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Unique Food/Restaurant Related Gift Ideas


LolaDC
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Hi, everyone. Your creativity and unparalleled knowledge of the DC food scene are being called upon. Can you help a fellow Rockwellian come up with a blockbuster Christmas gift for her big brother?

This year, my family decided that, rather than dividing our respective holiday budgets to buy gifts for everyone, we will each blow our entire wad on one lucky person. I picked my big brother, who lives in the area, and is very interested in exploring the food scene. I'd like to spend my budget helping him do so.

So far, I've found that some of the more notable chefs in the area give group instruction and all of the good restaurants sell gift certificates. These options are fine, but what I would really like to do is present my bro with an absolutely personal, personalized experience that he'll never forget.

Does anyone have suggestions or ideas? I'd like to keep it at or under $500 if possible. If I'm out of my mind or off-topic, please feel free to call me names.

Thanks in advance,

Lola

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I think it would be neat to tie in a bunch of different gifts around a theme that wouldn't all be blown in one day like one extravagent meal. For instance you could get him one of those chef-led instruction sessions and find out in advance what they will be preparing. Then you could could also get him a gift certificate somewhere to buy good quality provisions to prepare something similar at home (if they did seafood get him a GC to the Black Salt market, meat get something for Wagshal's, etc.). Top it of with a GC to Sur la Table or something so he could splurge on some good cookware or cutlery. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

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I definitely like the idea of multiple gifts within the food theme. I would highly recommend putting a visit to Minibar in the queue. Of all the food experiences I've had in DC it was the most memorable. Of course, you'd have to go with him to verify the excellence of the experience firsthand. :lol:

If he's more into food preparation, well, $500 buys a pretty awesome set of knives.

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How about a combination class/meal gift certificate? He can participate in a class with one of the great chefs in our area and then, at another time, enjoy a meal prepared by them at their restaurant (maybe with you :P or another dining companion).

Or a wine/cheese combo - sign him up for (1 or more) of Jill Erber's cheese classes at Cheesetique, one or a couple of the many wine-tasting classes in the area (haven't done any so don't know which are good), throw in some gift certificates for Cheesetique, a good wine shop, and maybe a restaurant that features wine and cheese like Sonoma or Dino.

Sounds like a fun gift whatever you wind up doing - wish I had such cool/creative siblings :lol: !

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Beware the gift certificate for cooking classes... I bought my mom one last year for Viking (she lives in a city with one of their schools) after she requested it. She still has not used it. I have to call and see if they'll extend the one year period.

What about mail order food products... like:

http://www.zingermans.com/Product.pasp?ProductID=G-BAC

http://www.wisconsinmade.com/wiscmade/prod...id=16&pf_id=732

But I'd go for mini-bar... let me know, seriously, I'd go. :lol:

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I gave Waitman a couple of classes for Christmas last year at Citronelle which he seemed to enjoy quite a bit ($125/class lunch and wine included - check current price). I was very pleased to enjoy one myself this last week and would highly recommend same. Chef Richard is a national treasure and should be hologramed into every aspiring french chef's kitchen, Cedric is a cutey and Mark is a fantastic foh host with superb wine pairings and a cool vest that I forgot to ask about. I also should say that having a super meal with great wine, in the middle of the day, all in the name of education is rather fun too. I also scored a cool orange Citronelle cap.

So if $500 is your budget, then in the fine glow in which you will find yourselves after lunch, either take a cab up to Sur La Table and blow the rest of the budget on giddgy-gagedts, or if you are feeling really profligate go to Dean and DeLuca and get something wildly overpriced like cavier or fois and send him home to his significant other secure in the knowledge that you gave the best-est present this year.

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Speaking of unique food related gift ideas. I happened to be picking up some stocking stuffers at Fresh Market and got some counter culture coffee and Pork Barrel BBQ sauce, I was thinking of trying to find some other DC/MD/VA based gift goodies. I will get chocolates at Artisan Confections. The problem is we are traveling from one family to the next on Christmas time and so they need to be fairly non-perishable (would love to have gotten some meats or cheeses, but it just won't work). What are other items that are pretty locally made that would make a good foodie gift basket. They don't have to relate to one another, just be good. Bonus points if they aren't too hard to acquire in the Alexandria/Arlington/DC area.

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I have a friend in Manhattan who loves getting a big tin of Old Bay seasoning from me. She can only get the little tins at a premium price.

Yeah they live in MD so old bay isn't rare, they are just in Western, Md and we are going to Cville then up there, so can't store things in fridge till last minute. Hoping to maybe get to a Farmer's Market this weekend, or find some stuff in Cville.

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