‘Tis the season for gifting something delicious: Los Angeles artisans, brands, brewers, and makers are cooking up plenty of delightful creations to shower your favorite food lover. Beyond what you can eat and imbibe, the items below span the spectrum of gift-giving, including a surfer-approved merch collaboration made for languid weekends at the beach (it’s winter in Los Angeles, after all). Gifts that give back, meanwhile, include a hoppy beer set whose lager contributes proceeds to organizations working to eliminate inequality in modern institutions. Explore Eater LA’s gift guide for the best savory, sweet, boozy, naughty, and nice holiday gift ideas.
Eat Nunchi Kimchi Beef Jerky
Lexie Park and William Hu, the duo behind Eat Nunchi, are known for their whimsical, pastel-hued jelly-topped cakes. The pair also makes killer jerky. Their version of yupko, a traditional Korean beef jerky, is made with kimchi spice, three types of chiles, and premium Korean soy sauce, plus a handful of other ingredients that give it a fiery heat. File it under a stocking stuffer for spice lovers.
NIBEL Vegan Charcuterie
Vegans no longer have to miss out on the pleasure of a beautifully presented cheese-and-charcuterie board thanks to NIBEL, a new venture from fashion industry vets and husbands Lucas Dudley and Lubomir Jordan. Dudley and Jordan build intricate dairy- and meat-free charcuterie boards with spiced nuts, briny olives, fresh farmers market fruit, artisan crackers, vegan soppressata, and aged blue and French-style vegan cheeses. Gift one to a friend who doesn’t eat meat or dairy — or order one for your holiday party and watch it quickly disappear.
Cali Bolo Pomodoro Sauce
Chef Travis Hayden, who most recently helmed the kitchen at Silver Lake wine bar Voodoo Vin, makes tomato sauce that sings with organic California tomatoes, herbs, red wine vinegar, and tamari and coconut aminos for a hefty smack of umami. The small-batch sauce is a perfect stocking stuffer for red sauce lovers who want to finish their pasta with a chef’s kiss-worthy dose of Golden State sunshine.
Cafecita Coffee Gift Set
Culver City-based Cafecita sources beans solely from women-owned coffee farms and co-ops. All of the coffees are single-origin and sustainably grown, while the roastery operates on 100 percent renewable energy. Launched in 2020 by human rights lawyer Natalie Webb, Cafecita donates a percentage of each sale to nonprofits that support women around the globe. It’s coffee that tastes good and does good, so give it to a joe drinker with a conscience.
Fonuts Baking Kit
Local bakery Fonuts was ahead of the gluten-free curve; it’s been slinging baked, gluten-free, all-natural doughnuts since 2009. Now it’s offering budding bakers both young and grown-up the chance to make Fonuts at home. The company’s baking kits, which come in flavors like pumpkin, churro, and double chocolate, include essential ingredients, a signature Fonuts-shaped baking dish, and a half-dozen Fonuts box to get the full bakery experience.
BONDLE Champagne Magnum
The only thing better than a bottle of wine is a really big bottle of wine. Enter BONDLE, which Duyen Ha launched in 2021 with French varietals in festive magnum bottles, and now offers regular-sized 750-millimeter options, too. The company’s organic magnum of Champagne is a crisp, effervescent, lemon-kissed number from a female winemaker — making it the perfect gift for someone who loves bubbly and a big crowd to share it with.
Max’s Yummy Hot Sauce and Caesar Dressing
Max’s Yummy condiments, made by New Jersey-born chef Max Rappaport, live up to their name, thanks to a bevy of farmers market ingredients. The zippy fermented hot sauce strikes a great balance between heat and tanginess, while the creamy, garlicky Caesar dressing is great for a cae sal moment without the work of making the dressing from scratch.
Selah Bakery Cookies
With her line of plant-based cookies, Rochelle Tyler is on a mission to prove that butter isn’t necessarily the secret ingredient for great baked goods. Tyler makes 13 varieties of cookies, including strawberry and cream, Hollaback Girl (banana pudding), and hot chocolate (triple chocolate studded with mini marshmallows), in her Hollywood kitchen, using applesauce, vegan butter, or coconut oil to achieve a soft, buttery texture. Cookie monsters both vegan and not won’t be able to stop eating them.
Tequila and a Cookbook by Danny Trejo
Danny Trejo has already conquered doughnuts and tacos, with several restaurants across LA. Now the actor, who’s been sober since 1967, has turned his gaze toward the non-alcoholic industry with a newly launched, smoky, grassy zero-proof tequila alternative. Throw in a copy of Trejo’s Cantina cookbook so superfans can whip up snacks like Fight Night Nachos while sipping a zero-ABV Paloma.
CAR Artisan Chocolates
Although he’s known for making perhaps the best pain au chocolat in town, Pasadena-based Haris Car also produces excellent bean-to-bar chocolate. Car sources high-quality cacao beans from remote regions around the world that pay their farmers high premiums, letting the flavor of the beans speak for itself in simple but decadently flavorful bars.
Sesame LA Uniquely Umami Mushroom Gift Set
From microdosing moms to The Last of Us, it doesn’t seem like Angelenos’ obsession with mushrooms is going away anytime soon. Sesame LA’s Linda Srivrican curated a gift set for fungi fans featuring the likes of Smallhold blue oyster mushroom, Hot Pot Queen’s Mala Wild Mushroom Chile sauce, a mushroom-shaped spoon rest, a shroom-adorned tea towel, and more.
Ginger Bonnie Cinnamon Rolls
There is no better smell than fresh-baked cinnamon rolls. Baker Meg Day leaned into her Iowa roots to launch Ginger Bonnie earlier this year, specializing in fluffy, golden cinnamon buns slathered with a cloud-like layer of cream cheese frosting. Both of her grandmothers and her great-grandmother baked cinnamon rolls, with the latter selling them out of her home — giving her the perfect pedigree to satisfy sweet tooths around the city.
Sohn-Mat: Recipes and Flavors of Korean Cooking by Monica Lee
The 2020 closure of Koreatown’s Beverly Soon Tofu, opened by Monica Lee in 1986 and known for its bowls of bubbling soondubu jjigae, was a huge blow to Los Angeles’s restaurant community. In her first-ever cookbook, which hit shelves in September 2023, Lee shares 60 masterful recipes, including one for the iconic soft tofu stew, another for crispy-bottomed, spicy bibimbap, and plenty of banchan. Within its pages, Lee and co-author Tien Nguyen also masterfully weave in restaurant history and the evolution of Korean food over time.
Tinned Fish Variety Pack from Siesta Co.
The tinned fish phenomenon isn’t going away anytime soon. New Los Angeles-based company Siesta Co., started by Spanish American wife-and-husband team Lucia Flors and Carlos Leiva, offers Spanish seafood in gorgeously-packaged tins. The company’s variety pack features five conservas — mussels in organic pickled oil and mackerel, sardines, small squids, and white tuna in organic extra virgin olive oil — all sustainably sourced from Galicia.
Salsas and Merch from ATLA
Enrique Olvera opened his more casual, coastal restaurant ATLA on Venice’s Abbot Kinney back in August. Fans of the chef’s fresh, fiery salsas will delight in the restaurant’s salsa roja and salsa macha to take home. Other goods from the company include a popular granola, a blue-and-yellow dad hat, and a stylish kinto tumbler for anyone who likes to grab their coffee on the go.
Pippin Pommeau Gift Set from Benny Boy Brewing
Lincoln Heights-based Benny Boy Brewing crafts beer, wine, and cider, but for something a little more unexpected for spirits aficionados, look no further than the company’s Pippin Pommeau. The combination of California Newtown Pippin apple juice and apple brandy is barrel-aged to create to create a boozy, apple-y elixir. Opt for a gift set, which comes with two sipping glasses and the choice of Batch 1 (aged for one to two years) or Batch 2 (aged another year). How do you like them apples?
Natale Alla Puttanesca Gift Basket from Golden Poppy Market
Arguably one of the best artisanal markets in the city, Cypress Park’s Golden Poppy Market has a gift basket Italophiles will swoon over. The Natale Alla Puttanesca is stocked with three-foot-long spaghetti from DiMartino’s made in collaboration with Dolce and Gabbana, Ciao Pappy marinara sauce, Fishwife anchovies, Castellino grilled Italian olives, a hunk of Cucina Classica Parm, a “Bread and Butter” canvas tote, some fresh produce (Italian parsley, garlic, lemon), and more.
Apple Pie from Dunsmoor
Erika Chan, who in 2021 was recognized as one of Michelin’s Outstanding Pastry Chefs in California, recently started offering whole pies for pickup at Dunsmoor in Glassell Park. Chan’s brown butter apple pie is made with six heirloom varieties from Cuyama Orchards cooked in brown butter and finished with a double-layer, extra-flaky crust dusted with crunchy demerara sugar. Chan’s holiday pie lineup includes caramel pumpkin, spiced Asian pear, and charred date pecan. Any one of them can and should be a centerpiece of a holiday dessert spread.
Cobi’s x Salt Surf Merch
When it comes to merch, most restaurants make a hat or a T-shirt and call it a day. Cobi Marsh, the owner of the gorgeous Southeast Asian restaurant Cobi’s in Santa Monica, took things several steps beyond. She collaborated with California-based surf brand Salt Surf on an effortlessly chic new collection that includes a chore coat, pants, an impossibly soft green sweatshirt emblazoned with a shrimp, a canvas tote, and more. Shop two smart bundles created specially for this gift guide, or individual items like a charming silk scarf printed with a dinnertime illustration by artist Rose Louey.
Beer from Crowns & Hops
Crowns & Hops’ owners Beny Ashburn and Teo Hunter not only advocate for more equality in the beer space but also craft excellent brews out of Inglewood. The Black-owned, woman-owned, and veteran-owned brewery’s offerings include Slays Stout (a seasonal offering brewed with vanilla, maple syrup, and pecans), 8 Trill Pils (a light pilsner whose proceeds benefit organizations working to increase equitable access to health care, education, among others), BPLB Hazy IPA (tropical and stone fruit notes), and the Dopest Hazy IPA (citrusy and floral). A set of all four is the best way to say “hoppy holidays.”
Shoshi Watanabe Udon Essentials Gift Set from Mise
Mise, a brand-new culinary shop at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center in Little Tokyo, stocks everything from Japanese ingredients to cookware. The Shoshi Watanabe udon essentials gift set offers two custom-designed glazed ceramic bowls and two stoneware chopstick rests from the artist, as well as a pack of Kin-Tobi Kinuakari udon noodles, Hayashi-Kyuemon-Shoten dashi, and two pairs of chopsticks made from repurposed wooden oak casks from Suntory whiskey barrels. A recipe card details how to make the perfect bowl of udon. Pro tip: For an extra $10, the set can be wrapped in reusable, hand-painted furoshiki, a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth.
Royale Bread Bag from Atelier Saucier
Los Angeles-based textile company Atelier Saucier recently released its 2023 holiday collection, featuring everything from festive plaid cocktail napkins to laser-cut felt placemats reminiscent of doilies. The brand’s houndstooth bread bag, accented with a jaunty floral tie, can keep breadheads’ loaves fresh or take center stage at a Shabbat dinner. Proceeds from sales of the bread bag are being donated to Magen David Adom, Israel’s national medical emergency, disaster, and blood service operation.
Bread & Roses by Rose Wilde
Red Bread Bakery owner Rose Wilde’s new cookbook, Bread & Roses, is a celebration of all things grain-related. It deep dives into heirloom and ancient grains and explains, in precise steps, how to enhance their depth of flavor. The book’s 100-plus recipes include everything from einkorn labne dinner rolls to barley miso chocolate chunk cookies and the statement-making, beautifully adorned cakes Wilde is known for on Instagram, like a rye chocolate cake with hazelnut chocolate custard, sweet woodruff cacao nib cream, and German chocolate buttercream.
Joshua Tree Candle from DWC
Founded in 2011, MADE by DWC is a social enterprise created by the Downtown Women’s Center that seeks to end homelessness for women through job training and employment in a supportive learning environment. MADE by DWC is comprised of three businesses, including one focused on home and gifts. The social enterprise’s candles, like the Joshua Tree candle with notes of black tea, orange, and bergamot, are all hand-poured by women in the job training program. Evoking the spirit of places in the Golden State, the candles are also a way to help fund the center’s career training and mentorship programs.
Candies from Chilli Bomba
Move over, peppermint — there’s a new holiday candy in town. Locally made Chilli Bomba candies hit all the sweet, spicy, and chewy notes. The small-batch chamoy gummies come in sour watermelon, spicy peach rings, spicy gummies, and more.