While the restaurant community struggles to survive and all of us try to holiday shop and stay safer at home, our appetites continue to grow for more good food. The good news is there has never been a more exciting time for the most diverse selection of foodie gift boxes. Here’s our guide to spreading some holiday cheer to your friends and family while throwing a lifeline to local eateries.
Gift cards and certificates are also available at most L.A. restaurants for post-pandemic celebrating and be sure to check social media for your favorite spots for further special holiday gift deals.
After months of pop-ups, former Michael’s Santa Monica chef Brian Bornemann and partner Leena Culhane have found a small but physical home for Crudo e Nudo – a pandemic-ready space in Santa Monica , with al fresco dining and a small indoor footprint that can also operate like a shop and take-away space. In the meantime, they are offering holiday boxes on their website (meals designed for two, with candles, cookie dough, and a custom playlist) together with wines and cocktail kits from Fig Tree Venice, and baguettes from Jyan Isaac Bread. Pre-order two days in advance for the following pick-up dates: 18/19th, 23/24th, 26th/27th, 30/31st.
There are four different meal kits and a coffee-themed gift box available for purchase. The Shuck and Spritz ($125) includes two dozen Oishi oysters, custom oyster shuckers, limoncello mignonette, organic lemons, farmers market flowers and bees wax candles. For New Year’s Eve, there’s the Wharf Box ($135) that includes a new school cioppino with crab cakes, a Jyan Isaac sourdough baguette, frozen brown butter cookie dough, flowers and candles.
“In the future we envision Crudo as a long, gorgeous bar where oysters, crudos and spritzes are shucked, sliced and stirred quickly before being slid across to the guest,” Bornemann tells L.A. Weekly. “We’re trying to be ahead of the curve and design a business around that, rather than try to pivot an old business to it.”
Sky’s Gourmet Tacos, founded by Los Angeles trailblazer Barbara “Sky” Burrell, has launched a line of four sauces, including her signature Sassy Sauce, and Sky’s Original All-Purpose Seasoning blend, available for delivery nationwide. Sky’s has been a beacon for inclusivity since its founding on Pico in mid-city Los Angeles in 1992 and Burrell has sought to bring the community together with a menu that served the neighborhood’s tastes.
There’s the Sassy Sauce Original, Sweet & Spicy and Hot versions made with both traditional and nontraditional spices, fresh tomatoes, chili powder, white pepper, apple cider vinegar, cumin and sage. The Habanero Hot Sauce and Supper Hot Sauce are a combination of slow roasted habanero chilies, jalapeno peppers, and serrano peppers.
The Salsa Verde, Fresh & Mild is made from local tomatillos, tomatoes, cilantro, onions, garlic and salt and is a great topper for carnitas tacos as well as fish.
Sky’s Original All-Purpose Seasoning is mild and slightly spicy which includes chili powder, salt, garlic, cumin seed and cayenne pepper. Gift sets and bundles are also available.
Santa Monica’s gluten-free bakery Breadblok has composed a holiday gift basket featuring gluten-free holiday goods, freshly baked and festively packed in a large crate. The holiday gift basket is available for pick-up as well as nationwide delivery, and includes:
- Snackables: 15 Almond Butter Thins, 35 cheddar crackers, 20 shortbread, 20 walnut crackers
- Vanilla Buckwheat Granola
- Breadblok’s new Organic Jams: Fig Jam, Raspberry Jam and Strawberry Chamomile Jam
- Breadblok Keep Cup
- Breadblok’s Provençal Olive Oil
Price per box: $149.99 + tax + shipping (if delivered)
Sourced Craft Cocktails is delivering custom cocktail kits prepared by local L.A. bartenders. The Holiday Gift Boxes include three different options: A Bulleit Bourbon & Ketel One Kit with the Pecan Old Fashioned and the Berry Mule, the Tanqueray & Johnnie Walker Kit with the Cosmopolitan and the Lemon Highball and the Don Julio Tequila Kit with the El Diablo and the Añejo Old Fashioned. Each kit comes with all the ingredients and tools needed to make up to 16 individual cocktails. Price per box: $100 ($6.25/drink)
Piccalilli Culver City’s art-inspired dining concept with southeastern Asian influences has developed a festive holiday DIY culinary box exclusively available for pickup on December 18 and 19. The festive box includes Guava Reaper hot sauce, house made pickles, benne wafer cookie dough, sugar cookie dough, as well as an Old Fashioned Kit featuring one bottle of Rittenhouse Rye, one bottle of Angostura Bitters, sugar cubes, Luxardo cherries and an orange. The kit also includes baking instructions for the benne wafer (cheese) crackers and sugar cookies, as well as a recipe for making Piccalilli’s Old Fashioned. Price per box: $100
- Whiskey Glazed Almond Biscotti ($8) – Dip these seasonal, crisp almond cookies with a Macallan 15 Year glaze into your hot coffee or by itself. This 16 oz sealed jar includes 5 cookies.
- Organic Spelt Pancake Mix ($6.25) – Destroyer’s Pancake Mix includes a mixture of organic spelt flour, cane sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- Handmade Pastry Box ($36) – For a sweet treat, gift a mix of a dozen assorted pastries, from Butter Croissant and Salted Almond-Frangipane Pastry to Cinnamon-Demerara Sugar Spirals, Destroyer Dark Chocolate-Almond Cookies, and more.
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ($12) – Made with 55% dark chocolate, organic coconut oil and almond milk, Destroyer’s signature vegan chocolate chip cookie dough makes a great gift for the baker on your list. Available by the pound with all baking instructions included.
- Cinnamon Almond Rolls ($12.75) – Take and bake Destroyer’s cinnamon almond rolls at home. Satisfy your sweet tooth with these six rolls with baking instructions included.
For the agave obsessed, Madre Restaurant & Mezcaleria has Mezcal Gift Boxes available online or at any of Madre’s locations. Also available for shipping across the country for an additional charge based on distance.
Curated by owner Ivan Vasquez and hand crafted copitas from Oaxacan native Omar Hernandez, Madre is offering two boxes: The “Pachita” Box ($130) includes two mezcal copitas (Sal De Gusano and Chapulines) and choice of two Madre exclusive mezcales. The 3 Mezcalitos ($85) includes three three-ounce mezcalitos (Real Minero Largo, Espadin, Largo; Amormata Bicuixe; Rezpiral Mexicano and Tepeztate) one copita, Sal De Gusano and Chapulines.
You probably can’t make it to Italy right now, but you can bring a taste of it home from Eataly Los Angeles with these gift boxes:
TASTE OF EATALY: Enjoy everything from pasta di Gragnano IGP and extra virgin olive oil to regional wine and artisanal coffee all made with ingredients from regional farmers across Italy.
WHEN IN TOSCANA: Take a trip to the heart of Italy with a box filled with regional specialties from Tuscany. This box is filled with classic cantucci cookies for a sweet treat, traditional pici pasta for a rustic meal and a bottle of wine to pair.
PANETTONE: The marketplace is filled with over a dozen varieties of this Italian holiday bread, from the traditional candied orange and raisin to flavors like chocolate, pear, Amarena cherry and more.
You can build your own gift box with the help of the experts at the in-store Holiday Mercatino or find specialty ingredients like fresh white truffles and sustainable caviar. Available online and in-store with the full guide here.
The Marketplace at Angelini Osteria also has an authentic Italian selection of items like pasta, sauces, olive oil and 20 – 25 different panettoni and pandori stocked. Create your own custom gift bag with biscotti, chocolates, confections and biscuits.