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No present yet? No problem. By Anna Spiegel

Mother’s Day is May 11, and while moms are great at planning ahead, children/husbands can be less so. Don’t worry: The gifts below are readily available, but are bound to make her smile come Sunday.

1. Cuisinart SmartStick Immersion Blender 

If Mom’s a kitchen wiz, help her out with this handy, versatile tool that’s a must for home cooks. She’ll save time whisking or washing a big blender when making dressings, puréeing sauces, mixing smoothies, and more. $34.95 at Sur La Table, multiple area locations.

2. Sydney Hale candles 

We’re addicted to these locally made, natural soy candles. Pick fresh scents for the season such as rum-sea salt, bergamot-black tea, or citrusy lemon-olive blossom. Added perk: A portion of the proceeds are donated to animal rescue organizations. $28 at various local retailers.

3. GiftRocket E-Card

Gift certificates may seem lame, but these online cards are a more personal, flexible species. Senders suggest a business where the card should be used—say, Le Diplomate or Rose’s Luxury—and can even customize an itinerary including drinks or a movie. If Mom doesn’t like it, she can choose to spend the amount elsewhere. The gift cards can be used nationally, including at businesses that don’t regularly offer them. Available at GiftRocket.

4. Don Ciccio & Figli Italian liqueurs

Give Mom some local love with an Italian twist. Former Bibiana sommelier Francesco Amodeo crafts limoncellomandarinetto, and other fruit liqueurs inspired by recipes from his family and native Amalfi Coast. Perfect for summer sipping or mixing into drinks. From $32.99 at Batch 13 and other area retailers.

5. My Irish Table 

The newest local cookbook to hit the shelves from Restaurant Eve chef/owner Cathal Armstrong makes a wonderful gift, both for its recipes and for its eye-catching photographs. You could even go the extra mile and make Mom an Irish breakfast from the first chapter. $35 at Kramer Books, or from Amazon.

6. Macaron Bee confections

If you’ve given Mom chocolates every year, think outside the truffle box and pick up these colorful, tasty macarons. The Georgetown boutique offers various packages and individual sweets, in flavors such as chocolate-lavender, Earl Grey, and passionfruit. $1.90 per macaron; $11.40 for a box of six; $21 for a dozen.

Posted at 11:26 AM/ET, 05/09/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Last-minute buys for your favorite cook, barkeep, and entertainer. By Anna Spiegel

If you’re looking for a last-minute present that’ll still impress your favorite epicurean, we’re here to help. All are available online (and some in local stores), with Christmas Day arrival dates for shipping still in effect. 

1. Bourbon Smoked Paprika, $9 from Bourbon Barrel Foods (online) and Seasonal Pantry.

If you love the flavor of Spanish pimentón, try this bourbon barrel-smoked paprika for an American twist. It’s fantastic for sprinkling on deviled eggs or stirring into chili. 

2. Le Creuset fondue set, $39.95 from Zappos.

Forget fondue parties. La Creuset’s set is made for dipping à deux, so you can pretend you’re in a romantic Swiss chalet. 

3. Sagaform wine carafe with oak stopper, $34.95 from Burke Decor

Decanters are a terrific gift for wine enthusiasts, or anyone who wants to look classy pouring their favorite vino. We particularly love the modern look of Sagaform’s. 

4. Moroccan appetizer plates, $10 each from Jayson Home.

These beautiful hand-painted ceramic plates are a wonderful gift for the frequent entertainer, whether used for canapés or small starters. 

5. Kipik toothpick holder, $25 from the MoMa Store.

The Museum of Modern Art’s online gift shop is a treasure trove for unique gifts, like this adorable little guy who’s particularly handy during cocktail parties. 

6. Bodum travel press coffee maker, $30 from Bodum.com.

Perfect for the coffee nerd on-the-run (as they tend to be with all that caffeine). 

7. Mason jar shaker, $35 from Food 52 Provisions (online) or Salt & Sundry.

Sure, mason jars are the drinking vehicle du jour, but how many home bars boast a Ball shaker? 

8. Polk pleats apron, $32 at Anthropologie.

For the hostess with the most-ess, Anthro’s feminine aprons are a great way to impress guests before the meal even starts. 

9. Moscow Mule copper mug, $20 (per mug) from Sur La Table.

Not only do these copper mugs look festive, but they’ll keep your Moscow mule (a mix of vodka, ginger beer, and lime) or other cocktail cool. 

10. Ivan Ramen: Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo’s Most Unlikely Noodle Joint, $17.99 from Amazon.com.

Part autobiography, part cookbook, all ramen exploration. This work by the first American to open a ramen shop in Tokyo is a must for any fans of the Japanese noodle soup (or good books in general). 

Posted at 01:52 PM/ET, 12/18/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Where to find deals on top brands and unusual finds. By Anna Spiegel
Find discounts on KitchenAid mixers and more great accessories for home cooks on Monday. Photograph by Flickr user Nicola since 1972.

What better way to spend a post-holiday Monday than online shopping? A number of sites offer discounts—or at least free shipping—through midnight today. We’ve collected a few of our favorites for cooking and entertaining, so you can finally snag that KitchenAid stand mixer or set of vintage cocktail glasses at a discount.

Caskers
You’ll have to sign up for a free membership to access this site, but the collection of mostly small-batch spirits is worth it. All are priced below retail value, so you’ll save on that bottle of Ardbeg single-malt for the boss.
The deal: Spirits are offered below retail price normally, plus free shipping today for orders over $100.

Chef’s resource
“Tools for the serious chef” is the tagline of this online retailer, and you’ll find the accessories at a pretty steep discount today. We like the looks of an All Clad three-quart sauté pan, Le Creuset stock pot, and Chantal fondue set.
The deal: Varies by item.

D’Artagnan
In the market for fresh truffles, caviar, or a charcuterie gift basket? You’ll find all of the above and more from this fine-foods purveyor, including a free-range goose for a Christmas roast.
The deal: Use the promo code SAVEMORE at checkout for up to 20 percent off. 

Epicurious Shop
Epicurious isn’t just for recipes and helpful/amusing reviews. The online shop includes an array of cooking tools and pantry items; you’ll find cyber specials on KitchenAid stand mixers, Riedel glassware, Calphalon pans, and more.
The deal: Varies by item.

Ginny’s
This online retailer specializes in homey items; Rachael Ray and the Cake Boss are among the affiliated brands. Shop for the likes of retro Looney Tunes pint glasses, deep fryers, and decorative aprons.
The deal: Save up to 70 percent through December 3. 

Jayson Home
If you’re more of an entertainer than a home cook, you’ll love the various tabletop finds on this site—think vintage bamboo trays, antique silver barware, and various glass cloches.
The deal: Sadly no steep discounts, but you’ll receive a gift and free shipping on every order.

Korin
Ask a chef where to buy a great knife, and chances are Korin will top the list. Browse the gorgeous Western-style and traditional Japanese knives, including gift-friendly utility blades and all-out splurges. (Wish-listed: a $5,175 tuna knife for celebratory carving rituals.)
The deal: The holiday knife sale last through December, with 15 percent off blades. 

Provisions by Food 52
We love this James Beard Award-winning publication’s website, which recently launched an online kitchen-and-home shop. You’ll find everything from vintage copper cookware to spice sets, barware (a Mason jar shaker, anyone?), and more. 
The deal: Free shipping and a gift for any order over $75. 

Sur La Table
This national retailer offers a range of deep discounts, including marked-down Wusthof knife sets, All-Clad slow cookers, and Starbucks espresso makers.
The deal: Up to 70 percent off certain items, and free shipping on all orders over $59. 

Zabar’s
Get a taste of New York with a variety of edibles from this Upper West Side institution. Gift baskets are a top options for the holidays, filled with the likes of smoked fish and bagels, kosher pastries, or Zabar’s brand coffees.
The deal: Get 10 percent off site-wide until midnight.

Posted at 12:35 PM/ET, 12/02/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Whether you want to go big with a hotel package or enjoy an easygoing burger with the guy who raised you, there’s likely something here to please your pops. By Jessica Voelker
The Capella Hotel offers a luxe Father's day package including dinner in the Grill Room. Photograph by Carol Ross Joynt.

A fancy hotel package (from $2,195)

Stacks of cash cluttering up your closets? Thank your dad for steering you toward such astounding financial success with a package at Georgetown’s new palace of showy indulgences, the Capella Hotel. The bundle includes two nights in one of the Capella’s swank chambers, a tasting session of high-end and rare whiskeys at the Rye Bar, some fancy cigars, 18 holes of golf, a massage credit at the hotel spa, tickets to a Nationals Game, and $100 per person toward dinner at the Grill Room—where the old man will be feted with dishes such as tableside steak tartare and a pretty fantastic baked Alaska.

The hotel also offers ample opportunity to spend more by upgrading your room, buying Dad a ticket on the Acela as part of the package, or borrowing a Ferrari or Lamborghini for a two-hour joyride around town.


A beery brunch ($72 for two)

Co Co. Sala figures that even dads with antiquated notions about gender roles—for instance, that men don’t brunch—can be won over by beer bellinis. (It’s no longer a girly drink if it has beer in it!) It’s offering a special 11 to 3 PM brunch on the 16th with a menu highlighting chocolate, bacon, and brews.

Reserve spots at the Penn Quarter restaurant on Father’s Day, and your dad will be appreciated with a $36 meal that begins with a bacon-mac-and-cheese bite and ends with desserts such as a peanut butter cheesecake and a chocolate-banana tart with bacon and macadamia nuts.


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Posted at 12:55 PM/ET, 06/06/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
It’s easy to find offerings for the food lover who has everything­—provided you have money to burn. By Anna Spiegel
A steamer trunk-inspired wet bar—just $4,268 at Starbay.

Their weekday spot is Komi. The staff at Williams-Sonoma know them on the first-name basis. And they’ve been to Noma—on a private jet, natch. What do you get the food-loving 1 percenters who have everything? Clearly not pearl caviar spoons (they already own three sets). Browse a dozen more creative ideas, then break out that Black Amex.

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Posted at 11:55 AM/ET, 12/11/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Whether you need a Secret Santa offering or a small token for a friend, these 13 ideas are sure to please. By Anna Spiegel
You don't have to spend a lot to get a great foodie gift.

Fortunately when it comes to foodie gifts, you don’t need to spend a lot of dough (get it?) for a great present. From colorful knives to interesting cookbooks and Spanish wine sacs, these 13 ideas won’t break the bank.

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Posted at 02:52 PM/ET, 12/06/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
All the things your favorite drink mixer needs to stock an excellent cocktail kit—and some thoughts on high-end versus value products. By Jessica Voelker

This gift guide is basically just a collection of my favorite home bar stuff—the products and bottles I return to again and again—as well as a few items on my wish list (are you reading this, family?) There are so many products out there, it can be hard to know when to splurge and when to go for more value-driven items. The best stuff—like the citrus press in the slideshow—offer both: a great product at a great price. With knives and vermouth, however, you tend to get what you pay for. (On the other hand, I’ve seen the same bar spoon I purchased online for $3 retail for $15 at a local boutique.) I’m not saying this is the end all, be all list of gifts for the amateur drink slinger, but I can say a lot of this stuff has served me well in my cocktail tinkering. Happy holidays.




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Posted at 09:30 AM/ET, 12/05/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Whether you’re in that weird relationship gray area or newly committed, these presents are sure to please. By Anna Spiegel
New romance? Avoid awkward moments with thoughtful gifts that don't go overboard.

It’s that time in your relationship: too soon for jewelry or matching Snuggies, too far along to ignore a present exchange entirely. Thankfully we have plenty of gift ideas for that middle phase—from oh-so-casual edibles to stage-two presents that impress without sending those scary marriage vibes. Unfortunately, when it comes to the card, you’ll be sweating it out on your own.

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Posted at 12:40 PM/ET, 12/04/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Non-awkward offerings for the supervisor who cooks, bakes, drinks, or simply lives to eat. By Jessica Voelker

Almost everyone likes to eat, but there are those among us who tend to talk a lot about the apple tart we baked over the weekend, or the addictive Barolo we discovered at our local wine store. If you’ve got a boss with a thing for food and drink, these seasonal gifts are the perfect thing to show your appreciation without veering into the overly opulent or in-any-way-inappropriate zones.

This way to the gifts. >>>>

Posted at 10:50 AM/ET, 12/03/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Nine perfect presents for all your seasonal social events. By Anna Spiegel
Find these small-patch tonic syrups and Salt & Sundry in Union Market.

Whether you’re dropping by a holiday party or spending the weekend, you never want to be the guest who shows up empty-handed. Go beyond the mundane bottle of wine with a gift that truly makes an impression, from chocolate-coated bacon to hip whiskey glasses and small-batch tonic syrups.

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Posted at 12:45 PM/ET, 11/30/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()