The Foodie Gift Guide

Being that we still have two days left of Hanukkah and one week until Christmas, I wanted to provide a few of current wishlist items to help anyone still shopping for the foodies in their life (even if that foodie is yourself)!  From coffee to cocktails, and everything in between, below are a few of the top picks also seen in the Girls on Food Gift Guide:

For the Millennial cocktail enthusiast: Abolut Elyx Copper Drinking Vessels
Send the perfect gift to the amateur bartender in your life, providing them with Instagram-worthy copper bar tools and drink-ware for every occasion. Shake up the holidays with curated boxes fit for all cocktail lovers, from the iconic Copper Pineapple to the gift sets that satisfy what every cocktail enthusiast really wants for the holidays: to make fancy and delicious cocktails at home with snazzy copper mugs.  Embracing all the current beverage trends, Moscow Mules, pineapples, engravings, copper-everything, premium drinking vessels and beverage tools, these gift sets are perfect for enhancing any drinking occasion. The official drinking glass of the Moscow Mule, Absolut Elyx’s copper mugs are preferred glassware of not only home mixologists but also of many restaurants and bars, being perfect at keeping drinks cold and extremely photogenic for the ‘Gram. #CopperMakesItBetter

For the caffeine addict: Stumptown Blend Trio

Everyone knows that three is better than one, especially when it comes to coffee. With locations in Portland, Seattle, NYC, New Orleans, Chicago and Los Angeles, and shipping nationwide, this premium coffee brand will definitely get the recipient more excited than just a regular bag of Starbucks. Whether you’re looking for a coffee gift for a committed pour over enthusiast or a newbie who just purchased their first Chemex, these popular beans from the acclaimed Portland-based coffee roaster are just the ticket. This introduction into Stumptown’s coffee collection is a tasty way to hone one’s palate, as the Blend Trio allows you to try all of their fan-favorite blends side by side.

fullsizeoutput_13c9For the hostess with the mostest: Gooseneck Board & Chambray Cocktail Napkins
The Gooseneck Board is a beautiful addition to any kitchen and makes a great gift, with it’s strips of walnut and stunning finish providing a subtle yet eye-catching contrast. The uniquely angled handle is rounded to fit warmly in your hand, and makes this board perfect for anything from paring kiwis to serving midday sandwiches and charcuterie. The Chambray Cocktail Napkins also provide an elevated complement to your hors d’oeuvre and cocktails, breaking the habit of using paper cocktail napkins! These thoughtfully curated goods, crafted with care in the USA, are sure to put a smile on the face of any host/hostess.

fullsizeoutput_13c1For the lactose intolerant: Almond Cow + Good Grips Pop Containers
This combination is perfect for those unable to digest cow’s milk, as they can keep their nuts fresh in the Good Grips Pop Containers, readily available for use with their Almond Cow! The Almond Cow is the most efficient way of home-making alternatives milks; it’s as simple as soaking nuts in water for a few hours, transferring the nuts in the grinder, pouring the desired water quantity to the fill line, and pressing the button on top. Then viola, within 30 seconds they will have the best nut milk of their lives! As if that wasn’t enough, they can add natural sweeteners in with the nuts, such as dates and maple syrup!

fullsizeoutput_13d5For the man’s man: Whisky Stones
For the most incredible man in the world, you need a gift that matches his manly beverage tendencies, especially if he’s a whiskey or bourbon lover. And if he’s on Santa’s naughty list, you can always joke that it’s coal!

DSC_0120For the supertaster: 33 Types of Beer, Wine, and Coffee books
A gift that’s BOUND to delight, these small gifts don’t skimp on quality and thoughtfulness. Based on the recipients main beverage preference, the 33 Types of Beer, Wine, and Coffee books are the perfect companion to take with you to breweries/wineries/cafes for palate development at every level. Who doesn’t love beer tasting / wine tasting / new coffee shops?

For the Jedi / Sith Lord: Star Wars Light Up Chop Sabers

These are the chopsticks you’re looking for! Let’s be honest, every Star Wars enthusiast wishes they could have their own light saber, and every sushi lover knows the benefits of non-splintering chopsticks. These light-up chop sabers will change the way one experiences their favorite Asian foods, and are sure to lead one on a truly epic dining adventure.

For the vegetarian: The Love & Lemons Cookbook + OXO Salad Spinner
Provide the inspiration needed for the vegetarian/vegan in your life with the most elegant cookbook, full of recipes they’ll actually utilize, marble imagery on the cover, and stunning vegetable photography throughout, hitting on every vegetable from A to Z! To complement the cookbook, a salad spinner will help them get started on the many different variations of salad recipes included!

For the home cook: Joule Sous Vide
While sous vide has long been thought of something only for high-end chefs and fancy meals, it really is such a simple concept and an easy way to get perfect results for both entertaining and everyday meals. The Joule, with it’s small size, stunning design, high power, and app that guides you in a way that other apps can’t, makes it easy for any home chef to enjoy sous vide. Basically, if you have a smart phone and you don’t like dry, tough meat or poultry, then it’s for you and your loved ones. (Note, sous-vide is a method of cooking in which food is vacuum-sealed in a plastic pouch (a Ziplock freezer bag does the trick) and is then placed in a water bath at an accurately regulated temperature lower than normally used for cooking. The intent is to retain moisture and cook the steak/chicken/fish evenly, ensuring that the inside is properly cooked without overcooking the outside. The sous vide method has been the secret to success for high end restaurants, and it’s about time you had the ability to make the same quality meals at your own home!)

For the craftsman: Littledeer Wooden Spoons
The craftsman will appreciate the supreme workmanship of the Littledeer wooden spoons, made by hand and available at your local Williams Sonoma. Elevate their kitchen accessory game by providing them with necessities such as the Omelette Paddle (useful with low-profile non-stick pans), Straining Scoop (capture olives in a jar and serve perfect poached eggs), and Serving Spoon (pretty enough to use for dishing out pastas table-side and sturdy enough to sauté with).

For the farmers market devotee: The Organic Cook’s Bible
From those new to the organic train, to those looking for more information to the “Is it organic?” question or for your friend who is always prepared with an explanation on the benefits on going organic, this book is perfect! This cookbook-meets-dictionary is one of the best tools on how to select and cook the best ingredients on the market.

For the guy who only asks you to bring beer: Beer Greetings
This year, do better than just bringing a simple greeting card or pack of beer that you grabbed from the convenience store on your way over; be prepared with Beer Greetings! Transform their favorite six pack into a thoughtful gift for the holiday party, satisfying their desire for beer while avoiding the I-forgot-the-gift guilt.

For the winner of most holiday spirit: Stocking Stuffer Christmas Sweater
Taking the Christmas Sweater game to the next level, the Stocking Stuffer Ugly Christmas Sweater comfortably fits an entire bottle of wine, making it is the best party trick! People will be showering you with compliments on your taste in ugly holiday sweaters when you show up in this nostalgic top.

For the aspiring sommelier: Centellino Wine Decanter
Stunning craftsmanship and elegance make this wine decanter a gift even your sommelier will admire. Made of 100% hand-blown Italian glass, this top-of-the-bottle aerator is designed to enrich the flavor of a single glass of wine. Warning: Its beauty causes an immediate desire to open a bottle of wine; always make sure vino is readily available when opening!

For the one dreaming of a tropical Christmas: Palm Springs Wine Charms
Palm trees, flamingos, pineapples, oh my! Rose gold metal and colorful enamel fills make them the perfect fun-meets-classy wine glass accessory. Wine drinkers and hosts alike will love the addition to their glassware collection, with charms that can be used year-round! After all, everyone could use a tropical vacation, and for some having a White Christmas is overrated.

Tahi Honey 3-9742_10+
For the health nut: Manuka Honey

Manuka Honey is known as the divine healing honey, being capable of clearing up inflammed skin and acne, to digestive troubles to remedying a cough, making it as close to a magical food as you can get. On top of that, this honey is raw, carbon-neutral, and environmentally friendly, which is especially important given that manuka honey is only made from bees that feed on the manuka tree. With such elegant packaging and delicious flavor profiles, it may be difficult to give away this honey to others.

For the one who always adds guac: Avocado Monthly
The gift that keeps on gifting; an Avocado Monthly Subscription will keep the holiday spirit going for at least a few more months! These organic avocados are plucked straight from the tree and then shipped directly to the recipient, providing the best, freshest version of the the already-beloved avocado. Each 6-piece box includes a range of avocado varieties from the “Avocado Capital of the World,” Fallbrook, California!

For the environmentally conscious: Seed Bearing Lollipops

Finally, a candy you can truly feel good about indulging in, as you can eat your lollipop and plant it (the stick) too! These pops are individually wrapped with pastelle packaging, and are available in flavors such as Lavender & Lemongrass, Rosemary & Mint, Lemon & Thyme, Peach & Marigold, and Vanilla & Hibiscus. The lollipop stick is biodegradable, so when you’re finished with the sucker you plant the stick and it will decompose and grow into the same herb or flower sprinked throughout the candy! The bundles are perfect for handing out to friends this holiday seasons, and the individuals make for great stocking stuffers!

For the roommate who needs a little reminder: Dishwasher magnets

This helpful reminder as to whether or not the dishwasher can be emptied will solve your dishwasher struggles. This practical, affordable magnet also comes in different versions: we recommend the simple teal and black for female roommates, and the beer version for your male roommates!

GE Appliances’ FirstBuild

GE Appliances’ FirstBuild

For the techie: Paragon Smart Cooking System by FirstBuild
Think your food-science nerd has everything?  Think again!  The Paragron Smart Cooking System serves more than just one function, and will impress anyone interested in keeping up with the Jetsons.  The Paragon induction cooktop and Bluetooth-connected temperature probe works with pots you probably already have in your cabinets (any that are induction compatible) and keeps the temperature evenly distributed and consistent for sous vide cooking, deep frying, sautéing, or stir-frying.. With this type of precision cooking, the world is your oyster!



Trend Alert: Alternative Milks


It’s really exciting to see so many coffee shops jumping on the alternative milk chain, from larger chains like Starbucks to local artisan cafes.  It used to be that the only non-dairy alternative was soy, but now you can easily find coconut and almond at almost every coffee shop, with hemp milk and cashew milk on the rise.

Stay on the lookout for any new options coming your way!

Large Soya Latte

Minkies for a large soya latte and two cappuccinos, please!

The soy milk, known as soya in the UK, tastes much better here than it does in the states. We picked up o ur caffeine for today in the Kilburn Underground Station to help get us ready for the festivities at the Notting Hill Carnival. Katherine and Daniel finally let me treat, which they much deserved in exchange for letting me stay at their flat in London for this week. I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful best friend with an award winning fiancé! I’m also thrilled there is a coffee shop so conveniently located, as we’ll pass it every time we take the Tube! My large soya latte was £2.30, which seems cheap but must be converted from pounds to US dollars. The only downside I see as of now is that it wasn’t open when we returned.   


Coffee & Tea Collective: Second location alert!

As you may or may not know, I’m a sucker for Peaberry coffees. Once I saw the Guatemala Antigua Peaberry on the Coffee & Tea Collective menu, I knew I had no choice but to order it. The barista informed me that this was one of their more chocolatey and nutty coffees, with an apple-like acidity sensation as you sip it and let it settle on your palate. I tasted notes of orange and dark chocolate, and although strong, the Guatemala Antigua hardly had any bitterness to it, even served black.

Brewed manually single cup through a V6 Drip Cone, the brewing techniques and styles at Coffee & Tea Collective are all very visual; aesthetically and aromatically pleasing. He wets the filter first for preheating and cleansing purposes, and superstitiously thinks it makes it tastes better that way. Since my coffee was made later in the afternoon, they used their lower-traffic hot-coffee method. Although this method took slightly longer, it’s perfect for anyone who has time to enjoy a cup and isn’t in a situation where they need a grab and go.

Second location alert! This East Village/Downtown spot is the second Coffee & Tea Collective in San Diego, which has only been open about a month and a half (since mid-February 2015). The space highlights the brewing methods, with easy viewing of how each beverage is prepared and served individually.





Tiramisu Latte with Coconut Milk

Yesterday I was told to take more risks in life.  Naturally, I took this as a challenge and decided to try out the new tiramisu latte at Starbucks.  I also tried their coconut milk for the first time.  Maybe it was the combination of coconut milk and the fact I never order sweetened drinks, but this was almost unbearably sweet for my sensitive taste buds (I think their caramel macchiato is the most sugary-drink I can handle).

Somehow the syrups added made this taste both bitter and overly sweet, with a slight artificial-flavoring taste.  I can see why the product development team at Starbucks felt like the tiramisu latte would work well with the brand offering, as tiramisu is a coffee-flavored Italian dessert and Shultz was inspired in Italy for the cafes.  I’d recommend this beverage to the Starbucks lovers who usually go for the Frappuccino and other sweeter beverages.

Jane on Fillmore

Do you know about Jane?

If you don’t know where that is or what I’m talking about then you absolutely need to quickly add it to the top of your bucket list.

Jane on Fillmore is one of my favorite coffee shops in San Francisco because of it’s ability to combine friendly and knowledgable service, high quality coffee, a solid food offering (everything’s great, from toast to granola), and a breathtaking decor and atmosphere. The wooden floor works well with the black and white theme (which carries over from the floral wallpaper to the logo to the pattern on the tables to the graffiti on the giant mirror to the ‘for here’ mugs). Their flag logo triumphantly declares Jane to the world, seemingly full of pride as it blows with the wind in it’s 2D form. With good reason! I love everything about Jane on Fillmore, the original Jane of San Francisco, one of my all-around favorite cafés. Even though it’s in Pacific Heights, finding parking is reasonably easy. Or maybe I’m just lucky here and the coffee-Gods just want to get me to my next cup at Jane as quickly as possible; who knows.

They brew Stumptown, and this partnership seems to work perfectly: combining the quality roasters quality beans with the quality baristas quality brewing skills.

Today I ordered an iced soy latte and toast, while Robyne ordered an iced mocha with almond milk, which she described as good choice, well balanced and not too sweet. My latte was craftily created with soy and Hair Bender espresso, a blend from Stumptown that changes throughout the year. It’s well rounded and tries to cover all the profile notes, leaning more chocolatey than floral or citrus.



Snowbird Coffee

For our post-Halloween coffee fix Amanda and I decided to go to Snowbird Coffee in Inner Sunset. I was attracted by the fact it was a new coffee shop I’ve never visited, as well as their chalkboard sandwich sign outside and their navy-blue and tan color scheme inside. There’s a long pathway/slope that you walk down and further in to the coffee shop, building excitement with every step closer to the smell of quality coffee.

We ordered two hot almond milk lattes and this is a decision I would both repeat and recommend. The drink itself was beautiful in the areas of taste + design + balance. They roast their own espresso at a warehouse in Oakland (they aren’t allowed to roast in their current spot on 9th Street because people live above it). The latte uses their Neverland Espresso blend, which they explained goes with theme of coffee shop, where everyone who works here comes from some creative background. Also, they just opened 3 weeks ago, and mentioned how, with the timing, they dedicated the Neverlend blend to Robin Williams (who played Peter Pan in Hook).

The Neverlend is a blend of a few Guatemalan beans. It has a nutty and cacao flavor – somewhat like dark chocolate covered espresso beans mixed with dark chocolate covered almonds.

Their hand stamped cups show their attention to detail and quality, and I felt the orange colored stamp was appropriate for post-Halloween raging coffee.

Because Amanda and I are only human and sometimes clumsy, one of us spilled. You know what they say, don’t cry over spilled milk, only spilled coffee.