This post originally appeared on November 23, 2019, in Amanda Kludt’s newsletter “From the Editor,” a roundup of the most vital news and stories in the food world each week. Read the archives and subscribe now.
I’m going to be off for what I feel like is the true start of the holiday shopping season: Black Friday. So I present to you, one week early, my personal holiday gift guide. It contains no discounts, no cookbooks, and a $50 pineapple. Enjoy.
Things to consume
- $60 (plus shipping!) is kind of a stupid price to pay for pastry, and I’m not sure I love anyone enough to do it, but this kouign amann from Manresa is one of the best things I’ve ever had.
- The omakase strawberry better get in line because I’m already smitten with the original luxury fruit, the Maui Gold Pineapple. There’s nothing as delightful as getting a duo of these on your front porch in the middle of December.
- $70 (includes shipping!) for two bottles of a non-alc apertif from bartending genius John deBary? More than you’re used to paying for a zero proof drink, perhaps, but it is quite the thoughtful gift for your sober-curious or definitely-pregnant friends and lovers.
- The guy behind a New York bing chain Mr. Bing came to an Eater event, hunted me down, handed me a jar, and demanded I try his chili crisp. Unusual marketing practice but it got him a customer. I now put it on every damn thing I make and am treating it as my go-to stocking stuffer.
- Milk Bar’s peppermint pretzel snap cookies are only appropriate for your friends with outrageous tastes in sweets. They are my personal kryptonite but I bet 75% of people will find them over-the-top indulgent.
Things to read
- Never the wrong move: a subscription to cool food-and-wine-focused indie mags. My faves are Jarry and UK-based Noble Rot.
- Or just get an actual book like restaurant-adjacent Arbitrary Stupid Goal.
Things for your baker friends
- I have no idea if this casserole carrier is any good, but I’m getting it for myself for this holiday season.
- This spatula is going in my stocking and my mom’s stocking.
- And I haven’t baked with the new Great Jones “Holy sheet” sheet pan but I held it and looked upon it this week and have decided to buy it for myself to cheer up my kitchen. (Feel free to email me in a month to see how it is.)
Bonus baby pants
- I’m trying to be the person who invests in higher-quality clothing but can’t bring myself to do it for kids. Thus: fruit pants for my babes.
If you have food-focused gifts in mind for you and yours, please share them with me. I’m always looking for more ideas.
- Intel: The owner of popular SF restaurant Noosh fired its rising star chefs and filed a lawsuit against them in a very dramatic fashion; Travis Lett left his restaurants Gjelina, Gjusta, and MTN; an entrepreneur in New Jersey introduced a luxury strawberry to the New York market; Lorena Garcia opened a gorgeous restaurant in Miami called Chica; a long-promised Oakland food hall is finally set to open next summer with businesses from Preeti Mistry and Reem Assil; the Market Line, a food hall in a huge new development in New York, opened with two dozen vendors; founder Jim Meehan was pushed outof his seminal bar PDT; after opening and closing a string of D.C. and northern Virginia restaurants over the last decade, chef Tim Ma has a new project; a stunning number of black-owned cafes have either opened or plan to debut in 2020 in South LA; and Austin is getting a Basque-inspired pintxos spot from the owners of lauded Emmer & Rye.
- Jenny Zhang’s entertaining and alarming exploration of the “ethically and environmentally dubious race-to-the-bottom culture of deals and never-ending shopping” through the lens of the air fryer.
- Review: Gotham Bar & Grill may have a brand new chef but it still feels very dated.
- Say hello to the the most talked about food item in certain Bay Area food circles: the quesabirria.
- You don’t have to go to Amazon if you want deals on cookware this Black Friday.
This Week on the Podcast
We talk about our listeners’ Thanksgiving disaster stories. Then we get into the biggest stories of the week.
- Norah Jones’ beautiful Brooklyn townhouse is on the market for $8 million. [Curbed NY]
- D.C. is suing DoorDash for stealing all those workers’ tips. [WaPo]
- Shake Shack is testing out a four-day workweek for some managers. [NRN]
- Ok fine, I’ll do ketamine. [The Cut]
- So for our company cookie day, I need to bake something that is interesting enough that it stands out, easy enough that I can not screw it up, and delicious enough to beat some very intimidating bakers. This, this, or this? Or something else entirely?