• Seasonal

A Holiday Gift Guide for Boston Food Lovers: 2020 Edition

By Eric Twardzik · 12/11/2020

In a year like no other, we’ve compiled a gift guide with a nod to Boston’s restaurants and bars during what may be a long and difficult winter. Gift cards are always an easy way to support your favorite local businesses while pleasing the food lovers on your list—but if you’re looking to get more creative, there’s no shortage of options. From branded swag to jarred sauces and spices to virtual wine classes, peruse the list of our favorite finds below.

Restaurant Swag
It’s tough to pick a favorite from Mamaleh’s extensive merch lineup, but their “schlep” tote bag makes us snicker. On the shirt front, Hojoko is selling unsurprisingly groovy tees (and a #misocute baby onesie); Island Creek Oyster has long-sleeve tees simply printed with the word “Oyster;” and M&M BBQ offers a delightfully punny “I Like Pig Butts and I Cannot Lie” tee. The tiki drinker on your list can signal their good local taste with a flat brim hat from Blossom Bar, and anyone missing their favorite seat at State Park can start the day with the bar’s official coffee mug. Ice cream is difficult to gift, but it’s easy to give the rocky road-lover in your life a pair of “Ice Cream Weather” sweatpants from Gracie’s. And we’d be remiss not highlight to the “Stay Foxy” sweatshirt from Fox & the Knife, which strikes us as the perfect apparel for eating pasta on the couch.

Pantry Items
Your giftee may have everything—except these sauces and seasonings from some of Boston’s best restaurants. There’s the signature hot sauce from Eastie’s Tawakal Halal Cafe; Pammy’s signature Bolognese and umami marinara sauces; dragon sauce, Chinese mustard, nuoc cham, and other Asian staples from Myers + Chang; Craigie on Main’s can’t-be-topped ketchup; Row 34’s oyster-specific hot sauce; elote powder from Spoke Wine Bar; and the Armenian kebab spice mix from Sycamore. Fans of carbs will appreciate Vinal Bakery’s freezable four-packs of house-made English muffins (consider their granola for a health-conscious alt), and the pretzels, platters, and sauces from Eastern Standard Provisions.

For the Marie Kondo fan in your life who has developed an allergy to things, gift an experience instead. The entirety of Backbar or Fool’s Errand can be rented out for a private drinking or dining experience. On the virtual front, Bully Boy Distillers offers hour-long private cocktail classes via Zoom; the sake-focused Koji Club arranges private, one-hour virtual club meetings for up to 10 guests with themes like sake basics or pairing sake and oysters; and Rebel Rebel offers online classes about natural wine. Oenophiles may also be interested in Crubox, a new wine subscription service from local liquor chain Gordon’s that delivers four bottles of wine to members per month and invites them to a sommelier-led tasting via Zoom.

Anyone who appreciates a good tipple will appreciate the recent releases from Boston-based distillers. Boston Harbor Distillery is selling a bottled Espresso Martini that pours 10 cocktails; Bully Boy Distillers has unveiled an Amaro Rabarbaro for fans of Italian digestifs; and GrandTen Distilling is selling a wide selection of 375ml bottled cocktails, ranging from classics like the Mai Tai to originals like Weekend at Ernie’s. If your giftee is more of an oenophile, add a bottle or two next time you order takeout from a restaurant that sells wine—or pick some up via takeout or delivery from Rebel Rebel in Somerville.

Sweets and Treats
Searching for a gift for a sweet tooth? Consider chocolates from local maker Petrova; macarons from Maca; chocolate Santas and other old-school indulgences from Spindler Confections; the famous Sticky Buns from Flour Bakery + Cafe; Middle Eastern-inspired treats from Ana Sortun’s Sofra Bakery and Cafe; and the range of holiday-specific treats and cakes from Tatte that include Gingerbread Cake, Stollen, Panettone, and more.

TFL Gear
TFL fans, take note: We’re excited to offer some homegrown gear of our own. Our cotton dad hats come embroidered with either a lobster, a burger, a donut, or a slice of pizza. And just about anyone could use the food-themed masks sewn by TFL co-founder Molly’s mom, which come in patterns including pizza, sushi, or lobsters. Limited quantities available.

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