What do most people want for the holidays? Honestly, something delicious they can eat in the haze between Dec. 1 and the welcome excitement of New Year’s Eve. Yes, the best last-minute gift to get people you truly love (or hardly know) is food stuff, and adding in that local angle just makes you look thoughtful and knowledgeable. Most of these delicious suggestions highlight local L.A. artisans who operate in the world of food and drink, but there are a few other items thrown in for good measure. Get to gifting!
The InsideHook 2023 Holiday Gift Guides
We’ve scoured for and tested hundreds of products that’ll knock the socks off any deserved person on your list, and we’ve compiled them into handy, curated gift guides with all the best stuff 2023 has to offer.
First Light Farms might be based in New Zealand, but the flagship restaurant cooking up these delicious steaks to “warm red,” the temperature they were meant to be served, is located in the heart of Beverly Hills. Matū only serves meat sourced from First Light, meaning all their cuts are 100% grass-fed Wagyu, and you can taste the difference in every bite. For those you can’t take out to dinner in Beverly Hills, though, there’s always the monthly steak club subscription. The classic membership delivers four to five pounds of meat a month, with standards like tenderloin and ribeye as well as favorites from their test kitchen like brisket and picanha. $185
Skylight Bookstore in Los Feliz
Paul Feinstein’s guide to Italian cocktails, Italy Cocktails: An Elegant Collection of Over 100 Recipes Inspired by Italia, is just about as excellent as they come. An avid food and beverage writer who has spent large quantities of time in Italy over the years, Feinstein’s snappy prose is matched by his deep knowledge of the world of Italian aperitifs and the bespoke ingredients that make them sing. Doubling as a guide to bars across destinations like Rome, Verona, Florence and Sicily, the Italophile in your life will feel very seen when you gift them this tome. Pick it up at Skylight Books in Los Feliz to help support independent bookstores. $22.99
Driveway Paradise doesn’t make clothes for working out; they make clothes for the strange interplay between sports, social events and everything in between. When he was creating the brand, founder Matthew Carpenter set out to find a fabric that uses mint — yes, the plant — to create a fresh-smelling, antimicrobial fabric. Dubbed “sportswear for the regular athlete,” this L.A.-based clothing brand makes t-shirts, crewnecks, sweatpants, shorts and socks, basically all the gear you need for ripping curls in your garage, then heading straight out to grab a beer with friends. Gift this to your sporty friend who never has time for a shower; the Minty Boi fabric will be a game-changer. $62
21 Unique Gift Ideas from Bespoke PostScore the perfect present from our favorite subscription box supplier
In keeping with the Italian theme, why not give the joy of cooking to the pasta obsessive or red sauce veteran in your life? Eataly’s ever-rotating cooking class schedule comes with plenty of options based on price point, region or intensity, and also allows for generous pours of wine and snacks throughout the class. It’s great for couples on date night, groups looking for an activity beyond just dinner, or equally fun to tackle solo and potentially meet some fellow foodies. $85-$180
West Hollywood or Century City
We just gave Eataly some shine, but the news that they’re launching their very own panettone, and it starts at just under $60, can’t go unnoticed in this guide. That’s 2.2 pounds of Christmas bread, done up in its finest holiday packaging and perfect for sending out to last-minute recipients. However, a slightly more elevated version of the bread is also available from Gucci themselves, who recently opened a flagship California restaurant, Gucci Osteria, in Beverly Hills. Their panettone is presented in a decorative tin and is made with candied orange and Madagascar Bourbon vanilla. $160
Mammoth Lakes or online
Founded by a snowboarder and a couple of craft brewers, Shelter Distilling is what the owners call “the inaugural distillery” up in Mammoth Lakes. Though it’s just a few hours from L.A., we’ll let this one count because of how downright delicious their Single Barrel Blue Corn Whiskey is. This small batch production is made from non-GMO heirloom California blue corn, cultivated for taste — not to be used as feed for cattle — and picked barrel by barrel to be distilled for this spirit. The results are nutty and mild, and make for a fine nightcap during the long winter nights. $69.99
Downtown Los Angeles
MISE 店 is a newly opened culinary and home goods store located in the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center in downtown L.A. Operated by two passionate home chefs, Jane Matsumoto and Patricia Wyatt, the purpose of the store is to provide authentic Japanese products and tools to the Los Angeles community. Though the store offers all manner of kitchen tools and tableware, spices and dried ingredients, one perfect gift idea is their handcrafted ceramic Udon set. Designed by the Los Angeles-based ceramic artist Shoshi Watanabe, the set includes two handcrafted ceramic bowls and chopstick rests. $100
Pasture Project is the latest project from James Beard-nominated chef Micah Wexler, who knows a thing or two about prepared meats. His hit deli, Wexler’s Deli, is the only shop in L.A. that cures, smokes and hand-slices all of their meat and fish in-house — and though Micah’s moved on from the restaurant, this all-in ethos remains core to his cooking style. Pasture Project uses an heirloom breed of chicken, pasture-raised on a Central Valley farm, packaged and frozen with marinades already in place. At-home chefs simply cook the chicken up with no mess, no chopping and no guesswork — it’s “last mile cooking” that makes the preparer look like a hero.
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