15 Fun Foodie Gifts

My bf wandered into the kitchen the other day, interrupting me in the middle of making cassoulet and a big mess, to complain that my Christmas list wasn’t fleshed out enough. “All you wrote was ‘bulldog’ and ‘a trip to Paris,’” he griped. “I need something more to go on than that.” Personally, I think that’s a brilliant and refreshingly succinct Christmas list, but our irksome exchange got me thinking, what would be a thrilling under-the-tree surprise for the food lover in one’s life if a bulldog and a trip to Paris are out of the question? So I went shopping, purely as research, of course, and I found these locally-sourced treats.

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Despite it being a fairly compact store, it’s easy to get lost in Memento, because just when you think you’ve seen everything, you discover a pair of silver salt and pepper shakers shaped like dachschunds, which is THE ideal gift for your crazy great-aunt, and you get paranoid that you’ve missed something else that might be perfect for some other nutty family member, so you’ve got to comb the entire store all over again. Just down the way from the bacon-scented air fresheners and pickle bandaids, denture-shaped ice cube trays and cheese cutters disguised as giant mousetraps are these whimsical Blue Q Yum! sandwich totes ($10). It makes me happy on sight, and how many things can you say that about?

Memento PDX * 3707 SE Hawthorne Blvd. * 503.235.1257 * Facebook

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bandbbiketumblerMontavilla just keeps getting better and better, its four-block stretch of small-town-in-a-big-city living now home to several great restaurants, two reliable pie sources, a bakery, cocktail lounge, movie theater, tub ‘n tan…and now, Branch and Birdie, a beautiful, airy boutique filled with Love and Toast‘s sugar grapefruit and mandarin tea perfumes, The Naked Bee oatmeal and honey soaps, fragrant Voluspa Saijo Persimmon candles, Rosanna dishware, and Butter London‘s luxurious all-natural nail polish–foodsters might like the rich purple “Marrow.” These hand-printed Vital Industries tumblers ($10 each) caught my eye–they are the ideal vessel for serving G&T’s to the die-hard bicyclist in your life, and pretty much every Portlander has a die-hard bicyclist in their life, right?

Branch and Birdie * 8021 SE Stark St. * 503.894.9338 * www.branchandbirdie.com

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cartopiaOkay, so whether or not you’re a little bit sick of hearing about Portland’s food cart scene, the fact is that food carts are hot and plentiful and delicious and fun and a permanent part of our local culture. Which makes them a perfect gift! No, not an entire cart, but here’s an idea–why not get the cart enthusiast in your life a copy of brand-new Cartopia: Portland’s Food Cart Revolutionand tuck a gift certificate or two to their favorite cart inside? Just a thought. In that same vein, local author and Breakfast in Bridgetown blogger Paul Gerald has just released the second addition of his popular breakfast guide Breakfast in Bridgetown “Second Serving”, so get it hot off the presses and accessorize it with a gift certificate to one of the local breakfast or brunch joints within.

Cartopia * portlandfoodcartsbook.com

Breakfast in Bridgetown * www.breakfastinbridgetown.com

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couriercupsIf you’ve been admiring Courier Coffee‘s handmade Scandinavian-style ceramic coffee and espresso cups, you can buy a set for your own kitchen at this weekend’s Sunday Best Holiday Sale, where local artist Gretchen Vaudt will be selling her lovely wares, including a selection of ceramic ornaments and her unique pinch pots, which can serve hundreds of purposes in your kitchen, from salt bowls to olive pit holders. The Sunday Best Sale, which has a long lineup of eclectic Portland designer participating, will be held at The Cleaners at the Ace Hotel on Saturday, 12/4 from 11am to 7pm, and Sunday, 12/5 from 11am-5pm.

Gretchen Vaudt, etc. * Sunday Best Sale * 403 SW 10th Ave. * sundaybestholidaysale.blogspot.com

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almaowlBasically, if I could have the entire contents of Alma Chocolate stuffed into my stocking, I’d be the happiest Christmas camper you ever saw. This is, of course, impossible, although I keep dreaming. This year I’m particularly enamored with Alma’s exquisite little chocolate owls ($1.50), which make both a well-received stocking stuffer for those you love, and an excellent office Xmas gift for those you tolerate and/or wish to stay in the good graces of. Not to encourage your cheesy streak, but you could accompany them with a little tag wishing everyone Happy Howlidays. Sorry.

Alma Chocolates * 140 NE 28th Ave. *  503.517.0262 * www.almachocolate.com

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pearlbakeryfigpaniniNormally, I probably wouldn’t suggest giving someone special a gift called Tour de Pain. But if you say it in your best bad French accent, and you get it from Pearl Bakery, suddenly it becomes something beautiful. Pearl Bakery’s Tour de Pain is a monthly bread club of sorts–for $25 you give someone a certificate good for a different loaf of bread every month for eight months. C‘est le pain!

Pearl Bakery * 102 NW 9th Ave. * 503.827.0910 * www.pearlbakery.com

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localgoodsflasksThere’s always someone on your Christmas list who can be placated with a flask. Someone like me. For some reason, people really like to get me Anne Taintor flasks that say “Why Yes, I Am That Kind of Girl,” not that I’m complaining, because, well, I am that kind of girl. Roaming around Local Goods general store, amidst the delectable digestibles and resusable sandwich bags, I found these fantastic duct tape flasks. Made by Portland’s own jDUCT, renowned for their unique wallets made of 100% duct tape to ensure that “no cloth, cardboard or animals were harmed during the construction of these products,” these flasks ($20) are in a class all their own. For the PBR lover on your list, or anyone who has trouble remembering which flask has the milk in it and which one doesn’t.

Local Goods * 2136 E. Burnside * 503.548.4390 * www.localgoodsllc.com

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parkkitchenflanksteaksaladTake it from a girl who is currently without a functioning dishwasher–your favorite wrinkly-fingertipped dish slave would love a break this Christmas Eve, so gift them a spot at Park Kitchen‘s first ever Christmas Eve dinner. The menu includes PK’s epic flank steak and blue cheese salad, black cod with chanterelles, and a double chocolate tart with pears and praline. It also includes the privilege of cleaning your plate and then having it disappear, no soap, water or resentful scrubbing required. Reservations can be made online at parkkitchen.com, at opentable.com, or reserve the old-fashioned way by using your cell phone to call the restaurant at 503.223.7275.

Park Kitchen * 422 NW 8th Ave. * 503.223.7275 * www.parkkitchen.com

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prasadinteIf you’re embracing the theory that cold hard stuff is out and experiences are in, get your favorite health and fitness enthusiast (or favorite should-be health and fitness enthusiast) the gift of yoga, wheat grass, and a guilt-free lunch from Prasad, the organic, gluten-free, vegan eatery inside Yoga Pearl. For $25, you’ll get a free yoga class, a $25 Prasad gift certificate, a 1 oz shot of wheatgrass, and $10 off a massage with Yoga Pearl Massage Therapist Gretchen Kloeppel. Everything comes in a cute envelope wrapped in ribbon, all you have to do is slip it under the tree/bag of Chips Ahoy. Call 503.224.3993 or email info@prasadcuisine.com to order.

Prasad * 925 NW Davis St. * 503.224.3993 * prasadcuisine.com

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pixteaAs long as we’re talking about experience gifts…is there anything more bonding than a cozy Sunday afternoon tea? And come tea time at Pix Patisserie, tea and champagne get equal billing. Hallelujah! On Sunday, Dec. 19, treat a champagne-loving friend, someone truly passionate about the sparkly, someone, say, like me, to Pix’s Champagne Tea Service. Indulge in a flight of 3 sparkling wines, a pot of Portland’s own Townshend’s Tea Company tea, a selection of 16 sweet and savory  nibbles, including French macarons, proscuitto-wrapped quail eggs, and chocolat chaud for $42. Champagne Tea (I love saying that) will be served between 11am and 4pm, and you’ll need a reservation to attend, so call 503.282.6539 or email rachel@pixpatisserie.com.

Pix Patisserie * 3901 N. Williams St. * 503.282.6539 * pixpatisserie.com

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feltpancakesWhenever I come across a display of Pickle Things’ felt food, I’m sucked into its force field by some invisible felt force. Felt spaghetti and meat balls, felt pancakes with butter and syrup, felt hamburgers, felt cupcakes, felt sushi rolls, felt salami sandwiches, felt PIGS IN A BLANKET–I want it all! In the back of my head, there’s a tiny sensible voice screaming something about budgets and not needing felt food and what on earth are you going to do with a bunch of felt food anyway, Jen, but sometimes you have to squash that little voice, because you simply must own a felt falafel pita! Pickle Things’ felt food can be found around town, in stores like Tender Loving Empire, Kids at Heart Toys, and the One Stop Sustainability Shop, or find them at next weekend’s Crafty Wonderland.

Pickle Things * picklethings.com * picklethings.etsy.com

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saltedAh, the cookbook collector–no matter how many pristine, glossy, hardcover cooking bibles they own, they can never have enough. Thank goodness, because this makes me, I mean, them ridiculously easy to shop for. And one of the best spots in town to track down a new addition to their library is Powell’s Books For Home and Garden, which has shelves and shelves of cookbooks broken up here and there by displays of sushi-shaped ear buds, Eiffel Tower French toast molds, tiny porcelain tea sets, and Go Vegan! calendars. This year, pick up a new release by a local author–like The Meadow salt guru Mark Bitterman‘s Salted, which is conveniently showcased next to a pile of salt boards–get both so your cookbook-loving pal can have their new cookbook and use it too.

Powell’s Books For Home and Garden * 3747 SE Hawthorne Blvd. * 503.228.4651 * www.powells.com

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champagneglasseselsa+sam no longer pretties up the 4300 block of SE Hawthorne, their shop’s exclusively online now, but they’re still providing the finest in individually crafted, artisan dishware. As they put it, “These are not common objects for common homes. This is art made by extraordinary people.” It gives me goosebumps. I want extraordinary art for my (sort of) extraordinary home! And while I love the handgun-imprinted serving dish and the teapots with boobies and handknit winter wear, it’s these exquisite engraved Swedish crystal champagne glasses by Giarimi Designs that have gone on my Xmas list. They look like something the angels would drink champagne out of, if angels drank champagne. (Oh, come on, you know they do!)

elsa+sam * www.elsasam.com

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presents of mind tshirtEvery year for my birthday, my Sis gets me something from Presents of Mind. They are always excellent gifts–last year it was a unicorn porn tshirt and this year she got me little finger food party plates you wear around your finger at parties, for your hors d’œuvres. They are not that practical–you get even the tiniest bit distracted by a passing tray of Kir Royales and your gougère is on the floor. But they are hilarious and sometimes, that’s all that matters. Presents of Mind is filled with must-haves like robot cupcake molds and mugs emblazoned with donuts, but this super-soft lavender Gama-Go owl cupcake tshirt ($28) is extra fantastic.

Presents of Mind * 3633 SE Hawthorne Blvd. * www.presentsofmind.tv * 503.230.7740

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stachechPortland is a town of flourishing facial hair, where the much-appreciated mustache can be and often is elevated to an art form. Artisan chocolatier Dane Artman of Neopolitan Printing & Company has gone so far as to immortalize “the gentlemen’s” and “the roosevelt” in chocolate ($15 each or $25 for both), and then mount them on a stick, so that even if you lose a bet and have to shave yours off, or are having trouble growing one at all (sometimes it’s so hard being a girl), you can still have a sassy ‘stache any time.

Neopolitan Chocolate and Company * www.pinkwhitebrown.com