

Find these beautiful postcards at Buy Olympia

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dishinguporpic5. Dishing Up Oregon

Local food writer and author Ashley Gartland has penned a saporous 288-page love letter to Oregon’s edible bounty and the farmers, chefs and artisans who spin it into culinary gold. With a glowing foreword by Portland super chef Vitaly Paley and 145 farm-to-table recipes like Chanterelle Rillettes, Grilled Oregonzola Figs and Blackberry Bread Pudding, you’ll probably want to let the recipient open this early in hopes that they’ll then use it to cook you a crackerjack Christmas dinner.

Buy a signed copy from Powell’s Books

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heathmantea6. Heathman Hotel Afternoon Tea

Sometimes, the best sort of Christmas gift is not a thing, but rather, an experience. After all, an experience can’t be lost or broken, doesn’t accidentally tumble down the drain, and never poops on the rug. Thusly, may I suggest getting someone special the gift of Afternoon Tea at the Heathman Hotel. Served inside the Tea Court, a posh haven warmed by a crackling fire and teeming with holiday swag, Christmas tea entails elegant personal pots of tea, layers upon layers of delicacies like scones with clotted cream, dainty chive cream cheese-spread cucumber sandwiches and smoked salmon profiteroles, and for a sweet finish, Parisian opera cake, lemon bars and tea cupcakes. None of which require assembly or batteries.

Heathman Hotel * 1001 SW Broadway * Click here for more info

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seelypatty7. Seely Family Farm Peppermint Patties

When I was a kid and we’d get to visit the candy shop, I’d head straight for the peppermint patties. Not only did you you get two pieces in your little brown pleated cup, which somehow seemed like beating the system, but there was nothing quite like the sensation of creamy mint filling surrounded by chocolate. For all the minty joy of a peppermint patty with that inimitable Oregon artisan touch, try Clatskanie, OR-based Seely Family Farm‘s sand dollar-sized version–soft snow-white fondant made with this fourth generation farm’s peppermint essential oil, lightly squished between dark discs of 60% Belgian chocolate ($1.50 each). Or, if you simply can’t get enough mint and chocolate, try Seely’s Mint Meltaways, White Double Mint Melts, and Peppermint Bark.

Seely’s online store * Find a local retailer * Also available at Whole Foods and New Seasons markets

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newdealgingerliquer8. New Deal Distillery’s Ginger Liqueur

Some daredevil ginger lovers seek the burn–that blazing sensation that comes from snorting the freshest of grated ginger root, or from guzzling that throat-searing ginger tea they have at Palio coffeehouse in Ladd’s Addition, or from stuffing ghost chilis with chunks of candied ginger and swallowing them whole. Less fiery but every bit as sassy is New Deal Distillery’s new ginger liqueur–made with fresh ginger root, cane sugar and agave, it’ll give you a pleasant burst of ginger flavor and a friendly buzz while leaving your mucous membranes intact.

New Deal Distillery * 1311 SE 9th Ave. *  newdealdistillery.com

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mumsspices9. Mum’s Kitchen Secret Spice Blend

When Mum’s Kitchen chef/owner Kammy Naidoo‘s cart was broken into a while back, the thief stole all her jars of Mum’s Indian Spice Blend and sold them door to door in the neighborhood until thankfully, a savvy cart regular bought the lot and returned them to her. Kammy, whose unique blend of South African and Indian cooking has earned her an adoring and clearly loyal clientele over the past two years, uses the mixture of paprika, turmeric, garlic and secret spices to flavor her sumptuous curries, as a rub on fish and to exalt the humble scrambled egg, among its myriad of utilizations. This Christmas, you can come into legitimate possession of these proprietary spices by buying a jar for $7 at the cart window, where Kammy is happy to shoot the biryani with you for a spell, discussing recipes, family, life, and the nuances of koeksisters.

Mum’s Kitchen * 3441 N. Vancouver Ave. * 503.287.0696 * mumskitchenpdx.com

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ridofme10. Rid of Me Tickets

Once upon a time, I was a food stylist for Rid of Me, a little indie movie that is getting a very HUGE buzz right now thanks to the incredible talents of director James Westby and lead actress/producer Katie O’Grady. Food was a big part of the protagonist Meris’ character and in the course of filming we made eggs benedict about 100 times, washing the hollandaise off the ham and poached eggs time and time again and re-pouring it right before the camera rolled so it would look fresh. We also burned a salmon to a crisp (on purpose) and accidentally subjected the cast members in Meris & her husband Mitch’s dinner party scene to a red pepper flakes overdose (long story and I’ll explain further in another post.) Anyway, take your favorite James Westby fan to see this filmed-in-Portland flick for Christmas. It’s playing at Living Room Theater and if you lose your appetite easily, you should probably down your deviled eggs before the opening scene.

Rid of Me at Living Room Theaters * pdx.livingroomtheaters.com