Last-Minute Foodie Stocking Stuffers
Whew! Now that all of my holiday preparations are complete (and I’ve finally recovered from a very non-hedonistic cold/flu that seems to be going around), it’s time to get back on track and share some holiday treats.
Foodies can be, at the same time, some of the most easy-yet-difficult folks to buy for. Below are some of the foodie-tastic offerings made by local restaurants and/or chefs (for, these days, it seems that everyone is coming out with their own products). In this selection, I tried to keep to products that are sold only on-premise (with the exception of one product, which is prepared in a communal commercial kitchen and thus currently available in select stores). This is a way to not only support that local/regional culinary flare that seems to put Seattle on the map time and time again, but also a way to cross that hedonistic foodie (or two or three) off of your holiday gift-giving list.
Your Hedonista frequently gets sample products to try and share with you. Some favs of mine I’ve already written about – like the signature salt of TASTE at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) – salts that I “discovered” just over a year ago, and which I’ve used on everything from my sweet to salty dishes. (It’s the salt I use to make Julie Malcolm’s Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispies Treats – a recipe straight from the Here and There Grill food truck.)
Speaking of food trucks, there’s also Bacon Jam from Skillet Street Food, which I “discovered” in early 2010 and recommend for fabulous appetizers this time of the year. Oh, and Marination Mobile/Marination Station – just launched a new product this fall: they are selling jars of their yummy nunya sauce as well as their pickled peppers. I can still taste that nunya sauce on the last SPAM slider I had … once I had a jar of it in my fridge, I now have at couple of cans of SPAM in my pantry, just in case.
Other condimental favs that are stocking-stuffer-worthy include Wild Ginger’s Curry spice and Sambal Sauce. In a recent interview with co-owner Rick Yoder, I asked him why package these two particular flavors for the retail market. He had this to say:
“Some of it is born out of necessity, and when you are cooking Asian as we do, curry and sambal are very important ingredients,” he replied, “and things you make that are home-made are better than what you’d find in the commercial world.”
Officially launched early last month, these concoctions were created by Wild Ginger’s Executive Chef Jacky Lo and Cuisine Chef Nathan Uy. Rick commented on the versatility of these two products – which will likely merely be the beginning of an entire line of such products if things go well – recommends that the sambal can be used in either East or West cooking, with an example of a Western dish being adding the sambal to a bolognese sauce to “kick it up.”
Speaking of kicking it up, I also enjoy a Browned Butter Garlic Spread by Chef Robert of BistroMarionette.com (so-named because Robert suffers from a genetic trait that hinders his mobility). This spread – likely the first of many Chef Robert plans to roll out – is so simple in its fabrication and yet soooo goood. Think of spreading it on garlic bread or whipping into mashed spuds (he offers a couple of recipes on his website). In short, this is one jar you (or your foodie friends) would love to have in their fridge. Find this little jewel at several stores in the area.
Chef John Howie also has some yummy spice rubs and seasoning blends under his relatively new 3 Chefs in a Tub brand. A 4-pack set includes the following: Porcini Mushroom Rub (2 oz), Salmon Rub (3.65 oz.), BBQ Spice Rub (3.65 oz.) and an Ancho Chili Rub (3.65 oz). A box set of four even includes recipes on the back!
Il Fornaio (although based in California, gets a nod because I just love these guys) offers their bottle of olive oil for $18.99 a bottle. This extra-virgin olive oil comes from Italy. A 17 fl. oz bottle retails for $18.99. They can also put together gift baskets – simply contact Retail Manager Crystal Hodgkinson to get things going.
I figure if I’ve gone to California and Italy I can head on up to British Columbia, Canada – for there’s a Vancouver-based company called Sea to Sky Seasonings, Inc.
Sea to Sky Seasonings sells an array of salts in tiny 30 gram clear plastic boxes at $4.95 each (plus tax, of course). They design the salts around B.C. regions.
For example, there’s Davie Street Salt made of sea salt and the rosehips, brambleberries and strawberries of Lady Hannah tea that give the salt a bright pink hue designed to match Vancouver’s colorful gay village scene.
There’s also Wreck Beach Salt, made with sea salt, turbinado sugar, black pepper, JJ Bean ground coffee, and chili powder that makes it resemble the sand on Vancouver’s famous nude beach.
And there’s Vancouver Island Seaweed Salt made of sea salt and dried seaweed to pay tribute to BC’s largest Island in the Pacific Ocean. Find these little gems at numerous vendors or at Edible Canada on Vancouver’s Granville Island.
So if the holidays still warrant some foodie fare for your fav hedonist, this should at least give you some options to consider.
Happy hunting, dear hedonists!