For many of us, the holidays are synonymous with food, family, and friends. And while we can’t gather for big feasts this year, we can still gift our loved ones something good to eat. Plus, by purchasing gifts from local restaurants, food carts, bars, wineries, and coffee shops, you’re helping to support one of the hardest-hit industries that provides so many of the city’s jobs. Read on for edible and food-related gifts for everyone on your list.
Tea and cookies for winter evenings at home
Smith Teamaker is offering a curated set of holiday teas ($10 and up) with seasonally appropriate names like “Ho-Ho-Hoji-Chai,” plus giftable boxes of cookies (8 for $20) from chef Karl Holl in flavors like miso peanut butter, chai chocolate chip, and Rose City raisin.
Become a square pizza specialist
Gift a make-your-own Detroit-style pizza kit from Pop Pizza (from $60), which comes with a reusable Lloyd Detroit-style pizza pan, dough, sauce, brick and grated Wisconsin mozzarella, and sides of hot honey, ranch, and basil. Help your recipient get dressed for the occasion with a “Pepperoni” crewneck ($55) or old-school “Square Slices” t-shirt ($25).
Bushel & Peck (which is in the process of changing its name to St. Beatrix) is known for its wacky flavor combos—squid ink croissants, anyone?—and these giftable caramels (ten for $14) are no different. Choose from flavors including mezcal-grapefruit-thyme, salted lavender, coffee-chocolate, and salted rosemary. The caramels are gluten-free and corn syrup-free (they’re sweetened with brown rice syrup instead).
The pandemic has many home cooks experimenting with recipes they’ve never tried before. For those wanting to dip their toes into cooking Indian cuisine for the first time, Naveen Raja of Portland’s Mumbai Spice Company has created a convenient starter kit ($16) of seven spices, including mustard seed, cumin seed, turmeric, garam masala, coriander powder, red chili powder, and cumin powder. With this kit, cooks will be prepared to make chicken korma, pav bhaji, mattar paneer, and more using Raja’s Instagram video tutorials, recipe cards from the Mumbai Spice Company website, and beyond.
Imbibe, caffeinate, and eat chocolate
Winery, taproom, and event space Coopers Hall is hosting a holiday (actually, a Hall-iday) market this year, both in person and online. One of our favorite items is this gift box, which comes with a bottle of Coopers Hall Cascade Red and a bottle of their Pinot Gris, two bars of Woodblock Chocolate, and a bag of Deadstock Coffee beans.
Display your love for veggies
Another pick from the Coopers Hall market, perfect for the veggie lover in your life: these artfully designed posters from Culinary Breeding Network that pay homage to the great winter vegetables of the Pacific Northwest. Culinary Breeding Network is a nonprofit that brings together farmers, seed growers, plant breeders, agriculture researchers, chefs, and consumers to create better-tasting fruits, veggies, and grains. Normally, the organization hosts its in-person Winter Vegetable Sagra in December; this year, the celebration's gone virtual and extends into March.
A restaurant-like Tonari experience at home
Tonari, the cool, casual spinoff of omakase restaurant Nodoguro (and takeout favorite of our critic, Karen Brooks), has an online boutique complete with all the pottery and place settings you’ll need to create a restaurant experience at home (from $8). Your recipient can enjoy their tonguekatsu slider sandwiches, oyster po’boys, and Russian honey and sour cream cake on handmade plates and lacquered bowls straight from Japan. Send your loved one a digital gift card so they can fill up those plates. You can also stock their pandemic palace with home goods like binchotan charcoal body scrub towels, teapots, and sake glasses.
Kachka in your kitchen
Let your giftee dabble in Russian cooking with the Russian pantry kit ($60) from Kachka that includes essential items like buckwheat groats, dried porcini mushrooms, Russian spicy mustard, jarred sprats, and pinecone jam. Add on a pack of four hard-to-find spices ($25), including an adjika spice mix, porcini powder, dried marigold petals, and blue fenugreek. Or, send a frozen dumpling party pack anywhere in the continental U.S., which includes six bags of dumplings—choose from whatever combination you’d like of beef-pork pelmeni, farmer’s cheese and chive vareniki, or sour cherry vareniki.
Wine and bread
Out of Bar Norman’s enticing selection of gift boxes, we’re most tempted to gift this red wine box that features a bottle of St. Julien en St. Alban from the Rhône Valley of France. This box also comes with goodies from some of our favorite spots this year—coffee from Reforma Roasters (the house brand of Pearl coffee shop La Perlita, which sources its beans from Mexico and hosts many BIPOC-led pop-ups); a gift certificate for bread from ancient grains pop-up bakery La Reinita, one of our favorite newcomers of 2020; a hand-dyed red tea towel; and a corkscrew.
Cookie boxes for a sweet recipient
Taming Turtle Cookies, which makes regular appearances at the Beaverton Farmers Market, is offering holiday cookie gift boxes ($33 for six) with two each of three essential holiday cookies: snickerdoodles, red velvet, and chocolate swirl (triple chocolate Nutella and chocolate chip combined). The box also comes with a customizable holiday postcard, and you can even have them shipped nationwide.
A taste of Thali Supper Club
Leena Ezekiel of pop-up Thali Supper Club has several stocking stuffers ($8-$10) on offer—chai masala spice, vindaloo spices, and garam masala, plus jars of pineapple chutney ($12). Call (503) 754-6456 to order; the last day to order is December 20.
Gifts for your Best Friend
Best Friend, which has a smoothie/coffee cart on SE Division and a juice bar brick-and-mortar on SE Gladstone, is known for its superfood smoothies, juices, coffee drinks, parfaits, granola, salad rolls, and chocolatey superfood Margalaxy treats all made without refined sugar, dairy, or gluten. Give your best friend a Best Friend hat, shirt, or tote bag paired with a gift card so they can pick out their favorite smoothies. Or send your bestie a bunch of Margalaxy treats—the Holiday Super Snacks bundle comes with enough treats for a month, including moon bars, peppermint moon bars, granola, halva balls (we're big fans of these), Snick'rz cups, and Samoa cookies.
Gift cards are always a good idea—especially when they're for your (or your giftee's) favorite local restaurant. After all, takeout is one of the few sources of novelty, joy, and an escape from our own cooking these days. Plus, buying a gift card helps your favorite restaurant or food cart make it through what's sure to be a tough winter. Tons of restaurants and food carts are offering digital gift cards now, which is ideal for people like me who tend to lose stuff. One gift card idea: Nob Hill food cart Farmer and the Beast, which was named one of our top 20 picks of classic cheeseburgers in Portland as ranked by critic Karen Brooks and her Burger Cabal. Grab your digital gift card here.