Playlist #14: Gifts! Gifts! Gifts!
Jacobsen Salt Co.
Nov 28, 2023
Since we’ve spent the last 300+ days filling our cupboards, bellies, and bookshelves discovering the food world’s latest and greatest consumables and swag, we’re ready to allocate the rest of the year to thinking about others. We’re happily anticipating all of the gift-giving, merry wishes, and even the decorating the wintertime festivities all but require.
So, dive into our annual list of gifts and gadgets featuring this year’s most crave-able items any gourmet would cherish.
1. Pantry Pal
Though we’re dreaming of a trip to the Bay Area for an in–person visit to Flour + Water's pasta empire, the restaurant’s new boxed pasta line now decks our kitchen shelves. Let the rattling of a wrapped box of elbow macaroni trick your pasta-loving giftee into thinking you’ve committed them to assembling a Lego set, before they breathe a sigh of relief and see the high-quality gluten within.
Plus, your gift goes a little further with Flour + Water donating 1% of sales to Zero FoodPrint, a nonprofit organization on a mission to restore the climate one meal at a time.
2. Spreading Love
If there’s a meal we continually fall into months-long ruts with, breakfast easily takes the cake–literally like the time we ate leftover cake for a week. Thanks to Ground Up’s nut butters, even when we lazily hit repeat on our breakfast meal planning, we’re able to switch up the star of our morning toasts by opting for one of over a dozen offerings from this Portland-based not-just-for-profit producer. Unlike other spreads, Ground Up’s line-up strikes a balance between sweet and savory, including their latest Holiday Tasting Flight, which features an expectedly crave-able Salted Eggnog and the textural daydream Cocoa Hazelnut Crunch that (pun intended and completely worth it) has us nuts for the holiday season.
3. Top Shelf Gift Giving
Every family or friend group has that one member who knows their liquor, loves to cosplay as Don Draper, and owns a constantly evolving bar cart. We love them not only because they’re one of the easiest people to shop for, but also because they’re the first to offer us a drink. For them, we always try to dig a little deeper into the fine world of whiskey; so this year we’ll make sure a bottle of Uncle Nearest’s Single Barrel Whiskey awaits them under the tree (and if extra nice, paired with JSC’s Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey Salt).
4. Culinary Classic
As intrigued as we are at the prospect of luxe brands like The Ritz Carlton and Soho House moving into our once under-the-radar city, our hearts grow three sizes when we think of our independent local loves. Sandy Blvd’s not-so-hidden gem, Vivienne, specializes in seasonal snacks, curated pantry staples, natural wine, and a wide selection of culinary books. This cozy shop represents somewhat of a midpoint between Portland’s grunge-y beginnings and our recent turn to prominent imprints. If you’re the kind of gift-giver who shies away from gift cards, Vivienne also hosts events, cooking classes and offers thoughtful vintage cookware.
5. Fresh Voices
Leave it to the team behind the recently opened Xiao Ye (which, in my opinion, is home to the best tartare in the city) to debut their menu alongside a limited run of restaurant merch, which we crave just as much as their signature, savory madeleines. We can’t wait to give their “First Generation” crewneck to our friends whose parents immigrated to the United States, and the “Busy Snacking” tee to everyone else we know whose favorite hobby is thinking about their next meal.
6. Bright Side
For the person in your orbit who doesn’t stand for drab kitchen gadgets and tends to task themselves with high-key kitchen assignments, why not gift Masienda’s tortilla press. That’s right–our favorite masa manufacturer offers a deluxe tortilla press in colors ready for your food photos. It is as functional as it is stylish. Masienda equipped their press with handy features like calibrations to easily vary the thickness of your tortillas, as well as a sizing ruler for restaurant-worthy results.
7. Reading List
For the meatless mon amour on your list, give the gift of Nik Sharma’s latest cookbook, “Veg-Table,” his follow-up to “Season,” an edition that will boast dozens of dog-eared pages and a few stains thanks to his focus on technique and education within his recipes. “Veg-Table,” fits into Sharma’s oeuvre as the author’s most complete book to date, marrying his background in molecular biology and plain-old good taste to create a vibrantly-shot love letter to the bounties of the dirt.
8. Sweet Emotion
We stumbled on these striking Japanese confections while perusing the aisles of Pacific Northwest-based Uwajimaya, and by noon the next day our tongue was worn raw from overindulging, so gift with caution! We will say it’s been a minute since we met a hard candy in this suddenly gummy-centric world we’ve been this obsessed with. They’re cute and resemble ornate friendship beads, plus their delicate, gently-floral flavor acts as a perfect cap to a meal, computer-task companion, or pairing with green tea.
9. Food for Thought
When we heard Bryan Washington’s follow-up to his food-foregrounded debut novel, “Memorial,” was “Family Meal” we were cautiously hopeful but admittedly skeptical of the moniker. However, within pages, we were once again captivated by Washington’s textural characters, biting but still moonstruck perspective, and, as the title suggests, the ability to articulate the many ways in which feeding one another can nourish the spots in ourselves we try to not let anyone see. Reader’s beware: though moving, “Family Meal” also contains blush-worthy sex scenes. We recommend wrapping up “Family Meal” for the sex-positive person in your life who happens to also like being moved to tears by a well-written book.
10. Tooting Our Own Horn
We can’t cross off everything on our gifting list without humble-bragging about one of Jacobsen Salt Co.’s very own goodies. Our chic, new Infused Slide Tin Collection is like a Rubix Cube or Magic Eight Ball wherein every turn results in excitement. The collection features our signature Pure Flake Salt and five infused salts (Black Garlic, Rosemary, Black Pepper, Lemon Zest, and Habanero) in travel-friendly tins your salt-curious friends will want to take everywhere.