It’s getting to that time of year when you start hunting for Christmas and Hanukkah gifts for the friend who’s always ready with the perfect restaurant recommendation. Or perhaps it’s a present for your family member, the one who already has every kitchen appliance and gadget ever invented. Maybe you’re just looking for an office White Elephant gift that everyone at the party will try to steal.
This holiday season, Eater DC has tracked down gifts sure to please the food lovers in your life. The options are mostly very local to D.C., as chefs, specialty food stores, and brands show off their most creative ideas and cute swag options for the holidays. Keep reading to shop for Champagne or pastry subscriptions, special booze options, spicy sauces, fancy pantry items, edible stocking stuffers, and clothing that gives your favorite restaurants a shout-out. Prices range from under $7 to $350.
Need more shopping ideas? Browse Eater National’s gift guides or Eater DC gift guides from years past.
Atlas Brew Works Advent Calendar
In late November, D.C. brewery Atlas Brew Works is slated to roll out its popular advent calendar for beer. There’s a brew in this box for each of the 12 days of Christmas, from Atlas’ core beers to seasonal releases and fan favorites, all concealed under numbered panels. Once you order a box, you’ll pick it up from either Atlas brewery and tap room in Ivy City or Half Street — and hurry, because supplies are limited.
By Jing Box
Modern Asian food company Fly By Jing’s very popular chile crisp has a local presence at Maketto (the H Street restaurant from chef Erik Bruner-Yang just hosted a cocktail party and book signing for founder Jing Gao’s debut cookbook The Book of Sichuan Chili Crisp). Maketto sells sauces and the book, and you’ll also find the cookbook at Bold Fork Books in Mount Pleasant. Or you can splurge on the brand’s Sichuan essential box, which includes everything from a chile crisp vinaigrette to the super spicy Sichuan Gold hot sauce.
The Queen’s Share Rum by Thrasher’s Rum
Todd Thrasher, the mixologist-turned-distiller behind the Wharf’s tropical hotspot Tiki TNT, is channeling Polynesian history for his latest rum release. The Queen’s Share Rum will be available around Thanksgiving, and this latest Thrasher rum is aged in medium charred oak barrels after the initial distilling for a smooth finish.
“I Love Cheese” Subscription from Each Peach Market
For your loved one who really, really loves cheese, Mount Pleasant indie grocery store Each Peach Market offers a monthly subscription that ships out a box containing two or three unique cheeses and tasty accoutrements. The market also sells gift baskets, with a holiday gift basket in the works. Available as three-month ($200) or six-month ($350) subscriptions.
Smorgasbord Basket from Nido
Nido is a Mediterranean treasure trove of niche wines and imported groceries in Mount Pleasant, and for the holidays, you can create custom gift boxes starting at $60 or snag a pre-packaged one. Nido’s smorgasbord basket includes Fangst tinned seafood sourced from Nordic waters, French mayonnaise and dijon mustard, and Italian capers.
Chicken Pot Pie from Jenn’s Homemade
Nothing says love like a stocked freezer: Chef Jenn Crovato of Georgetown’s 1310 Kitchen & Bar started making a line of freezer-to-oven dishes and ready-to-eat meals called Jenn’s Homemade during the pandemic. Bring a loved one a dinner for later, like the frozen 23-ounce chicken pot pie made with roasted chicken and shiitake mushrooms inside a butter crust. For the holidays, you can add a dessert like sweet potato pie or apple crumble as part of a sweet and savory bundle.
Cake Jar from Mr. Bake
Pastry chef and James Beard Award semi-finalist Kareem Queeman (aka Mr. Bake) has been seen on TV shows like Today and Beat Bobby Flay, but you can find him locally at his brick-and-mortar location at Riverdale Park’s Le Fantome food hall. For a great stocking stuffer, try his colorful cake jars in flavors like sweet potato cake, birthday cake, red velvet, and cookies and cream. Order through the Mr. Bake website or via delivery apps for local delivery.
XO Sauce from Peter Chang
Wrap up a taste of Chang Chang, Q by Peter Chang, and Mama Chang with this new sauce from famed Chinese chef Peter Chang. The mushrooms in the jar hail from Chang’s unique collaboration with a New York Amish farmer named Sam Peachey, who grew too many shiitake mushrooms and turned to Chang to incorporate them into his signature bottled XO sauce. Available for purchase at Chang’s restaurants in the DMV, with plans for online sales soon.
Rigatoni-themed Merch from The Red Hen
This beloved D.C. Italian spot turned its best-selling rigatoni with fennel sausage ragu into a line of merchandise. Choose between shirts, hoodies, and baseball hats, emblazoned with the restaurant’s logo and “Rigatoni” in large letters. The items are available to purchase at the restaurant, but it’s also possible to order via email. T-shirts are $25 and hoodies are $50.
Sugar & Spice Box from Salt & Sundry
Local boutique Salt & Sundry is a go-to for gifts all year-round, but during the holidays, founder Amanda McClements’ shop is selling a Sugar & Spice box with sugary items from a Barbie-esque “Malibu Dream House Sprinkles” from River Road and a cookie butter bar by Compartés. The spice comes in the form of Chai Spice handcrafted nut butter by Big Spoon, Tinned Makhir Ginger by Diaspora Co., and cocktail syrup for a craft hot toddy.
Eric Carle BapronBaby Bapron from Three Littles
For the littlest — and messiest — gourmands, a bapron might be the best thing for mealtime. That’s a combination bib/apron made by BapronBaby, for full-coverage protection from stains. Three Littles, a too-cute indie kids’ shop in the Union Market district, sells one of these covered with a food-focused print from The Very Hungry Caterpillar illustrator Eric Carle.
Bubbly Subscription at Sparkle-ist
Local sparking wine and Champagne club Sparkle-ist focuses on bottles of bubbly from small family farms that incorporate biodynamic and sustainable farming practices. A monthly gift subscription box includes three unique, limited production sparkling wines, along with tasting notes from founder Lieven DeGeyndt, producer information, and “high brow/low brow” pairing suggestions. You can shop individual bottles of sparkling wine, champagne, and alcohol free bubbles too, ranging in price from $19 to $80.
Jane Jane Merchandise
The staff at cool cocktail bar Jane Jane on 14th Street are already rocking in-house merchandise that will launch officially online on November 10. Jane Jane’s first capsule collection channels the bar’s retro spirit of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. You’ll be able to purchase the shirts or hat at Jane Jane or on its website. Hats are $40, T-shirts are $45, sweatshirts are $65.
Custom Cocktail Kit from Housebar
Gift a home bar in a box from Housebar, a creative bottle shop in Southeast. The kit includes OnePart vodka, gin, or bourbon, plus syrup, garnish, a strainer, a jigger and cocktail shaker tins. Each kit can is customized to an Old Fashioned, Gin Rickey, or whatever classic cocktail you choose. The basic kit can be upgraded based on the spirit.
Pastry Subscription from Chapman’s DC
Pastry chef Annie Clemmons’ resume includes fancy restaurants like Bourbon Steak, but she’s pivoted to open her own dessert company called Chapman’s DC. In addition to custom cakes and pastries for direct order in the DMV area, she also offers local weekly and monthly subscription boxes for true dessert fans. She’s made 170 boxes so far without repeating a sweet, including desserts like pave de pommes tatin or elderflower and passion fruit mousse. The weekly box serves four to six people.
Maman and Me Cookbook
Learn to cook crunchy baked saffron rice with chicken, garlicky eggplant dip, and other Persian classics with a new hardcover cookbook from a local mother-daughter duo who went viral on TikTok. D.C. native and Glossier exec Roya Shariat and her mother Gita, a chef in Potomac, Maryland, share the secrets behind family favorites in Maman and Me: Recipes from Our Iranian American Family. (If you’re looking for a Glossier gift to throw in too, Roya recommends the Limited Edition Balm Dotcom in holiday flavors like Cookie Butter and Hot Cocoa).
Taco Bamba Trucker Hat
For the friend who has tried every taco on the menu at Chef Victor Albisu’s local taco chain, a trucker hat with the taqueria’s logo might fit the bill. The shop also sells cheeky T-shirts, including one that says “No Past, No Future, Just Tacos.”
Specialty Candle from Masseria
Chef Nicholas Stefanelli’s coastal Italian tasting menu spot Masseria offers its own signature candle for sale, inspired by the Masserita cocktail with notes of sea salt, blood orange, and festive rosemary. Available for purchase at Masseria and Officina at the Wharf in the restaurant’s Mercato.
Peruvian Hot Sauce Starter Pack
Peruvian Brothers went from food truck to a sprawling new shop at Amazon HQ2 in National Landing, but a good introduction to the brand is its hot sauce made with spicy rocoto peppers sourced directly from Perú. The bottles are topped with little festive knit hats too.
Crochet Pizza at Tonari
Wafu (Japanese-style) Italian spot Tonari in D.C. sells a hip red sweatshirt designed by chef and owner Katsuya Fukushima. But for a very unique gift, Fukushima’s own mother crochets adorable slices of pizza and Japanese rice balls to sell at the restaurant. (Supplies of these handmade gifts are limited, obviously.)