Whether your friends and family have been naughty or nice this year, everyone's gotta eat. Good food and drink is something that can bond us all, especially when said food and drink are derived from some of Chicago's top restaurants and bars.
(FIG & OLIVE oils)
FIG & OLIVE: If high-end olive oil, jams, spices, and vinegars sound like something your friends would love, then visit FIG & OLIVE's retail component, accessible here or at the restaurant. The provisions at this ritzy Mediterranean-inspired restaurant are ideal for holiday parties, glam stocking-stuffers, and hostess gifts. The olive oils are their bread and butter, so to speak, available in assorted bottles boasting different bodies, characteristics, and flavor profiles. One might be good for dressing a salad, while another might be prime for marinating or sautéing. They've also got infused olive oils made with the likes of blood orange and white truffle.
Southport Grocery & Cafe: Year round, Southport Grocery and Cafe is a Mecca of artisanal, locally sourced provisions that run the gamut from barbecue sauce to buttercream. If you've got a local foodie on your gift list, it's hard to beat this adorable, bustling cafe and grocery. As an added bonus, you can fuel up on cupcakes and cookies while here, or even sit down for a killer brunch laden with bread pudding pancakes. The online store also contains items like lush grocery baskets, unique pancake mix, and gift cards.
Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine: Borrowing inspiration from Chicago's multifaceted neighborhoods, the city's preeminent cheese, bread, and wine shop has cobbled together a miscellany of special gift medleys named for various parts of the city, each one filled with different artisan food products. Perfect for friends and family who live in the designated city 'hoods, the medleys include the Lakeview Collection, the German-inspired Lincoln Square Collection, the eclectic Hyde Park Collection inspired by the World's Columbian Exposition, the artsy Wicker Park Collection, the Fulton Market Collection, the upscale Magnificent Mile Deluxe Collection, the meaty Back of the Yards Medley, and more. Each collection is stocked inside a wooden cheese box hand-crafted in Wisconsin. Up to two bottles of wine can be added to any collection for a supplemental price. Another good gift idea from Pastoral would be their monthly membership clubs, affording Pastoral-lovers the perfect opportunity to partake in the shop's ever-enticing roster of wines, cheeses, and charcuterie. Membership clubs include the Cheese of the Month club, Wine of the Month club, Perfect Pairing of the Month, and two new options: Charcuterie of the Month and Trio of the Month.
smalls: Gift cards make great stocking-stuffers, especially when the gift cards hail from places like smalls. The Irving Park smoke shack, renowned for its incomparable Asian-tinged barbecue and fried chicken, is offering gift cards through their website or on-site.
CH Distillery: Gift boxes are best when brimming with booze and cured meats. Hence, the CH Holiday Booze Box from CH Distillery is the best idea ever. Each package contains a choice of locally distilled CH spirit, a customized stainless steel CH flask, and West Loop Salumi finocchiona salami. Of course, you can always just pick up a bottle of one of their many spirits, distilled on-site. Go here for all your vodka, gin, and whiskey friends.
(TETE Charcuterie tailgate package)
Amy's Candy Bar: Candy is essential for all stockings. So while you're stocking up on stocking fodder, you'd best make sure you're getting the best of the best. Like the housemade candy bars at Amy's Candy Bar, which run circles around any store-bought candy on the market. The Ravenswood candy haven also features a dizzying array of offbeat gummy candies, imported sweets, and many other unique confections.
Fortune Fish & Gourmet: If you've got a friend who's been especially nice this year, reward them with a little caviar. Like the decadent Caviar Russe, distributed by Fortune Fish & Gourmet. From top-tier Caspain sturgeon caviar to more economical whitefish or salmon caviar, the roe is available a Whole Foods, Plum Market, and Standard Market. Stuff those stockings with a little luxury.
Lula Cafe: Logan Square's keystone restaurant just rolled out the online store to end all online stores. ShopLulaCafe.com is a diverse, colorful website designed to showcase the stylings and works of Lula's talented staff. Expect to peruse an array of art, designs, poetry, music, and more, solidifying Lula Cafe as a hotbed of creative, burgeoning talent.
TÊTE Charcuterie: One of the hottest restaurants on Restaurant Row these days just rolled out some new retail items, just begging to be stowed away on Santa's sleigh and gifted to your foodie loved ones. These items include sausages, a Matt Forte tailgate package, and branded T-shirts so you can show the world how much you love charcuterie. They've also got gift cards and holiday platters. Check it.
- Matt Kirouac