Countdown to Christmas: Obligatory Gourmet Crap

Mk. I am slacking on the Countdown to Christmas series, but OH WELL. Anyway not a fan of giving gourmet shit as gifts – especially since it kinda feels impersonal. But since people around me must feel the need to show off (kidding!) all the gourmet, fancy schmancy crap is going to be listed. I mean – what is there to explain, right? So here we go:

alice-chocolate

Chocolaté

I am no chocolate expert.
All I know are my favorite places. Hope it helps:

  • Alice I love love LOVE their packaging. So ultra feminine. It is the little things that count.
  • Marie Belle Their solid chocolates are not out of this world amazing, but their hot chocolate = WIN
  • Vosges Haut-Chocolat Not only do they use unique ingredients (bacon, wasabi, etc.), the packaging, presentation… the details are phenomenal. One of my favorite chocolatiers. EVER
  • SF Truffle Dude The actual establishment name is Five Star Truffles, but I call it the SF Truffle Dude, since I keep forgetting the name. ANYway, run by one man, this quaint store in SF is seriously OFF THE HOOK. Possibly the best truffle shop in SF. And that is quite a bold statement.

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Countdown to Christmas: Top 3 Ultra Girly Bath Crap Specialty Brands

The United States does not have that big of a bath culture, but there is nothing more therapeutic and relaxing than a bath. Or the scent of these products in your bathroom. Trust me. Sometimes the effects of the essential oils are more positive on females than Midol, alcohol, or Midol with alcohol. Hey, whatever floats your boat. I don’t judge.

Believe it or not, I do have a girly high maintenance side and the following is proof. While all my American friends head to Bath and Body, Body Shop, Sephora, and other mall stores, I only indulge in specialty stores and brands.

Sabon NYC

OMG how I love Sabon. Seriously. They’re Israeli products that use salts from the Black Dead Sea (thanks, Shan) and holy wow everything from here RULES. This is only one of the reasons I am glad to be back in Manhattan. I can physically go to the store, pick up, smell, touch, and feel the products, instead of buying them online. These guys are handmade, so every piece is unique. I particularly love the packaging of the lotions. -sigh- My recommendations: bath bombs, soaps, and lotions. Carrot smells good, and it’s not because I love carrot cake. Visit the site here.

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Countdown to Christmas: Edible Japanese-y Gifts ($$$$)

Okay. I never play up my Japanese roots. I would be lying if I said I was sorry for I am not. I am too EFin impatient to explain anything that has to do with my culture to those unfamiliar. But it’s Christmas, holidays, whatever the PC (not hardware) term is, and I am in the spirit of giving. So for any and all that may be interested in giving something Japanese-y, I hope this will help. Be forewarned if you’re on a budget I would recommend closing this window. Hey – it’s not my fault my people’s stuff is pricey.

Minamoto Kitchoan

和菓子 (wagashi) is what we call them and they are a gourmet delicacy. The site has variations of confectionaries, but my recommendation is 練り切り(nerikiri), pictured right. From the ingredients, preparation, presentation, packaging, to the details, time, care, and attention that goes into these suckers, the pricing is a steal. Each tiny circle or square symbolizes something. Please don’t ask what they symbolize, since I have no clue. All I know is that everything is seasonal. From the patterns, colors, shapes, and sizes, there are rules to what can be made when. Since it is winter, there are wintery (?) shapes. How do they taste? Think smooth and velvety texture to the bite, and once it hits your mouth, a thin veil of sweetness floats through your mouth. Best served with authentic Japanese Green Tea 緑茶 (ryoku-cha) Seriously, these are my absolutely favorites. They were my mom’s favorites, and that is why they are first. Biased? HELL YES. It’s MY list afterall. Image via elaurant33’s flickr Minamoto Kitchoan’s site here.

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Countdown to Christmas: 5 Unique Edible Gifts (No Bacon)

Yes, with gifts, it’s the thought that counts. And as a recipient, it’s not okay to complain – bad manners even. However, I don’t know about you, but if I were to get a food gift, I would not want a fruit cake, Hickory Farms sausage, or holiday baked goods from Starbucks or something generic. So why not get a little creative with your gift giving? I’ll compile lists for gourmet edibles (chocolates, macarons, Japanese sweets, etc.) but here are some unconventional ideas you can’t buy jumping on Dean and Deluca, Williams Sonoma, Neiman, and Saks’ websites. :)

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Countdown to Christmas: 5 Gift Ideas For Your Colleagues

Christmas is coming and people are bugging me for gift ideas, so I decided to do a Countdown to Christmas series. Every day I will toss out gift ideas. There is no set structure so any suggestions and or requests are welcome. :) That said, on to the first installment: colleagues.

Yes, times are rough, but it’s always nice to show a token of appreciation to your colleagues. You know, the people you need to get along with, in order to get stuff done? Instead of passing out a bunch of candy canes, why not refrain from purchasing a bag of chips for yourself until Christmas, grab a cup of coffee instead of that latte that costs a dollar or two more, save a few bucks and spend it on your co-workers to show that: I may not like you, but I respect you. So here we go!

Couch Potato Stress Toy (Stress Ball)

via kleargear.com. That site has a huge cubicle goodies section and an even larger stress ball series, all with price ranges of: $1.99 (for random fruits, animals, and no name things like the couch potato pictured left) to $3.99 for The Dilbert series. And hey, you can subtly name call the colleague / team member you don’t like by giving a passive aggressive stress ball of say a shark to that one asshole on your team. :)

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