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Colorful bitesized chocolates in a white box.
Chocolates from andSons
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The 2019 Eater LA Holiday Gift Guide

The best gifts for food lovers in Los Angeles, from chocolates to dry-aged steaks

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Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

The most wonderful time of the year is here, and that means food-inspired gifts from Los Angeles. This year, Eater LA has compiled items different from past guides, including dry-aged steaks from Flannery Beef, a butcher that serves steaks in various LA restaurants like Kali and American Beauty. Those looking for something fun and reasonably priced can find branded merch from chain diner Norm’s. A gift set from Made by DWC, or the Downtown Women’s Center, supports a great cause in Downtown LA. And of course, there are a number of excellent cookbooks that will undoubtedly live on many a coffee table, kitchen counter, or bookshelf. But no one will fault you for at least attempting to roll out a fresh sheet of pasta from Evan Funke’s new cookbook, American Sfoglino.

Candle, soap, bath salts, and postcards from Made by DWC

Candles, soap, bath salts, and postcards from Made by DWC

The Downtown Women’s Center has a social enterprise called Made by DWC that supports women looking to break the cycle of homelessness through employment. For this year, the Downtown LA organization has made some very cool handmade gifts from scented candles to postcard booklets to soap. Women who are experiencing homelessness get to earn a living while learning job skills, experience, and more. The Joshua Tea soap is made with goat’s milk and honey as the base and comes infused with Vitamin E.

Price: $7 to $47

Swag from Norm’s, including T-Shirt, hat, cups.

T-Shirt, Trucker Hat, Mug, and Tumbler from Norm’s

Norm’s Restaurant takes their merch game up a notch this year with motifs from the iconic Googie-designed La Cienega location of the popular Southern California-based diner chain. The chain celebrates 70 years in business with colorful orange and teal swag, from a trucker hat to a printed T-shirt. All the gear is available at local Norm’s restaurants throughout the holidays and make for great stocking stuffers.

Price: $6.99 for coffee mug, $12.99 for T-shirt, $9.99 for hat, and $9.99 for tumbler, available at all Norm’s locations

Gin candle, gin, glass, and mixing spoon from Portuguese Bend Distillery

Donna Rosa gin gift pack from Portuguese Bend Distilling

Portuguese Bend Distilling continues to draw in the South Bay crowd with small batch distilled spirits with vodka and gin varieties in the current offerings. The Donna Rosa gin gets a very nice reddish tint from hibiscus infusion, plus locally-inspired botanicals that puts a different spin on traditional clear gin. It’s cleaner on the finish, all the better for simple cocktails in this gift set. The box also comes with Portuguese Bend’s gin-scented candle for a complete effect. The sets are available to pick up at Portuguese Bend (since the distillery can’t ship them directly at the moment) in Long Beach. Just call ahead to place an order.

Price: $100 for the box set. Available for pick up.

NBA caviar with Clippers and Lakers logos on a wood board

NBA-themed caviar from Pearl Street Caviar

The Lakers and the Clippers are both making strong cases as championship contenders this year, which means there’s no better time to treat the basketball fans in your life to glorious NBA-themed caviar tins. And if your family and friends aren’t necessary hometown fans, Pearl Street Caviar has a licensing deal with NBA Lab, which means a good number of other teams across the league have their branded tins. The silver-cased Siberian Select caviar has great pops of salty, oceany flavor that go great with butter and toast. Or for a step up, the gold-tinned Keluga offers rich, buttery notes and a nutty finish. (Note, caviar tins include opener, pouch, and mother-of-pearl spoon; cutting board and bread not included)

Price: $64 for 30 gram Siberian Select; $100 for 30 gram Keluga

Steaks, salt, and pepper with a chef’s knife on a cutting board from Flannery Beef

Dry-Aged Flannery Beef steaks

Flannery Beef, featured at restaurants like Kali, American Beauty, Angler, and Birdie G’s, butchers and dry-ages their own California ranch beef for a steakhouse-style experience at home. The highly marbled, well-flavored chops come in variety of sizes and cuts, from the massive 14-day 32 ounce dry-aged “Jorge” bone-in ribeye to a gift box of two 28-day dry-aged ribeyes. The best part is these steaks get delivered fresh, and keep for a number of days in the fridge. (Cutting board, salt, pepper, and chef’s knife not included).

Price: $68 for 32 ounce bone-in ribeye; $73 for gift box of two ribeye steaks

Bottle of rum and glass from Lost Spirits

Jamaican Rum from Lost Spirits

Lost Spirits might be one of LA’s unsung cocktail secrets, offering what might be the best distillery tour in the city, as well as amazing, reasonably priced rums and whiskies. Founded by Bryan Davis and Joanne Haruta, the distillery became famous a few years ago for the way it had developed spirits with “age,” despite not actually putting away the booze for decades. Anyone who has doubts just needs one taste to see the quality in the bottle, such as this extraordinary Jamaican rum, sporting rich oak flavors with a long, smooth finish.

Price: $40; Shipping only in California

Chocolates from andSons in a colorful box

Signature Collection andSons chocolate box

andSons Chocolates comes from Phil and Marc Covitz, whose mother opened Teuscher chocolates of Switzerland in Beverly Hills 35 years ago. With former Bazaar pastry wizard Kriss Harvey designing the colorful, beautiful chocolates, andSons is a delicious gift for sweet fiends in LA. Hand-painted chocolate and classic ganaches will appeal to both the traditional and adventurous chocolate fan. The signature collection, pictured above, has both sides of that equation, from yuzu verbena and peppermint lemongrass to dark chocolate ganache and coconut rum.

Price: $39

Maangchi cookbook

Maangchi’s Big Book of Korean Cooking

Korean Youtube sensation Maangchi, whom The Verge called the Internet’s Korean mom, puts out her second cookbook chock full of easy recipes and lovable dishes. The New York City-based personality might not have roots in LA, but LA is still the home of the nation’s best Korean food. Eat through LA’s amazing Korean restaurants then whip out Maangchi’s recipes to try cooking some of the dishes at home. Conversely, the cookbook works as a primer on Korean cooking, which helps Angeleno diners better understand the depths and joys of Korean dishes.

Price: $24.99

Instant coffees from Sightglass with tumbler

Instant Coffee and Tumbler from Sightglass

Sightglass Coffee makes a big splash into LA via San Francisco very soon with a roasting operation and restaurant in Hollywood, plus a second outlet already in the works in West Adams. Until then, opt for these instant coffee packs that come six to a box. They’re pricey, but the flavor is leaps and bounds better than Folgers or Nescafe. In a pinch, say at a camp site, out-of-town hotel, or a road trip, this might be the best coffee to drink within miles. These won’t, and shouldn’t, replace a great cup of pourover in your home kitchen, but as a stocking stuffer, they’re amazing.

Price: $18 for instant coffee; $23 for the tumbler.

Poilane Bakery cookbook

Poilâne Bakery Cookbook

Poilâne Bakery recently did a book tour through Los Angeles, stopping at République and the new Andrew’s Place with chef Phuong Tran of Croft Alley. The Paris bakery is famous for its massive one kilo sourdough boule loaves and a rustic approach to French cooking. Third generational baker Apollonia Poilâne writes the story of her family’s legendary bakery, with recipes that translate well with LA’s seasonal produce. For anyone who hasn’t made sourdough bread at home before, the highly detailed recipes are a great starting place.

Price: $24.49

Sweatshirt from Tacos 1986

Tacos 1986 Hoodie

Tacos 1986 knows just the right shade of red that will pop on its logo. This well-fitted sweatshirt from the burgeoning taco restaurant, which just announced an upcoming second location in Beverly Grove, is perfect for those looking to up their streetwear credibility. As winter months come to LA, this hoodie should do a nice job of keeping your limbs warm while you down some al pastor tacos. Tacos 1986 also offers plenty of other merch, from hats to windbreakers.

Price: $40

Coffee subscription from Yes Plz with beans and newsletter zine

Coffee subscription from Yes Plz

Yes Plz is an LA-based coffee subscription that sends small bags of coffee beans every week, plus a beautiful color ‘zine’ that provides the ideal coffee reading material. Eater Young Gun (Class of 2018) Sumi Ali and former Tonx founder Tony Konecny produce the 250 gram bags of whole coffee beans and weekly zine that covers everything from local food topics, politics, interviews, cartoons, and even a weekly Spotify playlist. Who knows, maybe one day those zines will be sought-after collectibles.

Price: $17 a week including shipping

Sonoko Sakai’s Japanese Home Cooking cookbook

Japanese Home Cooking by Sonoko Sakai

Sonoko Sakai has long been a champion of Japanese homestyle cooking, and the LA-based author and cooking teacher has written the essential book for favorites like soba, ochazuke, and oden. Often Angelenos think Japanese cuisine of mainly ramen and sushi, two foods that are indeed excellent, but Sakai expands the canon to include simple dishes using seasonal herbs, vegetables, and grains that work for LA home cook.

Price: $26.99

Amá cookbook by Josef Centeno

Amá Cookbook by Josef Centeno

Josef Centeno new cookbook takes a deeper dive into the Downtown chef’s roots in Tex-Mex cooking. Co-written with Betty Hallock, the recipes tend to lean toward the “actually do-able” range, from a homey one pot chicken soup to Centeno’s glorious carne guisada, which you can try at his newer Culver City restaurant Amacita.

Price: $18.87

American Sfoglino cookbook by Evan Funke
American Sfoglino cookbook by Evan Funk opened with pasta and recipe

American Sfoglino by Evan Funke

Felix chef Evan Funke goes all in with hand made pasta in his first-ever cookbook, which details the incredible effort that goes into making the pasta at his popular Venice restaurant. Co-written with Italian food writer Katie Parla, the pasta how-to might be a little too ambitious for the average home cook. But gorgeous photos and helpful recipes might inspire someone to be the next great American sfoglino.

Price: $24.65

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