Holiday Restaurant Gift Guide

The holidays are a time for giving. And bringing. And greed thinly veiled as excitement. But mostly giving, right? For the foodie comrade in your life, Chicago is a great city to shop for gifts. They'll be pleased as punch with a gift from one of their favorite restaurants, bars, or bakeries, and it shall be a Merry Christmas for all!

Gift Packages at Chop Shop

Give the gift of meat, cheese, and pasta courtesy of Chop Shop. The butcher portion of the multi-tiered entertainment/dining/drinking destination is chock full of gift packages right now. Perfect for holiday dinner parties or for the insatiable horder, packages include a pasta-themed set with Chop Shop cutting board, housemade pappardelle, housemade marinara, housemade meatballs, loaf of Italian bread, and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Your carnivorous cohorts will swoon for the steak package, laden with a Chop Shop cutting board, two 10 oz. rib-eyes, two 8 o.z filets, two hanger steaks, and a ring of Italian sausage. The pasta package goes for $50 and the steak for $100. Another cool idea is to pre-purchase a spot at one of Chop Shop's hands-on butchering classes taking place next month. Taking place January 12 and January 26, your butchery-obsessed friends will love an opportunity to learn about breaking down whole chickens and sausage-making, followed by a three-course dinner with wine. The cost to attend is $100 per person. Reservations can be made via or 773-537-4440.

Cocktail Class at Barrelhouse Flat

The gift of education is a good one when cocktails are involved. One of the city's top-tier cocktail bars, Barrelhouse Flat, is poised to host a cocktail class on January 14, and wink wink nudge nudge it would make a great gift for your boozy besties. Head bartender Greg Buttera will guide attendees through the basics of mixology, showcasing five of the bar's classic cocktails. The best part is students get to sip and taste their efforts! Along with bites by chef Erik Chizeck. Along with a newfound sense of pride, guests will leave with a copy of the bar's Classic Cocktail book, stocked with 70 drink recipes, plus a bottle of the bar's house bitters, and a home bar guide. Tickets are $90 and can be purchased by emailing or calling 773-857-0421.

Three Dots and a Dash
(All the tiki mugs at Three Dots and a Dash)

Monthly Collection Subscription at Katherine Anne Confections

A chocolate subscription is far superior to an Us Weekly subscription. Just saying. Since 2009, Katherine Anne Confections has been making new truffles and caramels every goddamn week, available solely to chocolate insiders, farmers' market patrons, and those in-the-know enough to keep up with the new flavors by visiting her chocolate shop that opened in 2012. Well it's a holiday miracle, because Katherine Anne just released its Monthly Collection and for the first time ever, weekly flavors are available to all! These large chocolate boxes contain each weekly flavor and monthly seasonal flavors, and they're all available via monthly subscription. Subscribers will receive seven to eight limited-edition truffles, five caramels, and a monthly marshmallow. Subscriptions can be done with just one box, three, six, or 12. It's the perfect gift for the chocoholic in your life. Purchase a subscription here.

Gift Boxes at Firecakes Donuts

Ah, the gift of fried dough and a tighter waistline. You can't beat it. The ever-inventive doughnut shop is now slinging holiday boxes filled with one of each of Firecakes' special holiday flavors: egg nog, sugar cookie, peppermint bark, and a Hannukah doughnut called Sufganiyot. It's just $7.87 for a four-pack of deep-fried merriment.

Tiki Mugs From Three Dots and a Dash

Your tropically minded buddies will go gaga over the latest custom tiki mugs from Three Dots and a Dash. Along with the already released sea urchin mug, the tiki bar just debuted the golden bamboo mug and the McGee mug, fashioned after head bartender Paul McGee's face. Each one goes for $20 and are available at the bar. Make like a Pokemon obsessive and collect them all!

One Off Hospitality Does Gift Bags

When Big Star and Publican Quality Meats do gift bags, you know they're going to be miles better than your typical stocking-stuffer. At Big Star, a local artist was commissioned to design custom record-sized totes, which are promptly filled to the brim with Big Star goodies, such as al pastor adobo, serrano hot sauce, verde and chipotle salsas, a T-shirt, bottle opener, and gift card towards Big Star catering. And it's the gift that keeps on giving, because the tote is damn durable and sleek. At Publican Quality Meats, gift baskets are stocked with an arsenal of artisanal food goods, including PQM-exclusive olive oil, crackers, chocolates, honey, and coffee.

- Matt Kirouac