The 2021 Gift Guide

Less is more.



Men’s ADICOLOR CLASSICS 3-STRIPES PANTS by Adidas
Adidas
Men’s ADICOLOR CLASSICS 3-STRIPES PANTS
$60
A great slim silhouetted sweatpant with a tapered leg, zip pockets, and a concealed drawstring waistband.
Buckwheat Pillow by Hullo
Hullo
Buckwheat Pillow
$99
Buckwheat pillows have been used in Japan for hundreds of years. The hulls in buckwheat pillows hold their shape well and remain extremely comfortable. The United States requires imported buckwheat hulls to be heat treated, which allegedly makes the hulls brittle and causes them to flatten out more readily. It’s unclear if that’s the case, but Hullo grows their buckwheat in Minnesota.
Spicy Brown Mustard by Kosciusko
Kosciusko
Spicy Brown Mustard
$3.75 (9oz)
A top-tier spicy brown deli mustard.
4080 Musso Lussino Ice Cream Maker by Lello
Lello
4080 Musso Lussino Ice Cream Maker
$808.50
If your ice cream was mediocre before, it’ll likely still be mediocre, but now you’ll know that it’s you, and it’s not the ice cream maker.
Prairie Breeze by Milton Creamery
Milton Creamery
Prairie Breeze
$8 (6.5oz), $30 (1.625lb), $80 (5lb)
Abby’s Choice—A nutty and sweet aged cheddar.
150-pound boxing bag by Outslayer
Outslayer
150-pound boxing bag
$510 (with bottom D-ring)
These bags are filled entirely with compressed fabric rather than sand, and so the bag does not harden as time goes on. Extremely comfortable to punch. The conventional wisdom is to use a heavy bag that’s around half your weight. Also, be sure to order it filled—shipping is included.
iPhone by Apple
Apple
iPhone
$400+
From the iPhone SE (2nd Gen) at $400 to the iPhone 13 Pro Max starting at $1099, with many phones in between, Apple covers a tremendous price and size range with their phone offerings, and every single one of those phones can potentially take your loved one out of someone else’s green chat bubble hell or even be a first mobile device. And when it comes to build quality, user experience, and performance, iPhones are unmatched.
Donation by Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund
Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund
Donation
$36+
The Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) works to find Palestinian children free medical care in Europe and the United States. PCRF built the first ever Palestinian pediatric cancer center, in the West Bank, and a second pediatric cancer center in Gaza City. Additionally, PCRF provides medical supplies and equipment and helps train Palestinian surgeons. Some employers may offer donation matching for PCRF donations, and in general, you may want to check with your employer about matching major donations.
RowErg Rowing Machine by Concept2
Concept2
RowErg Rowing Machine
$900
For the loved one with 9’-by-4’ of contiguous space.
Capture One by Phase One
Phase One
Capture One
$200 (license for Fujifilm, Nikon, or Sony, only), $300 (license for all major camera brands)
Powerful and convenient photo editing software. Capture One enables tethered shooting whereby the camera is attached to a computer and you can see the view finder, focus, shoot, and develop photos in the software. Also, available as a monthly or yearly subscription service.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Shattered Grid Deluxe Edition  by Boom! Studios
Boom! Studios
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Shattered Grid Deluxe Edition
$63.49
The original Power Rangers are now being written as an excellent comic series. Shattered Grid is a major event in which an alternate world’s Tommy Oliver remains evil and kills Power Rangers to accumulate more power and imperil the universe. This collects Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #25-30, Go Go Power Rangers #9-12, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Free Comic Book Day Special, and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Shattered Grid #1, and an original short story set during the events of Shattered Grid. The next major arc, Necessary Evil is also collected in a two-part hardcover series, with part one available now, and part two is available for preorder.
Kingsnake print GG Supreme card case by Gucci
Gucci
Kingsnake print GG Supreme card case
$290
Great form factor for stashing some cards and cash in a slim pants pocket. Fun snake design.
PORCELAIN PAPER PLATE, WHITE by SIN
SIN
PORCELAIN PAPER PLATE, WHITE
$36 (mini), $72 (small), $85 (large)
Nearly identical to a paper plate.
Hot Mustard by Red Pelican
Red Pelican
Hot Mustard
$5.79 (9oz)
A great smooth brown mustard with a nice spiciness. Red Pelican’s Hot Mustard eats a lot like a Belgian mustard, and given that the founder, Henry Sabe, was a Flemish immigrant, it makes sense. Much more finely ground than a typical delicatessen mustard, but not as finely ground as the Belgian mustards in this list.
Donation by Brennan Center for Justice
Brennan Center for Justice
Donation
$25+
The Brennan Center for Justice is a nonprofit public policy and law institute of the New York University Law School. The Brennan Center peforms research and advocates for progressive causes such as voting rights expansion, ending mass incarceration, campaign finance reform, electoral college reform, and election security.
Soup bowl, Artist’s by Helen Levi Ceramics
Helen Levi Ceramics
Soup bowl, Artist’s
$56
A great bowl for soups and cereals.
Traditional Yellow Mustard by Red Pelican
Red Pelican
Traditional Yellow Mustard
$3.69 (10oz)
A yellow mustard to bring home to the family. Red Pelican’s yellow mustard has a nice complexity and backend heat, and it would be well paired with an ambitiously topped hot dog or a bare beefy dog. Red Pelican was, at some point, the official mustardier of the Detroit Tigers.
Pellet Grill by recteq
recteq
Pellet Grill
$739 (RT-340), $899 (RT-590), $1,199 (RT-700), $1,599 (RT-1250)
Each pellet smoker features a PID controller for dynamic temperature response, a thick stainless steel chassis that will retain heat well, and a ceramic ignitor rod that’ll won’t require continually replacement like with metal ignition rods. Pairs well with high-quality pellets.
CASCATELLI by Sfoglini
Sfoglini
CASCATELLI
$17.99 (Four Pack)
Give your loved one the promise of four pounds of pasta that will arrive in a month or so. This is to short pasta shapes what Scoops! was to Tostitos.
GREEN IRISH TWEED SOAP by Creed
Creed
GREEN IRISH TWEED SOAP
$55
Bathe yourself in entry-level luxury.
PlayStation 5 by Sony
Sony
PlayStation 5
$499
Yes, it’s nearly impossible to find stocked at a given moment, but if you have time to spare, bookmark all of the stockists that you can find; create accounts on each website with your information filled out, frequently check them all, and you will find one available. The Playstation platform has incredible exclusive games, with a sample thereof listed in this guide, not to mention that the Playstation 5 likely has the best game controller of all time with its adaptive triggers. And really, Microsoft hasn’t had a console-selling exclusive game since the Xbox 360 era.
Donation by Internet Archive
Internet Archive
Donation
$5+
Internet Archive is a digital library dedicated to providing free access to digitized audio, books, movies, software, and more. A major focus of the Internet Archive has been archiving web pages through their Way Back Machine. If, for example, you’ve ever tried to determine how problematic a Bon Appétit recipe was prior to being scrubbed clean, the Way Back Machine has archived it. The Internet Archive is currently hosting 70 petabytes of archived data—that’s 70,000,000 gigabytes—and a donation enables that.
Jubilation XXV for Men, 100ml by Amouage
Amouage
Jubilation XXV for Men, 100ml
$340
Frankincense, myrrh—only a few donkeys short of smelling like the nativity scene.
One Year of Photoshop or Creative Cloud All Apps (after student and teacher discount) by Adobe
Adobe
One Year of Photoshop or Creative Cloud All Apps (after student and teacher discount)
$239.88 (see description below)
Yes, the the student and teacher discount for Creative Cloud All Apps is a great deal for supremely useful software and places it at the annual price for non-discounted Photoshop (the price increases slightly after the first year). It’s like gifting Harry & David, but instead of monthly fruits, it’s the ability to use software that the recipient will never possibly own. Or instead, email your loved one a thoughtful note and include a link to PhotoPea, the free (with ads) browser-based Photoshop clone, and they too can do elaborate photo editing in order to call out enablers of problematic figures in the food world.
DEATHLOOP by Arkane Studios
Arkane Studios
DEATHLOOP
$59.99
Enjoy amortality with ruinous intent. Also available on PC.
Black Cordura Suede 22L Backpack by visvim
visvim
Black Cordura Suede 22L Backpack
$1100
When all you want is a more expensive JanSport. Suede bottomed.
Fishing Rod Fly Swatter by Rivers Edge
Rivers Edge
Fishing Rod Fly Swatter
$9.99
They’ll look forward to murdering the next fly.
Fijne mosterd by Yves Tierenteyn-Verlent
Yves Tierenteyn-Verlent
Fijne mosterd
$5.80 (100ml)
In production since the late 18th century, and only available in Ghent. This is a smooth mustard with an intense front-end nasal heat and a spicy complexity. It almost feels like Edmond Fallot’s Burgundy meets Cleveland Stadium Mustard (Yves Tierenteyn-Verlent allegedly features vinegar rather than white wine like Burgundy, but I’d imagine it’s white wine vinegar). Bring your own bottle and you can have it filled at their shop.
Donation by Alzheimer’s Association
Alzheimer’s Association
Donation
$35+
Make a donation to contribute to care, support, and research for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Chocolate Panettone by From Roy.
From Roy.
Chocolate Panettone
$75
Abby’s Choice—The next generation of panettone by Roy Schvartzapel, an airy and soft bread covered in pearl sugar and full of chocolate chips. Made with a pasta madre, the interior texture stays optimally fresh while sitting sliced in its packaging at room temperature for days on end. I couldn’t run faster from orange extract in desserts, but I’m finding myself transfixed by this panettone. Other flavors also available.
Sebenza 31 by Chris Reeve Knives
Chris Reeve Knives
Sebenza 31
$375 (Small), $450 (Large)
One knife that says it all.
Poutine Gouache painting by Hawk Krall
Hawk Krall
Poutine Gouache painting
$275 (original), $25 (print)
Poutine. It’s also worth paying particular attention to Hawk Krall’s extensive body of hot dog art
Stone Ground Spicy Brown Mustard by Stadium Mustard
Stadium Mustard
Stone Ground Spicy Brown Mustard
$4.25 (12oz)
An excellent Cleveland Stadium-style mustard, a genre of mustard that I would classify as delicatessen mustard adjacent. And for the one who has everything, here’s a little bit more.
Complete C3 Calima PowerLine by Míele
Míele
Complete C3 Calima PowerLine
$799
It’s a little precious, but vacuuming doesn’t get any better than with Míele.
Spicy Brown Mustard by Koop’s
Koop’s
Spicy Brown Mustard
$4.25 (12oz)
A very nice vinegary spicy brown mustard.
Donation by Electronic Frontier Foundation
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Donation
$25+
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) leverages lawyers, activities, and technology experts to fight against injustices in the digital world, and stands as a leading force defending against abuses of digital privacy.
Psycho-Pass: Season One by Funimation
Funimation
Psycho-Pass: Season One
$41.99
Abby’s Choice—Created by Gen Urobuchi. Season One is essentially a complete series, and when viewed as such, it stands as one of the best television series of all time.
Rohan Dish Drainer by Zojila
Zojila
Rohan Dish Drainer
$89.95
Yes, you can efficiently stack your dishes for drying, but this is significantly more convenient, and a rack enables you to dry cups and utensils. It’s also tilted so you can position it to drain into your sink.
Men’s Emory Parka by Canada Goose
Canada Goose
Men’s Emory Parka
$1,295
Abby’s Choice—No, as of 2021, New York City is not cold enough for this jacket, but for the Twin Cities and other similarly cold environments, it’s critical.
Women’s Aldridge Parka Black Label by Canada Goose
Canada Goose
Women’s Aldridge Parka Black Label
$1,395
Abby’s Choice—The jacket has straps, so you can take it off and wear it as a backpack if you become too warm indoors. This is a heavily insulated jacket, and this is mostly appropriate for very cold climates.
Men’s Service Boot Black Chromexcel by Viberg Boot
Viberg Boot
Men’s Service Boot Black Chromexcel
$710
Yes, these are nicer than Red Wings.
Mineral B Round Carbon Steel Fry Pan by DeBuyer
DeBuyer
Mineral B Round Carbon Steel Fry Pan
$74.95 (10.2-Inch), $99.95 (12.6-Inch)
Lighter than cast iron, a smoother cooking surface, and faster to heat up. Great at searing steaks, and easy to hang for storage. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for initial seasoning. Size appropriately for the burner—you will have optimal results if the pan’s cooking surface is roughly the same size as the burner.
Donation by JBI International
JBI International
Donation
$36+
Formerly known as the Jewish Braille Institute, JBI International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing Braille, large print, and audiobook publications throughout the world, with an emphasis on Jewish texts.
Burrata by Liuzzi
Liuzzi
Burrata
$8.99 (Two 8oz balls)
A great cow’s milk burrata, with a tender fresh mozzarella outer and creamy stracciatella center.
8” x 4” Solid Turner with Oversize Straight Blade and Wood Handle (Giant Dads Spatula) by Dexter Russell
Dexter Russell
8” x 4” Solid Turner with Oversize Straight Blade and Wood Handle (Giant Dads Spatula)
$6.37
A versatile spatula to be used in a variety of tasks such as, removing pizzas from their pans, removing lasagnas from their pans, removing baked zitis from their pans, removing eggplant parmesans from the pans, and also removing other dishes from their pans. Also great for reheating individual slices of pizza on a stone. You can also purchase a nylon perforated alternative, which works well with non-stick surfaces.
Fior di Latte by Caputo Brothers Creamery
Caputo Brothers Creamery
Fior di Latte
$11 (8oz ball)
A great fresh mozzarella with a buttery tang made from cow’s milk with some buffalo milk blended in, and this is easily the most flavorful fresh mozzarella that I’ve ever had. Be sure to pick up some provola and pepperoni along with it. Their Fior di Pizza aged mozzarella is a phenomenal cheese too, but it’s a pricey aged mozzarella with which to fall in love. Caputo Brothers also produces an excellent traditional Italian-style whey-based ricotta.
Extra Big & Loud Timer by Thermoworks
Thermoworks
Extra Big & Loud Timer
$33
Because microwave and oven timers are junk. Comes with magnets on the back so you can stick it on a magnetic surface.
Pecans and Hard White Peanuts by Heggy’s
Heggy’s
Pecans and Hard White Peanuts
$14 (1lb pecans), $5.25 (1lb peanuts),
Abby’s Choice—Give the gift of freshly roasted pecans and peanuts from Canton, Ohio.
Atlas 150 Aluminum Pasta Maker by Marcato
Marcato
Atlas 150 Aluminum Pasta Maker
$84.95
Buy the traditionally extruded pasta shapes; make the traditionally fresh shapes with this pasta maker. While you can make fresh pasta without any maker at all, this is significantly more convenient and enables much more consistent results. Also, this is as good of a time as any to tell you this: use semola rimacinata flour for most applications that might demand semolina flour—the coarse semolina flour that you’d get at the grocery store is great, but only for dusting pizza peels.
Donation by The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project
Donation
$30+
The Trevor Project is dedicated to stopping suicide among young LGBTQ people, and they operate The Trevor Line suicide prevention services operated by trained counselors through phone, text, and a live chat. The Trevor Project also contributes significantly to LGBTQ research and advocacy.
Pistachio Cream Spread by Marco Colzani
Marco Colzani
Pistachio Cream Spread
$24.50
Abby’s Choice—Think Nutella, but much higher quality, chocolateless, and made with pistachio instead of hazelnut. So not really like Nutella at all, but you get the idea. This is very likely the secret ingredient to many pistachio-based desserts.
Pro Skillet by Blanc Creatives
Blanc Creatives
Pro Skillet
$210 (9"), $250 (11")
Fantastic artisan-made carbon steel skillet. Great wall design for searing and butter basting meats. Hang it so you can show off to your friends how fancy your life is.
DRY AGED HAND SELECT GROUND BEEF by DeBragga
DeBragga
DRY AGED HAND SELECT GROUND BEEF
$24.75 (Two, One Pound Packs)
A 75%-lean ground beef with a strong dry-aged flavor.
Bagel Boards by Breadtopia
Breadtopia
Bagel Boards
$39
Bagel dough is a low-to-mid 50s hydration dough made with high-gluten flour, and the dough is salt, instant yeast, water, and maybe a dash of barley malt syrup. Shape the bagels by forming a rope with tapered ends, and form a ring and roll over the joined ends with your palm. Goyim will shape their bagels by making a ball and poking a hole with their finger—don’t do that—it’s the bagel equivalent of cutting a NY-style pizza dough into a circle to mitigate your own incompetence. Proof the shaped bagels in your fridge for a day or two—I store mine uncovered on a semolina coated baking sheet. Boil the bagels, straight from the fridge, in water with malt syrup, drop in a container of everything bagel seasoning, if you want that, and place on a water-soaked bagel board, topping side down. Bake the bagels on their boards, on a baking stone, for several minutes, and flip the boards to cook what was previously the tops of the bagels directly on the stone.
Optima Mortadella by Leoncini
Leoncini
Optima Mortadella
$9.99 (16oz)
Optima is one of the dozen varieties of mortadella produced by Leoncini. I was team it’s just bologna until I bought a pound of Optima at Kowalski’s in a fit of desperation. I sliced it as thinly as possible on my deli slicer, and I found that not only did I love it in a hoagie, I enjoyed eating the Optima for the sake of itself. Pairs well with my seeded hoagie roll, Caputo Brothers provola, Salumeria Biellese Pepperoni, iceberg lettuce, white onion, banana peppers, and a Dijonaise made with a great Dijon of your choosing.
EDGE12-11 12" Manual Meat Slicer by Hobart
Hobart
EDGE12-11 12" Manual Meat Slicer
$1,499
Spare no expense or concern for space on a deli slicer for the one who matters most in your life. Or don’t, and get a smaller and significantly cheaper BESWOOD slicer. The numbers on the thickness dial of mine faded away seemingly overnight, which was devastating, but besides that it’s fine. I drew on different but equally nice numbers with a JB Prince Sharpie.
Donation by Honor the Earth
Honor the Earth
Donation
$10+
Honor the Earth is a Minnesota-based non-profit organization focused on Indigenous environmental justice, and stands as a major force in the Stop Line 3 protests against the construction of Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline that would run crude oil through northern Minnesota’s watersheds and the land of the 1837, 1854, and 1855 Ojibwe treaties, and the pipeline stands to threaten the Leech Lake Indian Reservation, the Red Lake Indian Reservation, and the White Earth Indian Reservation.
Hot Rings in Vinegar by Oliverio
Oliverio
Hot Rings in Vinegar
$10 (3 Pack of 16oz), $25 (12 Pack of 16oz)
This is the source of my secret pickled banana peppers that I put on my Italian hoagies and my sausage, peppers, and pepperoni Sicilian-style pizza.
Saltbox, artichoke by Zero Japan
Zero Japan
Saltbox, artichoke
$32
The hinoki cypress lid is hinged, and you can open it with the flick of a finger, so you can easily access your salt without clumsily futzing with a lid. It’s an ideal salt cellar, and available in several colors
Passata di Pomodoro Giallo by Maida Farm
Maida Farm
Passata di Pomodoro Giallo
$11.75
Abby’s Choice—For when passata needs more beta carotene.
24-hour Tablets by Claritin
Claritin
24-hour Tablets
$20
For the friend with a beating heart.
40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens by Sigma
Sigma
40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
$1,399
It’s a nearly three-pounds, but it’s an incredible lens and one of the sharpest around. Available for Canon EF, Nikon F, Sigma SA, Leica L, and Sony E mounts.
Batman by Tom King & Lee Weeks: The Deluxe Edition by DC Comics
DC Comics
Batman by Tom King & Lee Weeks: The Deluxe Edition
$29.99
A collection of Batman stories from writer Tom King and artist Lee Weeks. Collects Batman #51-53 and #67, Batman Annual #2, and Batman/Elmer Fudd Special #1. Batman Annual #2 is my all-time favorite single issue of a comic, and serves as a standalone story.
KIDS GEOBASKET by Rick Owens
Rick Owens
KIDS GEOBASKET
$600–690
The legendary Dunk-inspired high-top sneaker but for children.
Boberation Giclee Print by Meep
Meep
Boberation Giclee Print
$20
1 of 20 hand-numbered and signed prints. See Meep’s shop for a full range of prints, shirts, stickers, and a coloring book.
Issue 2 by Meal Magazine
Meal Magazine
Issue 2
$19
The second issue of the essential food magazine from the Twin Cities-based publication. This issue covers variety of critical topics at the intersection of social justice and food, and there’s a Joe Rosenthal profile by Molly Each, which is a beautifully written reveal of my closest held secrets. Meal Magazine’s third issue is available for preorder, and Meal Magazine offers a bimonthly newsleter, magazine subscription, merchandise, access to local Twin Cities events, and more, through their Patreon.
Women’s MARGARET JEANS IN SUPERSONIC WASH DENIM SUPERSONIC WASH by CELINE
CELINE
Women’s MARGARET JEANS IN SUPERSONIC WASH DENIM SUPERSONIC WASH
$690
A high rise straight leg jean. With Hedi Slimane at the helm, CELINE has some of the best washed denim in the business.
HYPHAE CERAMIC TUMBLER by Brain Dead x Joey Watson
Brain Dead x Joey Watson
HYPHAE CERAMIC TUMBLER
$150
A timeless tumbler.
Mostaard by Mostaard Wostyn
Mostaard Wostyn
Mostaard
$2.88 (225g)
A Belgian mustard from a 19th Century mustardier based in Torhout. Smooth with a mild back-end heat and a nice complexity from its finely ground black mustard seed.
Carbon Steel 5-inch Utility Knife by Kramer by Zwilling
Kramer by Zwilling
Carbon Steel 5-inch Utility Knife
$229.95
A bit larger than the average paring knife, but I’m a big fan of this one for delicate knife work.
Indian Tellicherry Black Pepper by Kalustyan’s
Kalustyan’s
Indian Tellicherry Black Pepper
$7.99 (2.5oz), $9.99 (6oz) $16.99 (16oz), $69.99 (5lbs)
A great peppercorn, and I haven’t cooked with any other black pepper since I started using it years ago. And really, Kalustyan’s entire collection of spices, seeds, and other items are worth exploring.
Straight to Heaven by By Kilian
By Kilian
Straight to Heaven
$240
Smell a little bit like rum, but not like you’ve been drinking it—smell like you’re exuding rum.
Professional Chosera 1,000 Grit by Naniwa
Naniwa
Professional Chosera 1,000 Grit
$88
A 1,000 grit stone is a good stone for maintaining a blade that’s already in reasonable condition. The Chosera 400 grit is a much better stone to use for a knife that’s been long neglected and needs a lot of material removed to bring it back to life. Chosera’s 5,000 grit stone works well to follow up as a finishing stone. 10,000 grit helps take the finish a step further for knives with very hard blade steels only—softer steels that will rapidly dull from such a fine edge. A honing rod can work to maintain your knives between sharpenings, but I prefer a strop, especially for knives with particularly hard steel.
32 oz. Crab Cake Tub by G&M Restaurant
G&M Restaurant
32 oz. Crab Cake Tub
$115
The world’s best crab cake but in a tub that comes in the mail. Includes a scooper to easily scoop crab cakes just like they do at G&M.
Captains of Crush Set of 10 by Iron Mind
Iron Mind
Captains of Crush Set of 10
$239.95
There are five people living who have closed the #4 gripper. Shoot for the moon. Also available as individual grippers.
USB-C Audio Interface by Audient
Audient
USB-C Audio Interface
$299 (iD14 MKII), $199 (id4 MKII)
Pairs with an XLR microphone or guitar. Contains reasonably powerful preamps that obviate the need for a microphone activator or lifter for certain dynamic microphones. Add in a Rode PSA1 boom arm to really send the message, buy a mic.
Volume Fourteen by Compound Butter
Compound Butter
Volume Fourteen
$20
A stunning food magazine with incredible original art intertwined with the editorial content throughout. Volume Fourteen is a double issue with 163 pages centered on the things that bring comfort. Volume Fifteen can be preordered, and a four-issue subscription is available.
SQUARE CC HOLDER by Rick Owens
Rick Owens
SQUARE CC HOLDER
$465
Great low-profile card case for a jean back pocket. Wait for the end of the season sales, and this should see a significant price drop.
Set of Six Steak Knives by Laguiole Claude Dozorme
Laguiole Claude Dozorme
Set of Six Steak Knives
$169
These are my knives; they were a gift from my mother. They’re excellent knives. These are mine, though, so I would suggest you use these knives as a guide—this is a gift guide, not a gift prescription—and do not buy these exact ones. Find your own knives, please.
Mister Miracle: Deluxe Edition by DC Comics
DC Comics
Mister Miracle: Deluxe Edition
$49.99
A hardcover collection of the phenomenal Mister Miracle run written by Tom King and illustrated by Mitch Gerads. Collects Mister Miracle #1–12 and includes each variant cover art, sketches, and scripts.
White & Blue Leather Corda-Folk Sneakers by visvim/WMV
visvim/WMV
White & Blue Leather Corda-Folk Sneakers
$1035
Better than all of the other Superstar knockoffs with plastic agleted laces—it doesn’t get more comfortable than visvim leather sneakers. Available in men’s and women’s sizes.
Weighted blanket by Baloo
Baloo
Weighted blanket
159 (Throw), $169 (Full/Queen), $204 (King)
If you don’t have 20 pounds of weighted beads in your blanket, are you even sleeping?
Moutarde de Dijon by Edmond Fallot
Edmond Fallot
Moutarde de Dijon
$6.25 (7.4oz)
A great Dijon mustard with a bit of lingering heat.
Virgin Carbon Steel Gyuto by Masamoto
Masamoto
Virgin Carbon Steel Gyuto
$195 (8.2-inch), $236 (9.4-inch), $283 (10.5-inch)
A carbon steel Japanese chef’s knife with a Western-style handle. This knife is sharpened for right-handed users. The rest of the blade and the handle are both symmetrical, so left-handed users can call Korin’s customer service number and pay an additional $20 for the edge to be reground for lefties. And for those who will only accept stainless steel knives, Misono’s UX10 is a very nice option.
GASPE NOVA SMOKED SALMON by Russ & Daughters
Russ & Daughters
GASPE NOVA SMOKED SALMON
$50 per pound
If you don’t like this smoked salmon, there’s no smoked salmon in the world that will satisfy you. Bring your own bagels.
Invasion Barbare by Parfums MDCI
Parfums MDCI
Invasion Barbare
$250, $375 (Resin Bust Edition)
Big barber shop energy.
Griddles by Baking Steel
Baking Steel
Griddles
$159 (Mini Griddle), $199 (Skinny Griddle), and $209 (Griddle)
They’re expensive, but they’re great stove-top griddles. Also pairs well with a 12-by-12-inch Sicilian-style pizza pan. The mini griddle in particular is ideal for small batches of smash burgers. Heat the griddle to 500F, and use 3oz balls of no leaner than 75%-lean chuck.
Returnal by Housemarque
Housemarque
Returnal
$69.99
Returnal is a profoundly difficult game with top-tier gameplay mechanics, and it stands as one of the few games with a middle-aged female protagonist. The following button swaps will help immensely in successfully beating the game: set dash to L1, melee to R1, use consumable to square, jump to R3, and X to area scan. Additionally, turn always sprint on.
Women’s SOCIAL SCULPTURE W04 DMGD-12 JEAN by WMV
WMV
Women’s SOCIAL SCULPTURE W04 DMGD-12 JEAN
$890.00
Hiroki Nakamura’s washes are among the best there is, and DMGD-12 is a particularly great variant. Features a blue-line selvedge, including a selvedge waistband, and a natural indigo-dyed roughout elk patch.
Extra Hot Honey by Mike’s Hot Honey
Mike’s Hot Honey
Extra Hot Honey
$21.99 (2, 12 oz Squeeze Bottles)
The hottest honey yet.
HEAVY LOOPWHEELED ZIP HOODIE by The Strike Gold
The Strike Gold
HEAVY LOOPWHEELED ZIP HOODIE
$295
A slubby heavy-weight loopwheel-knit hooded sweatshirt. It’s intended to shrink a full size after washing, and it’s slimmer and shorter than The Real McCoy’s Joe McCoy offering. It’s also Japanese, so it runs small, and you’ll want to size up at least one size relative to US sizing. Pay particular attention to measurements and shrinkage estimates.
LE CLIQUE MACARON SUBSCRIPTION by Gaby et Jules
Gaby et Jules
LE CLIQUE MACARON SUBSCRIPTION
$101 (3 months), $174 (6 months), $319 (1 year)
Phenomenal French macarons delivered on a subscription basis for your friends and family. Also available in a variety of individual macaron boxes, and the vanilla and strawberry stand as some of my favorites, though the vanilla macarons may only be available locally, in Pittsburgh. And for those in Pittsburgh that can visit the shop, the palmiers are a must try, along with any of the pastries that seem exciting.
Men’s Jason Hoodie by Rick Owens DRKSDHW
Rick Owens DRKSDHW
Men’s Jason Hoodie
$880
Pockets guaranteed to be big enough for an entire sandwich with hidden velcro patches to secure the sandwich, plus incredibly soft fleece. The Jason is one of the greatest hoodies money can buy, and now it’s in pink, too.
Triflex HX1 by Míele
Míele
Triflex HX1
$499
The first cordless vacuum that isn’t actually garbage. Features a removable battery pack.
Gift certificate by Indigo Proof
Indigo Proof
Gift certificate
$35–300
The highest quality denim repairs I’ve seen; Rain Delisle is at least as good with working on denim as anyone who has made a pair of my jeans, and it’s the only place where I want to send mine. There’s a wait list for repairs, so sign up for her VIP list on the Indigo Proof website for advanced notice of openings. Chain-stitched hems, tapers, and waist alterations are also available.
Gustarosso San Marzano Tomatoes by DANICOOP
DANICOOP
Gustarosso San Marzano Tomatoes
$6.90
Canned San Marzano tomatoes in the United States are generally not great tomatoes, but Gustarosso stands as the exception and might just be the best canned tomato product there is.
The Chef’s Press v2 by Chef’s Press
Chef’s Press
The Chef’s Press v2
$18.90 (13oz)
Perfect for burgers, steaks, and everything else that would be trash without a good sear.
Wear-Ever Eighth Size 16 Gauge 6 1/2" x 9 1/2" Curled Rim, No Wire Aluminum Bun / Sheet by Vollrath
Vollrath
Wear-Ever Eighth Size 16 Gauge 6 1/2" x 9 1/2" Curled Rim, No Wire Aluminum Bun / Sheet
$4.37
Buy dozens, use them as spoon rests, for baking little things, ingredient prep, and making little fruit leathers. And if you don’t already have a quarter sheet and cooling rack pair, remedy that.
Bread knife by MAC Superior
MAC Superior
Bread knife
$89.95
Better than the worthless bread knife from the knife block that you got as a wedding gift. Stop mangling great bread with that garbage knife, and get a real bread knife (this one). This is a right-handed knife, but it works well for left-handed users.
Cabot Clothbound by Jasper Hill Farm
Jasper Hill Farm
Cabot Clothbound
$12 (6oz), $32 (one pound), $120 (1/8 wheel), $225 (1/4 wheel)
A natural-rind cheddar that’s aged in lard and wrapped in cloth for 10-13 months.
Midnight Moon by Cypress Grove
Cypress Grove
Midnight Moon
$27 (one pound)
A Gouda-like six-month aged goat milk cheese.
The Control °Freak by Polyscience
Polyscience
The Control °Freak
$1,490
An incredible cooktop for cooking confit, braising food, making Hollandaise sauce, or just cooking broccolis carefree while you’re wildly distracted and ignoring what’s on the stove at a cool and steady 225°F.
Steak by Richard Eaglespoon
Richard Eaglespoon
Steak
Priceless
An article on how to make incredible steaks at home with the specific advice to dry brine your meat, and yes, you absolutely should dry brine all of the beef recommended in this guide, and that’s especially true for any rib roasts.
13" Fry Pan by Blu Skillet Ironware
Blu Skillet Ironware
13" Fry Pan
$360
An incredible handmade carbon steel skillet. The handle ergonomics make the pan extremely maneuverable. I suggest entering Blu Skillet’s monthly lotteries or trying to grab a pan during their annual sale.
Zippy Sauce by Famous Lunch
Famous Lunch
Zippy Sauce
$7.25 (Pint), $11.75 (Quart)
The famous sauce used on what most are calling the greatest hot dog on the planet. Add a splash of water before reheating, and freeze any excess in single-serving portions. Pairs well with a great pork hot dog. Do not use a beef hot dog with this sauce. Top your hot dog with a yellow mustard and finely diced white onion. Call (518) 272-9481 to place an order.
Livenza Deep Fryer with Easy Clean System by De’Longhi
De’Longhi
Livenza Deep Fryer with Easy Clean System
$159
Do not burden your friends and family with a deep fryer, and really you shouldn’t even burden anyone with a Whirley Pop—stop imposing your will and wasting away the precious counter and cabinet space of the people in your life. With that in mind, this is more of a recommendation for the idea of a deep fryer rather than a recommendation for a specific deep fryer. If you want to make and eat fried food, this is the only path to that end.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Frescobaldi Laudemio
Frescobaldi Laudemio
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
$27.95 (250ml), $44.95 (500ml)
Rich and peppery. Comes in a box, so you can safely store it away and observe its greenish beauty when the occasion arises.
26 pc. All Milk Toffee by Bridgewater Chocolate
Bridgewater Chocolate
26 pc. All Milk Toffee
$44.95
Abby’s Choice—Probably the best hard toffees in the world. And the crunchy peanut butter cups are excellent too.
The Original Whirley-Pop by Wabash Valley Farms
Wabash Valley Farms
The Original Whirley-Pop
$27.74
Great for making popcorn at home. Be very careful when operating this popper, as you can burn yourself with the escaping steam when pouring out the popped popcorn. Comes in a stainless steel variant for induction cooktops. Pairs well with Mega Pop packs, which include popcorn, coconut oil, and salt. Note, if you are coming up with your own popcorn recipe or supplementing packs, regular salt is inappropriate for popcorn, and micronized salt is a requirement. And regardless of whether you buy the packs or come up with your own recipe, butter-flavored topper is a critical post-pop addition.
Ribeye Steaks by Sher Wagyu
Sher Wagyu
Ribeye Steaks
$111.96 (two 12oz steaks)
A Wagyu, Angus and Holstein crossbreed, Sher’s Australian Wagyu is more similar to Japanese wagyu than American wagyu. An excellent steak, and each 12-ounce steak could serve two given its intense richness.
DOT Simple Alarm Thermometer by Thermoworks
Thermoworks
DOT Simple Alarm Thermometer
$45.00
A simple, accurate, and reliable leave-in thermometer. If you need a low-temperature alarm, that is, an alarm that tells you when the temperature of your food has cooled to a certain temperature, spend the extra $20 on a ChefAlarm.
Hoagie Roll by Richard Eaglespoon
Richard Eaglespoon
Hoagie Roll
Priceless
An article on how to make professional quality hoagie rolls at home. Make a bunch and give them to your friends and family, or just send someone the link to the article as an inexpensive last minute gift.
Countertop Pizza Ovens by PizzaMaster
PizzaMaster
Countertop Pizza Ovens
More than you'd hope
PizzaMaster makes commercial deck ovens, and some of their models, namely the countertop models, can potentially be used in a home when built for 240V single-phase wiring. These are large ovens; my PM 551ED with a 21-inch deck is deeper than a typical home countertop. This oven is a tool, albeit, a top-tier professional one, and it is not a replacement for research and practice, as opposed to the belief of many buyers of consumer-grade pizza ovens. If an oven was all it took to make great pizza, every Whole Foods in the country would be doing it with their PizzaMasters, and they are not. Contact Forza for a quote, do not ask me.
Buns by Martin’s Potato Rolls
Martin’s Potato Rolls
Buns
Priceless
The greatest gifts are the intangibles. This holiday season, surprise your loved ones in the Twin Cities by requesting Martin’s Potato Rolls (including Big Marty’s) be stocked at Kowalski’s, Lunds and Byerlys, Cub Foods, and Hy-Vee lest they be doomed to buy the buns online and have a freezer full of Martin’s.
Calabrian Chili Paste Bomba di Calabria by Italian Harvest
Italian Harvest
Calabrian Chili Paste Bomba di Calabria
$9.95
Mix it with mayo to make a great calabrian mayo; throw some into a pasta sauce for a little bit of complexity and heat; eat it with a spoon, or don’t—your loss. And when all you need is oil, there’s a Calabrian chili oil.
C1-Series Smart OLED TV by LGTV
LGTV
C1-Series Smart OLED TV
$1,299.99 (48-inch), $1,499.99 (55-inch), and $1,999.99 (65-inch)
It’s a 120hz screen, and so you can, and should, turn off motion smoothing. The interfaces on the C1-Series TVs are responsive and smooth to the point that an Apple TV-like device is unnecessary.
BEAUTIFUL SLEEPYHEAD & THE LAUGHING YAKS by Emily Wells
Emily Wells
BEAUTIFUL SLEEPYHEAD & THE LAUGHING YAKS
$15
Abby’s Choice—At some point, there were only around 100 copies left, and there are fewer copies now. Your chance to hear this incredible 2006 indie pop/folk album dies when this limited sells out. Hurry.
Joe McCoy BALL PARK FRONT ZIP SWEATSHIRT by The Real McCoy’s
The Real McCoy’s
Joe McCoy BALL PARK FRONT ZIP SWEATSHIRT
$270
A pre-washed hooded sweatshirt with heavy sinker-weave-knit fabric as opposed to loopwheel-knit fabric, but it’s no worse for it. A bit roomier and longer than The Strike Gold’s offering. It’s Japanese, so size up by one size relative to US sizing. The Real McCoy’s also has a loopwheel-knit zipped hoodie available who must have their hoodies knit with the least amount of tension.
Classic Bathrobe by Parachute
Parachute
Classic Bathrobe
$99
It’s very soft, comfortable, and it looks like a typical bathrobe. There’s pockets to keep sandwiches or whatever you typically use bathrobe pockets for. I don’t know what else you need in a bathrobe—do you need a hood?
Original Mustard by Mister Mustard
Mister Mustard
Original Mustard
$1.60 (7.5oz)
A must-have mustard for hot mustard enthusiasts. Mister Mustard is possibly the only mustard that I’ve ever liked that has sugar as a listed ingredient, and yes, I’ve tried Boetjes.
SUN6 Dough Mixer by Sunmix
Sunmix
SUN6 Dough Mixer
$1,890.00
This is not a replacement for a typical stand mixer: the SUN6 is a spiral mixer designed exclusively for mixing dough, and its breaker bar makes it a far superior for kneading dough compared to barless consumer spiral mixers. This is a relatively large mixer, and it really shines with large batches it dough, but it’s specifically designed to fit underneath cabinets in a home kitchen. And unfortunately, unless you’re in Europe, the price has gone up nearly $500 in the past year and a half. Works best with a healthy addition of stickers.
Coconut Cilantro Chutney by Basbaas Foods
Basbaas Foods
Coconut Cilantro Chutney
$21.99
A chutney through the lens of Somali chef Hawa Hassan. I’ve loved it on everything from carnitas tacos to samosas. Also available is an excellent tamarind date sauce, which is also included alongside this chutney in a variety pack
Moutarde Forte by Produit Pic
Produit Pic
Moutarde Forte
$8.99 (7.5oz)
An exceptionally smooth sandwich demands an exceptionally smooth mustard. Pleasant with most of the flavor up front and not much heat.
Sauce Spoon by Gray Kunz
Gray Kunz
Sauce Spoon
$13.09
This is my spoon. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My spoon is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My spoon, without me, is useless. Without my spoon, I am useless.
Meats by Katz’s Delicatessen
Katz’s Delicatessen
Meats
$83.75–$108.95 (4+lbs whole pastrami), $34 (1lb tongue), $13.95 (six frankfurters), $34.95–$69.95 (hard salami)
The whole pastrami is phenomenal, and it’s the same thing that Katz’s boils and steams in their deli—add a healthy pinch of salt to the water. The pastrami freezes well after the initial boil if over four pounds of pastrami can’t be finished in one sitting. The well-marbled slices of the pre-sliced tongue are a dream for tongue enthusiasts, but be prepared for a few lean pieces, too. And on the encased beef side of things, the natural casing beef hot dog are nicely beefy and have a nice smokiness from added hickory flavor, and hard salami is a must try for beef salami enthusiasts, and it may be well-served by leaving it on the counter for a week or two to age a bit more prior to slicing it—be your own rabbi.
MS-500 14-Ounce Blue Boxing Gloves by Winning
Winning
MS-500 14-Ounce Blue Boxing Gloves
$355
These have laces, so be sure to grab a set of Lace-N-Loop straps so they can be fastened and removed by the wearer. Be sure to get a good pair of wraps and wrap your hands properly.
CT5 Time to Go by CTEK
CTEK
CT5 Time to Go
$128.51
A critical accessory for infrequently driven cars in cold climates. An optional CTEK Comfort Connect Cig Plug enables you to trickle charge your car battery through your car’s cigarette port, for cars with a port that is powered when the car is off. My spouse and I accidentally ran over our CT5 several times, and to be clear, the CT5 survived being run over by a car multiple times before we finally replaced it with a second one.
House of X/Powers of X by Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics
House of X/Powers of X
$53.99 (Hardcover)
The start of Jonathan Hickman’s run of X-Men which serves as a reboot of the X-Men comics. Hickman’s run is a fresh take on the X-Men lore, and this is a must have for X-Men fans. Collects Powers of X 1-6, House of X 1-6.
Maronibraterin shearling-lined leather boots by Ludwig Reiter
Ludwig Reiter
Maronibraterin shearling-lined leather boots
$798
Abby’s Choice—Made with oil-impregnated Russian leather by Vienna-based bootmaker Ludwig Reiter. Note that orders shipped to outside of the EU are final sale unless you can return it to one of their shops in Austria, Germany, or Switzerland. Available in women’s and men’s sizing.
LSX by KEF
KEF
LSX
$1,249.99
All but the white model are draped in fabric from Kvadrat, and the speakers fit well on a desk—what’s not to love? Play Kiss from a Rose for hours on end to be sure you break it in.
Death Stranding Director’s Cut by Kojima Productions
Kojima Productions
Death Stranding Director’s Cut
$49.99
An expanded version of the original Hideo Kojima masterpiece for PS5. A story-driven epic, package delivery has been made into an utterly enthralling and terrifying experience. Do not succumb to complacency, and do not underestimate the utility of your BB. Owners of the original Death Stranding for PS4 can upgrade to the PS5 Director’s Cut for $10.
Men’s SKINNY JEANS IN RAW DENIM by CELINE
CELINE
Men’s SKINNY JEANS IN RAW DENIM
$590
Hedi Slimane’s best cut since the 17.5cm.
American White Large Oval Serving Platter by HF Coors
HF Coors
American White Large Oval Serving Platter
$67
Safe for any temperature that is possible on this earth. My brother bought me two of these as a wedding gift, so I could recreate the Peter Luger experience without having to eat a mediocre porterhouse.
Moutarde de Dijon by Delouis Fils
Delouis Fils
Moutarde de Dijon
$6.25 (7oz)
A gorgeous Dijon with a nice amount of heat without being too intense.
How to Pizza: A New York-style pizza recipe with extraneous information by Richard Eaglespoon
Richard Eaglespoon
How to Pizza: A New York-style pizza recipe with extraneous information
Priceless
An article on how to make New York-style pizza in a basic home oven, including a list of critical pizza making equipment. And no, you do not need a specialty pizza oven to make incredible pizza at home, and no oven will make your pizza any less mediocre.
Season Pass + Pantry Box Bundle,  by Balancing Act
Balancing Act
Season Pass + Pantry Box Bundle,
$318 (Single), $471.00 (Double)
A critical series for anyone interested in making mixed drinks. Balancing Act’s Dave Arnold and Jack Schramm are the world’s foremost drink geniuses, and their non-alcoholic drinks at the now-shuttered Existing Conditions are the best I’ve ever had by a large margin. A season pass includes links to recordings of the past Balancing Act shows, and the 2021 Fall/Winter season includes a fantastic non-alcoholic drinks episode, which Balancing Act has made available for gift guide readers to purchase individually. Private events also available.
Moutarde de Bourgogne by Edmond Fallot
Edmond Fallot
Moutarde de Bourgogne
$6.25 (7.4oz)
Made from brown mustard seed grown in Burgundy and Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée Burgundy white wine. A thunderclap of intense mustard heat and alcohol notes. A delightful nightmare.
Swiss Peelers by Kuhn Rikon
Kuhn Rikon
Swiss Peelers
$5
The hype is real. Do not use a dishwasher—these are $5 plastic peelers.
PEANUTS by First United Methodist Church Peanut Crew
First United Methodist Church Peanut Crew
PEANUTS
$6.95
Wayne County peanuts, boiled, fried, and salted. Among the best ready-to-eat peanuts that you can buy.
Multigroom 7000 (MG7750/49) by Phillips Norelco
Phillips Norelco
Multigroom 7000 (MG7750/49)
$59.99
Comes with an outrageous number of attachments to guarantee that you can trim one’s entire body, including the face, head, and nostrils.
LS50 Wireless II by KEF
KEF
LS50 Wireless II
$2,799.99
For the friend who wants to sit in a room, alone, and listen to music for hours on end but does not want autonomy in their speaker selection.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica by Aniplex of America
Aniplex of America
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
$119.98
Abby’s Choice—Gen Urobuchi’s dark departure from typical magical girl anime, Madoka Magica is an incredible television series, and one of the greatest of all time.
Men’s SOCIAL SCULPTURE 10 DMGD-26 JEAN by visvim
visvim
Men’s SOCIAL SCULPTURE 10 DMGD-26 JEAN
$1,120
One doesn’t really understand Social Sculpture jeans until they read three dissertations about them from designer Hiroki Nakamura. The first volume serves as background, while the second and third volumes will inform you on the various Social Sculpture cuts, among other things. Note that you may have to size up on the Social Sculpture 10 cut.
POS Birds Print by Paperback Paradise
Paperback Paradise
POS Birds Print
$10 (Poster), $20 (Print)
Great to frame and hang in an office or bedroom.
Zesty Horseradish Mustard by Mustard Girl
Mustard Girl
Zesty Horseradish Mustard
$4.25 (12oz)
For when horseradish is needed in a deli mustard.
31655H High Heat S/S 6 x 5 Turner w/Blue Handle by Dexter Russell
Dexter Russell
31655H High Heat S/S 6 x 5 Turner w/Blue Handle
$15.70
Great heavy spatula with a sharp edge for breaking up food as it cooks. If you have a hot griddle and balls of meat ready to smash into burgers, you can place the ball on the griddle and press down forcefully with this spatula. After the initial smash, smear the meat outward along its edge so it thins out. Salt generously and uniformly on the side facing upward as the meat cooks. Salt impedes crust formation as it draws moisture out, and it’s critical to only salt one side for such a thin burger.
Volume 08 by Whetstone
Whetstone
Volume 08
$20
Whetstone Magazine is a magazine that explores the origins of food and the cultures connected to it. Volume 008 covers a range of topics including the history of coffee bean growing in Puerto Rico, the iconic Palestinian variant of knafeh, and an investigation of the historical context of and relationship between Jews and Chinese food. Subscriptions to Whetstone are available in print and digital format.
Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl by Vollrath
Vollrath
Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl
$10.17 (3-quart), $15.70 (5-quart), $20.83 (8-quart)
Critical bowls for cooking. If you have smashed burger meat cooking on a griddle, after the meat has cooked for a minute, use a fish spatula to flip without disturbing the crust. Once flipped, place cheese on them, spray some water toward the griddle near the patty, and immediately invert a 3-quart metal bowl over it. Check the cheese after 20-30 seconds, and once the cheese has melted, it’s done.
Persona 5 Royal by P-Studio
P-Studio
Persona 5 Royal
$29.99
Persona 5 Royal has taken the original Persona 5 and made it even better. One of the all-time greatest roleplaying games and my absolute favorite game.
Good Grips Garlic Slicer by OXO
OXO
Good Grips Garlic Slicer
$10.99
A versatile tool for slicing garlic in many different orientations.
Original Thin & Crispy Potato Chips by Snyder of Berlin
Snyder of Berlin
Original Thin & Crispy Potato Chips
$28.48 (Three 9.5 oz. Bags)
Abby’s Choice—The best plain potato chip there is, though Abby’s choice is actually the salt and vinegar chips, and my mother-in-law would be distraught if no mention of the BBQ chips was made.
MicroMix 7" Variable Speed Immersion Blender by Robot Coupe
Robot Coupe
MicroMix 7" Variable Speed Immersion Blender
$248
If you need a full-size blender for smoothies, it’s worth buying a reconditioned Vitamix—they’re fantastic blenders. But if I had to choose only one piece of equipment to chop or blend foods, I would choose an immersion blender over a full-sized blender or food processor without a moment’s hesitation. The MicroMix works incredibly well to establish an emulsion quickly, and when you’re not emulsifying sauces, there’s separate blade for chopping foods, which does well with breaking down tomatoes for sauce without oxidizing them like a full-size blender does.
Last of Us 2 by Naughty Dog
Naughty Dog
Last of Us 2
$39.99
A breathtaking successor to a game that previously seemed to have no need for a sequel.
Gift Card by Hyacinth (Saint Paul)
Hyacinth (Saint Paul)
Gift Card
$10-200
The best restaurant in the Twin Cities, and that descriptor doesn’t nearly do it justice. Hyacinth has a revolving seasonal menu of constant home runs and with a great service experience to match.
USDA Prime Dry-Aged Bone-in Rib Steak by Lobel’s of New York
Lobel’s of New York
USDA Prime Dry-Aged Bone-in Rib Steak
$109.95 (24oz), $122.95 (28oz)
An absolutely incredible rib steak with ideal marbling and a deep dry-aged flavor. Lobel’s also offers an American wagyu rib steak, which is wet aged for two weeks and is intensely flavorful. And for those that prefer porterhouses, there are phenomenal USDA Prime porterhouse steaks available.
Beurre de Baratte by Rodolphe Le Meunier
Rodolphe Le Meunier
Beurre de Baratte
$8.79
It’s embossed with a cow, and it’s almost cheeselike in its buttery intensity. A butter to remember forever.
Slotted Turner Left Hand by Lamson Sharp
Lamson Sharp
Slotted Turner Left Hand
$28.49
Enable the lefty in your life to easily flip intensely seared foods and fish. Not intended for use by right-handed people.
Original Cast Iron Seasoning Oil & Conditioner by Crisbee Stik
Crisbee Stik
Original Cast Iron Seasoning Oil & Conditioner
$14.95
It’s pricey, but it’s the best seasoning fat I’ve ever used, and in an extremely convenient form. Store it far away from your deodorant, trust me.
Gift Certificate by Grow & Behold
Grow & Behold
Gift Certificate
$100+
While I missed out on it, this glatt kosher butcher’s brisket got rave reviews from my family. They’re a rare source of kosher 30-day dry-aged rib roasts, rib steaks, and really, beef navel, the cut traditionally used to make pastrami, is extremely difficult to find, kosher or not, which is why brisket is such a common substitute. Kosher meat is generally relatively expensive, and this is the high-end of kosher meat—I would err toward the generous side if purchasing a gift card for a kosher-keeping recipient.
Prima 3 Pump pressure sprayer 3L by Gloria
Gloria
Prima 3 Pump pressure sprayer 3L
$25
It features a brass spray lance, so it’s ideal for popping into a deck oven to quickly generate large amounts of steam. This is not for home oven use, and a basic spray bottle works well in that case.
Pepperoni by Salumeria Biellese
Salumeria Biellese
Pepperoni
$10
A half-pound portion of the world’s greatest pepperoni. And no, it won’t cup—this is a pepperoni for everything from New York-style pizza slices to hoagies. Also available in a whole-stick format.
Christopher Kimball Signature Timer by Thermoworks
Thermoworks
Christopher Kimball Signature Timer
$39
I was required to have a timer affixed to me after I developed a habit of leaving several Extra Big & Loud Timers ringing unanswered. This timer can be set with two alarms—if you need three timers, the TimeStick Trio works well, but the Trio is not nearly as convenient and responsive as the Christopher Kimball Signature Timer.
California Reserve Dry Aged Boneless Ribeye Roast by Flannery Beef
Flannery Beef
California Reserve Dry Aged Boneless Ribeye Roast
$140 (4lbs), $210 (6lbs), $280 (8lbs), $350 (10lbs)
An incredible rib roast dry aged for 30-35 days, Flannery’s California Reserve meat comes from California Holstein, a breed of generally used for dairy production. Be sure to dry-brine your roast, and really, all of your beef, for maximal results. Excellent individual California Reserve Holstein and Midwestern Angus rib steaks, porterhouses and other cuts available. For those who are drawn to exceptionally large ribeye caps, their famous California Reserve Jorge cut rib steak is a must try. And mismatched filet mignon are great to throw into any order.
LIÈGE Waffle Iron by HVD
HVD
LIÈGE Waffle Iron
$2700
If you want to make Liège waffles, the Cuisinart Belgian waffle iron will not work, nor will any any other Bed, Bath and Beyond-ish Belgian waffle maker that a publication lists as their Belgian waffle iron pick—they’re all comparatively trash. The HVD is the best there is. Comes in 110- and 240-volt configurations, and there’s a propane variant.
Thermapen ONE by Thermoworks
Thermoworks
Thermapen ONE
$105
The best instant-read thermometer that you’re going to find. A lower-cost ThermoPop is also available, with the same reliability and build quality, but a different form factor and slower response time.
AMERICAN WAGYU BLACK GRADE - NEW YORK STRIP END CUT by Snake River Farms
Snake River Farms
AMERICAN WAGYU BLACK GRADE - NEW YORK STRIP END CUT
$35
Maybe the best value in high-end steaks. The end cut comes with a bit of connective tissue, which makes some people think it’s a lesser cut, but the connective tissue is hardly even a hiccup, and this end cut strip steak has a really phenomenal flavor. Snake River Farm’s short ribs are also excellent for smoking, and it can be a profoundly difficult cut to find done properly.
Carbon Steel Chef’s Knife by Kramer by Zwilling
Kramer by Zwilling
Carbon Steel Chef’s Knife
$349.95 (8-inch), $399.95 (10-inch)
A carbon steel Western-style chef’s knife. Great handle ergonomics and blade profile, which is ideal for rock-chopping.
XXL Milk Gianduja Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts by La Molina
La Molina
XXL Milk Gianduja Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts
$24.75
Abby’s Choice—The hazelnut-embedded chocolate that dreams are made of.
8" Heavy-Duty Cleaver by Dexter-Russell
Dexter-Russell
8" Heavy-Duty Cleaver
$44.81
Surprisingly useful cleaver. Great for parsing poultry, breaking up chocolate, crushing things, and cutting into gourds.
Hot Dog Bun, Poppy Seed Mary Ann, 8 Count by S. Rosen’s Baking Company
S. Rosen’s Baking Company
Hot Dog Bun, Poppy Seed Mary Ann, 8 Count
$2.97
Give your loved one the gift of poppy-seeded buns for Chicago-style hot dogs.
Sani-Tuff Rubber Cutting Board (9 x 12 inches) by NoTrax
NoTrax
Sani-Tuff Rubber Cutting Board (9 x 12 inches)
$63.80
The price has nearly doubled in recent years, but if a villain came to my home and put all of mine in the dishwasher and ruined them, I would immediately buy them at this outragous price. They’re great cutting boards that won’t prematurely dull your knives and they’re easy to store. Do not put this in your dishwasher ever. I might be able to help you restore them if you do, but don’t do it, I will be extremely angry if you do it and contact me asking for help. Do not put this in the dishwasher.
Cannoli by Maria’s Pastry Shop
Maria’s Pastry Shop
Cannoli
$45
Maria’s Pastry Shop of Boston’s North End is closed. You cannot buy a cannolo from Maria’s now, nor will you ever be able to do so again. But Maria’s cannoli are the best cannoli, and your loved ones deserve the best. Order a different Boston cannoli (Modern Pastry is not remotely a sufficient replacement), and be sure the recipient knows that you really wanted to buy them Maria’s but that you could not—they’re worth it.
Men’s ADICOLOR CLASSICS 3-STRIPES PANTS by Adidas
Adidas
Men’s ADICOLOR CLASSICS 3-STRIPES PANTS
$60
A great slim silhouetted sweatpant with a tapered leg, zip pockets, and a concealed drawstring waistband.
Saltbox, artichoke by Zero Japan
Zero Japan
Saltbox, artichoke
$32
The hinoki cypress lid is hinged, and you can open it with the flick of a finger, so you can easily access your salt without clumsily futzing with a lid. It’s an ideal salt cellar, and available in several colors
C1-Series Smart OLED TV by LGTV
LGTV
C1-Series Smart OLED TV
$1,299.99 (48-inch), $1,499.99 (55-inch), and $1,999.99 (65-inch)
It’s a 120hz screen, and so you can, and should, turn off motion smoothing. The interfaces on the C1-Series TVs are responsive and smooth to the point that an Apple TV-like device is unnecessary.
Buckwheat Pillow by Hullo
Hullo
Buckwheat Pillow
$99
Buckwheat pillows have been used in Japan for hundreds of years. The hulls in buckwheat pillows hold their shape well and remain extremely comfortable. The United States requires imported buckwheat hulls to be heat treated, which allegedly makes the hulls brittle and causes them to flatten out more readily. It’s unclear if that’s the case, but Hullo grows their buckwheat in Minnesota.
Passata di Pomodoro Giallo by Maida Farm
Maida Farm
Passata di Pomodoro Giallo
$11.75
Abby’s Choice—For when passata needs more beta carotene.
BEAUTIFUL SLEEPYHEAD & THE LAUGHING YAKS by Emily Wells
Emily Wells
BEAUTIFUL SLEEPYHEAD & THE LAUGHING YAKS
$15
Abby’s Choice—At some point, there were only around 100 copies left, and there are fewer copies now. Your chance to hear this incredible 2006 indie pop/folk album dies when this limited sells out. Hurry.
Spicy Brown Mustard by Kosciusko
Kosciusko
Spicy Brown Mustard
$3.75 (9oz)
A top-tier spicy brown deli mustard.
24-hour Tablets by Claritin
Claritin
24-hour Tablets
$20
For the friend with a beating heart.
Joe McCoy BALL PARK FRONT ZIP SWEATSHIRT by The Real McCoy’s
The Real McCoy’s
Joe McCoy BALL PARK FRONT ZIP SWEATSHIRT
$270
A pre-washed hooded sweatshirt with heavy sinker-weave-knit fabric as opposed to loopwheel-knit fabric, but it’s no worse for it. A bit roomier and longer than The Strike Gold’s offering. It’s Japanese, so size up by one size relative to US sizing. The Real McCoy’s also has a loopwheel-knit zipped hoodie available who must have their hoodies knit with the least amount of tension.
4080 Musso Lussino Ice Cream Maker by Lello
Lello
4080 Musso Lussino Ice Cream Maker
$808.50
If your ice cream was mediocre before, it’ll likely still be mediocre, but now you’ll know that it’s you, and it’s not the ice cream maker.
40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens by Sigma
Sigma
40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
$1,399
It’s a nearly three-pounds, but it’s an incredible lens and one of the sharpest around. Available for Canon EF, Nikon F, Sigma SA, Leica L, and Sony E mounts.
Classic Bathrobe by Parachute
Parachute
Classic Bathrobe
$99
It’s very soft, comfortable, and it looks like a typical bathrobe. There’s pockets to keep sandwiches or whatever you typically use bathrobe pockets for. I don’t know what else you need in a bathrobe—do you need a hood?
Prairie Breeze by Milton Creamery
Milton Creamery
Prairie Breeze
$8 (6.5oz), $30 (1.625lb), $80 (5lb)
Abby’s Choice—A nutty and sweet aged cheddar.
Batman by Tom King & Lee Weeks: The Deluxe Edition by DC Comics
DC Comics
Batman by Tom King & Lee Weeks: The Deluxe Edition
$29.99
A collection of Batman stories from writer Tom King and artist Lee Weeks. Collects Batman #51-53 and #67, Batman Annual #2, and Batman/Elmer Fudd Special #1. Batman Annual #2 is my all-time favorite single issue of a comic, and serves as a standalone story.
Original Mustard by Mister Mustard
Mister Mustard
Original Mustard
$1.60 (7.5oz)
A must-have mustard for hot mustard enthusiasts. Mister Mustard is possibly the only mustard that I’ve ever liked that has sugar as a listed ingredient, and yes, I’ve tried Boetjes.
150-pound boxing bag by Outslayer
Outslayer
150-pound boxing bag
$510 (with bottom D-ring)
These bags are filled entirely with compressed fabric rather than sand, and so the bag does not harden as time goes on. Extremely comfortable to punch. The conventional wisdom is to use a heavy bag that’s around half your weight. Also, be sure to order it filled—shipping is included.
KIDS GEOBASKET by Rick Owens
Rick Owens
KIDS GEOBASKET
$600–690
The legendary Dunk-inspired high-top sneaker but for children.
SUN6 Dough Mixer by Sunmix
Sunmix
SUN6 Dough Mixer
$1,890.00
This is not a replacement for a typical stand mixer: the SUN6 is a spiral mixer designed exclusively for mixing dough, and its breaker bar makes it a far superior for kneading dough compared to barless consumer spiral mixers. This is a relatively large mixer, and it really shines with large batches it dough, but it’s specifically designed to fit underneath cabinets in a home kitchen. And unfortunately, unless you’re in Europe, the price has gone up nearly $500 in the past year and a half. Works best with a healthy addition of stickers.
iPhone by Apple
Apple
iPhone
$400+
From the iPhone SE (2nd Gen) at $400 to the iPhone 13 Pro Max starting at $1099, with many phones in between, Apple covers a tremendous price and size range with their phone offerings, and every single one of those phones can potentially take your loved one out of someone else’s green chat bubble hell or even be a first mobile device. And when it comes to build quality, user experience, and performance, iPhones are unmatched.
Boberation Giclee Print by Meep
Meep
Boberation Giclee Print
$20
1 of 20 hand-numbered and signed prints. See Meep’s shop for a full range of prints, shirts, stickers, and a coloring book.
Coconut Cilantro Chutney by Basbaas Foods
Basbaas Foods
Coconut Cilantro Chutney
$21.99
A chutney through the lens of Somali chef Hawa Hassan. I’ve loved it on everything from carnitas tacos to samosas. Also available is an excellent tamarind date sauce, which is also included alongside this chutney in a variety pack
Donation by Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund
Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund
Donation
$36+
The Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) works to find Palestinian children free medical care in Europe and the United States. PCRF built the first ever Palestinian pediatric cancer center, in the West Bank, and a second pediatric cancer center in Gaza City. Additionally, PCRF provides medical supplies and equipment and helps train Palestinian surgeons. Some employers may offer donation matching for PCRF donations, and in general, you may want to check with your employer about matching major donations.
Issue 2 by Meal Magazine
Meal Magazine
Issue 2
$19
The second issue of the essential food magazine from the Twin Cities-based publication. This issue covers variety of critical topics at the intersection of social justice and food, and there’s a Joe Rosenthal profile by Molly Each, which is a beautifully written reveal of my closest held secrets. Meal Magazine’s third issue is available for preorder, and Meal Magazine offers a bimonthly newsleter, magazine subscription, merchandise, access to local Twin Cities events, and more, through their Patreon.
Moutarde Forte by Produit Pic
Produit Pic
Moutarde Forte
$8.99 (7.5oz)
An exceptionally smooth sandwich demands an exceptionally smooth mustard. Pleasant with most of the flavor up front and not much heat.
RowErg Rowing Machine by Concept2
Concept2
RowErg Rowing Machine
$900
For the loved one with 9’-by-4’ of contiguous space.
Women’s MARGARET JEANS IN SUPERSONIC WASH DENIM SUPERSONIC WASH by CELINE
CELINE
Women’s MARGARET JEANS IN SUPERSONIC WASH DENIM SUPERSONIC WASH
$690
A high rise straight leg jean. With Hedi Slimane at the helm, CELINE has some of the best washed denim in the business.
Sauce Spoon by Gray Kunz
Gray Kunz
Sauce Spoon
$13.09
This is my spoon. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My spoon is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My spoon, without me, is useless. Without my spoon, I am useless.
Capture One by Phase One
Phase One
Capture One
$200 (license for Fujifilm, Nikon, or Sony, only), $300 (license for all major camera brands)
Powerful and convenient photo editing software. Capture One enables tethered shooting whereby the camera is attached to a computer and you can see the view finder, focus, shoot, and develop photos in the software. Also, available as a monthly or yearly subscription service.
HYPHAE CERAMIC TUMBLER by Brain Dead x Joey Watson
Brain Dead x Joey Watson
HYPHAE CERAMIC TUMBLER
$150
A timeless tumbler.
Meats by Katz’s Delicatessen
Katz’s Delicatessen
Meats
$83.75–$108.95 (4+lbs whole pastrami), $34 (1lb tongue), $13.95 (six frankfurters), $34.95–$69.95 (hard salami)
The whole pastrami is phenomenal, and it’s the same thing that Katz’s boils and steams in their deli—add a healthy pinch of salt to the water. The pastrami freezes well after the initial boil if over four pounds of pastrami can’t be finished in one sitting. The well-marbled slices of the pre-sliced tongue are a dream for tongue enthusiasts, but be prepared for a few lean pieces, too. And on the encased beef side of things, the natural casing beef hot dog are nicely beefy and have a nice smokiness from added hickory flavor, and hard salami is a must try for beef salami enthusiasts, and it may be well-served by leaving it on the counter for a week or two to age a bit more prior to slicing it—be your own rabbi.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Shattered Grid Deluxe Edition  by Boom! Studios
Boom! Studios
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Shattered Grid Deluxe Edition
$63.49
The original Power Rangers are now being written as an excellent comic series. Shattered Grid is a major event in which an alternate world’s Tommy Oliver remains evil and kills Power Rangers to accumulate more power and imperil the universe. This collects Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #25-30, Go Go Power Rangers #9-12, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Free Comic Book Day Special, and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Shattered Grid #1, and an original short story set during the events of Shattered Grid. The next major arc, Necessary Evil is also collected in a two-part hardcover series, with part one available now, and part two is available for preorder.
Mostaard by Mostaard Wostyn
Mostaard Wostyn
Mostaard
$2.88 (225g)
A Belgian mustard from a 19th Century mustardier based in Torhout. Smooth with a mild back-end heat and a nice complexity from its finely ground black mustard seed.
MS-500 14-Ounce Blue Boxing Gloves by Winning
Winning
MS-500 14-Ounce Blue Boxing Gloves
$355
These have laces, so be sure to grab a set of Lace-N-Loop straps so they can be fastened and removed by the wearer. Be sure to get a good pair of wraps and wrap your hands properly.
Kingsnake print GG Supreme card case by Gucci
Gucci
Kingsnake print GG Supreme card case
$290
Great form factor for stashing some cards and cash in a slim pants pocket. Fun snake design.
Carbon Steel 5-inch Utility Knife by Kramer by Zwilling
Kramer by Zwilling
Carbon Steel 5-inch Utility Knife
$229.95
A bit larger than the average paring knife, but I’m a big fan of this one for delicate knife work.
CT5 Time to Go by CTEK
CTEK
CT5 Time to Go
$128.51
A critical accessory for infrequently driven cars in cold climates. An optional CTEK Comfort Connect Cig Plug enables you to trickle charge your car battery through your car’s cigarette port, for cars with a port that is powered when the car is off. My spouse and I accidentally ran over our CT5 several times, and to be clear, the CT5 survived being run over by a car multiple times before we finally replaced it with a second one.
PORCELAIN PAPER PLATE, WHITE by SIN
SIN
PORCELAIN PAPER PLATE, WHITE
$36 (mini), $72 (small), $85 (large)
Nearly identical to a paper plate.
Indian Tellicherry Black Pepper by Kalustyan’s
Kalustyan’s
Indian Tellicherry Black Pepper
$7.99 (2.5oz), $9.99 (6oz) $16.99 (16oz), $69.99 (5lbs)
A great peppercorn, and I haven’t cooked with any other black pepper since I started using it years ago. And really, Kalustyan’s entire collection of spices, seeds, and other items are worth exploring.
House of X/Powers of X by Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics
House of X/Powers of X
$53.99 (Hardcover)
The start of Jonathan Hickman’s run of X-Men which serves as a reboot of the X-Men comics. Hickman’s run is a fresh take on the X-Men lore, and this is a must have for X-Men fans. Collects Powers of X 1-6, House of X 1-6.
Hot Mustard by Red Pelican
Red Pelican
Hot Mustard
$5.79 (9oz)
A great smooth brown mustard with a nice spiciness. Red Pelican’s Hot Mustard eats a lot like a Belgian mustard, and given that the founder, Henry Sabe, was a Flemish immigrant, it makes sense. Much more finely ground than a typical delicatessen mustard, but not as finely ground as the Belgian mustards in this list.
Straight to Heaven by By Kilian
By Kilian
Straight to Heaven
$240
Smell a little bit like rum, but not like you’ve been drinking it—smell like you’re exuding rum.
Maronibraterin shearling-lined leather boots by Ludwig Reiter
Ludwig Reiter
Maronibraterin shearling-lined leather boots
$798
Abby’s Choice—Made with oil-impregnated Russian leather by Vienna-based bootmaker Ludwig Reiter. Note that orders shipped to outside of the EU are final sale unless you can return it to one of their shops in Austria, Germany, or Switzerland. Available in women’s and men’s sizing.
Donation by Brennan Center for Justice
Brennan Center for Justice
Donation
$25+
The Brennan Center for Justice is a nonprofit public policy and law institute of the New York University Law School. The Brennan Center peforms research and advocates for progressive causes such as voting rights expansion, ending mass incarceration, campaign finance reform, electoral college reform, and election security.
Professional Chosera 1,000 Grit by Naniwa
Naniwa
Professional Chosera 1,000 Grit
$88
A 1,000 grit stone is a good stone for maintaining a blade that’s already in reasonable condition. The Chosera 400 grit is a much better stone to use for a knife that’s been long neglected and needs a lot of material removed to bring it back to life. Chosera’s 5,000 grit stone works well to follow up as a finishing stone. 10,000 grit helps take the finish a step further for knives with very hard blade steels only—softer steels that will rapidly dull from such a fine edge. A honing rod can work to maintain your knives between sharpenings, but I prefer a strop, especially for knives with particularly hard steel.
LSX by KEF
KEF
LSX
$1,249.99
All but the white model are draped in fabric from Kvadrat, and the speakers fit well on a desk—what’s not to love? Play Kiss from a Rose for hours on end to be sure you break it in.
Soup bowl, Artist’s by Helen Levi Ceramics
Helen Levi Ceramics
Soup bowl, Artist’s
$56
A great bowl for soups and cereals.
32 oz. Crab Cake Tub by G&M Restaurant
G&M Restaurant
32 oz. Crab Cake Tub
$115
The world’s best crab cake but in a tub that comes in the mail. Includes a scooper to easily scoop crab cakes just like they do at G&M.
Death Stranding Director’s Cut by Kojima Productions
Kojima Productions
Death Stranding Director’s Cut
$49.99
An expanded version of the original Hideo Kojima masterpiece for PS5. A story-driven epic, package delivery has been made into an utterly enthralling and terrifying experience. Do not succumb to complacency, and do not underestimate the utility of your BB. Owners of the original Death Stranding for PS4 can upgrade to the PS5 Director’s Cut for $10.
Traditional Yellow Mustard by Red Pelican
Red Pelican
Traditional Yellow Mustard
$3.69 (10oz)
A yellow mustard to bring home to the family. Red Pelican’s yellow mustard has a nice complexity and backend heat, and it would be well paired with an ambitiously topped hot dog or a bare beefy dog. Red Pelican was, at some point, the official mustardier of the Detroit Tigers.
Captains of Crush Set of 10 by Iron Mind
Iron Mind
Captains of Crush Set of 10
$239.95
There are five people living who have closed the #4 gripper. Shoot for the moon. Also available as individual grippers.
Men’s SKINNY JEANS IN RAW DENIM by CELINE
CELINE
Men’s SKINNY JEANS IN RAW DENIM
$590
Hedi Slimane’s best cut since the 17.5cm.
Pellet Grill by recteq
recteq
Pellet Grill
$739 (RT-340), $899 (RT-590), $1,199 (RT-700), $1,599 (RT-1250)
Each pellet smoker features a PID controller for dynamic temperature response, a thick stainless steel chassis that will retain heat well, and a ceramic ignitor rod that’ll won’t require continually replacement like with metal ignition rods. Pairs well with high-quality pellets.
USB-C Audio Interface by Audient
Audient
USB-C Audio Interface
$299 (iD14 MKII), $199 (id4 MKII)
Pairs with an XLR microphone or guitar. Contains reasonably powerful preamps that obviate the need for a microphone activator or lifter for certain dynamic microphones. Add in a Rode PSA1 boom arm to really send the message, buy a mic.
American White Large Oval Serving Platter by HF Coors
HF Coors
American White Large Oval Serving Platter
$67
Safe for any temperature that is possible on this earth. My brother bought me two of these as a wedding gift, so I could recreate the Peter Luger experience without having to eat a mediocre porterhouse.
CASCATELLI by Sfoglini
Sfoglini
CASCATELLI
$17.99 (Four Pack)
Give your loved one the promise of four pounds of pasta that will arrive in a month or so. This is to short pasta shapes what Scoops! was to Tostitos.
Volume Fourteen by Compound Butter
Compound Butter
Volume Fourteen
$20
A stunning food magazine with incredible original art intertwined with the editorial content throughout. Volume Fourteen is a double issue with 163 pages centered on the things that bring comfort. Volume Fifteen can be preordered, and a four-issue subscription is available.
Moutarde de Dijon by Delouis Fils
Delouis Fils
Moutarde de Dijon
$6.25 (7oz)
A gorgeous Dijon with a nice amount of heat without being too intense.
GREEN IRISH TWEED SOAP by Creed
Creed
GREEN IRISH TWEED SOAP
$55
Bathe yourself in entry-level luxury.
SQUARE CC HOLDER by Rick Owens
Rick Owens
SQUARE CC HOLDER
$465
Great low-profile card case for a jean back pocket. Wait for the end of the season sales, and this should see a significant price drop.
How to Pizza: A New York-style pizza recipe with extraneous information by Richard Eaglespoon
Richard Eaglespoon
How to Pizza: A New York-style pizza recipe with extraneous information
Priceless
An article on how to make New York-style pizza in a basic home oven, including a list of critical pizza making equipment. And no, you do not need a specialty pizza oven to make incredible pizza at home, and no oven will make your pizza any less mediocre.
PlayStation 5 by Sony
Sony
PlayStation 5
$499
Yes, it’s nearly impossible to find stocked at a given moment, but if you have time to spare, bookmark all of the stockists that you can find; create accounts on each website with your information filled out, frequently check them all, and you will find one available. The Playstation platform has incredible exclusive games, with a sample thereof listed in this guide, not to mention that the Playstation 5 likely has the best game controller of all time with its adaptive triggers. And really, Microsoft hasn’t had a console-selling exclusive game since the Xbox 360 era.
Set of Six Steak Knives by Laguiole Claude Dozorme
Laguiole Claude Dozorme
Set of Six Steak Knives
$169
These are my knives; they were a gift from my mother. They’re excellent knives. These are mine, though, so I would suggest you use these knives as a guide—this is a gift guide, not a gift prescription—and do not buy these exact ones. Find your own knives, please.
Season Pass + Pantry Box Bundle,  by Balancing Act
Balancing Act
Season Pass + Pantry Box Bundle,
$318 (Single), $471.00 (Double)
A critical series for anyone interested in making mixed drinks. Balancing Act’s Dave Arnold and Jack Schramm are the world’s foremost drink geniuses, and their non-alcoholic drinks at the now-shuttered Existing Conditions are the best I’ve ever had by a large margin. A season pass includes links to recordings of the past Balancing Act shows, and the 2021 Fall/Winter season includes a fantastic non-alcoholic drinks episode, which Balancing Act has made available for gift guide readers to purchase individually. Private events also available.
Donation by Internet Archive
Internet Archive
Donation
$5+
Internet Archive is a digital library dedicated to providing free access to digitized audio, books, movies, software, and more. A major focus of the Internet Archive has been archiving web pages through their Way Back Machine. If, for example, you’ve ever tried to determine how problematic a Bon Appétit recipe was prior to being scrubbed clean, the Way Back Machine has archived it. The Internet Archive is currently hosting 70 petabytes of archived data—that’s 70,000,000 gigabytes—and a donation enables that.
Mister Miracle: Deluxe Edition by DC Comics
DC Comics
Mister Miracle: Deluxe Edition
$49.99
A hardcover collection of the phenomenal Mister Miracle run written by Tom King and illustrated by Mitch Gerads. Collects Mister Miracle #1–12 and includes each variant cover art, sketches, and scripts.
Moutarde de Bourgogne by Edmond Fallot
Edmond Fallot
Moutarde de Bourgogne
$6.25 (7.4oz)
Made from brown mustard seed grown in Burgundy and Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée Burgundy white wine. A thunderclap of intense mustard heat and alcohol notes. A delightful nightmare.
Jubilation XXV for Men, 100ml by Amouage
Amouage
Jubilation XXV for Men, 100ml
$340
Frankincense, myrrh—only a few donkeys short of smelling like the nativity scene.
White & Blue Leather Corda-Folk Sneakers by visvim/WMV
visvim/WMV
White & Blue Leather Corda-Folk Sneakers
$1035
Better than all of the other Superstar knockoffs with plastic agleted laces—it doesn’t get more comfortable than visvim leather sneakers. Available in men’s and women’s sizes.
Swiss Peelers by Kuhn Rikon
Kuhn Rikon
Swiss Peelers
$5
The hype is real. Do not use a dishwasher—these are $5 plastic peelers.
One Year of Photoshop or Creative Cloud All Apps (after student and teacher discount) by Adobe
Adobe
One Year of Photoshop or Creative Cloud All Apps (after student and teacher discount)
$239.88 (see description below)
Yes, the the student and teacher discount for Creative Cloud All Apps is a great deal for supremely useful software and places it at the annual price for non-discounted Photoshop (the price increases slightly after the first year). It’s like gifting Harry & David, but instead of monthly fruits, it’s the ability to use software that the recipient will never possibly own. Or instead, email your loved one a thoughtful note and include a link to PhotoPea, the free (with ads) browser-based Photoshop clone, and they too can do elaborate photo editing in order to call out enablers of problematic figures in the food world.
Weighted blanket by Baloo
Baloo
Weighted blanket
159 (Throw), $169 (Full/Queen), $204 (King)
If you don’t have 20 pounds of weighted beads in your blanket, are you even sleeping?
PEANUTS by First United Methodist Church Peanut Crew
First United Methodist Church Peanut Crew
PEANUTS
$6.95
Wayne County peanuts, boiled, fried, and salted. Among the best ready-to-eat peanuts that you can buy.
DEATHLOOP by Arkane Studios
Arkane Studios
DEATHLOOP
$59.99
Enjoy amortality with ruinous intent. Also available on PC.
Moutarde de Dijon by Edmond Fallot
Edmond Fallot
Moutarde de Dijon
$6.25 (7.4oz)
A great Dijon mustard with a bit of lingering heat.
Multigroom 7000 (MG7750/49) by Phillips Norelco
Phillips Norelco
Multigroom 7000 (MG7750/49)
$59.99
Comes with an outrageous number of attachments to guarantee that you can trim one’s entire body, including the face, head, and nostrils.
Black Cordura Suede 22L Backpack by visvim
visvim
Black Cordura Suede 22L Backpack
$1100
When all you want is a more expensive JanSport. Suede bottomed.
Virgin Carbon Steel Gyuto by Masamoto
Masamoto
Virgin Carbon Steel Gyuto
$195 (8.2-inch), $236 (9.4-inch), $283 (10.5-inch)
A carbon steel Japanese chef’s knife with a Western-style handle. This knife is sharpened for right-handed users. The rest of the blade and the handle are both symmetrical, so left-handed users can call Korin’s customer service number and pay an additional $20 for the edge to be reground for lefties. And for those who will only accept stainless steel knives, Misono’s UX10 is a very nice option.
LS50 Wireless II by KEF
KEF
LS50 Wireless II
$2,799.99
For the friend who wants to sit in a room, alone, and listen to music for hours on end but does not want autonomy in their speaker selection.
Fishing Rod Fly Swatter by Rivers Edge
Rivers Edge
Fishing Rod Fly Swatter
$9.99
They’ll look forward to murdering the next fly.
GASPE NOVA SMOKED SALMON by Russ & Daughters
Russ & Daughters
GASPE NOVA SMOKED SALMON
$50 per pound
If you don’t like this smoked salmon, there’s no smoked salmon in the world that will satisfy you. Bring your own bagels.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica by Aniplex of America
Aniplex of America
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
$119.98
Abby’s Choice—Gen Urobuchi’s dark departure from typical magical girl anime, Madoka Magica is an incredible television series, and one of the greatest of all time.
Fijne mosterd by Yves Tierenteyn-Verlent
Yves Tierenteyn-Verlent
Fijne mosterd
$5.80 (100ml)
In production since the late 18th century, and only available in Ghent. This is a smooth mustard with an intense front-end nasal heat and a spicy complexity. It almost feels like Edmond Fallot’s Burgundy meets Cleveland Stadium Mustard (Yves Tierenteyn-Verlent allegedly features vinegar rather than white wine like Burgundy, but I’d imagine it’s white wine vinegar). Bring your own bottle and you can have it filled at their shop.
Invasion Barbare by Parfums MDCI
Parfums MDCI
Invasion Barbare
$250, $375 (Resin Bust Edition)
Big barber shop energy.
Men’s SOCIAL SCULPTURE 10 DMGD-26 JEAN by visvim
visvim
Men’s SOCIAL SCULPTURE 10 DMGD-26 JEAN
$1,120
One doesn’t really understand Social Sculpture jeans until they read three dissertations about them from designer Hiroki Nakamura. The first volume serves as background, while the second and third volumes will inform you on the various Social Sculpture cuts, among other things. Note that you may have to size up on the Social Sculpture 10 cut.
Donation by Alzheimer’s Association
Alzheimer’s Association
Donation
$35+
Make a donation to contribute to care, support, and research for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Griddles by Baking Steel
Baking Steel
Griddles
$159 (Mini Griddle), $199 (Skinny Griddle), and $209 (Griddle)
They’re expensive, but they’re great stove-top griddles. Also pairs well with a 12-by-12-inch Sicilian-style pizza pan. The mini griddle in particular is ideal for small batches of smash burgers. Heat the griddle to 500F, and use 3oz balls of no leaner than 75%-lean chuck.
POS Birds Print by Paperback Paradise
Paperback Paradise
POS Birds Print
$10 (Poster), $20 (Print)
Great to frame and hang in an office or bedroom.
Chocolate Panettone by From Roy.
From Roy.
Chocolate Panettone
$75
Abby’s Choice—The next generation of panettone by Roy Schvartzapel, an airy and soft bread covered in pearl sugar and full of chocolate chips. Made with a pasta madre, the interior texture stays optimally fresh while sitting sliced in its packaging at room temperature for days on end. I couldn’t run faster from orange extract in desserts, but I’m finding myself transfixed by this panettone. Other flavors also available.
Returnal by Housemarque
Housemarque
Returnal
$69.99
Returnal is a profoundly difficult game with top-tier gameplay mechanics, and it stands as one of the few games with a middle-aged female protagonist. The following button swaps will help immensely in successfully beating the game: set dash to L1, melee to R1, use consumable to square, jump to R3, and X to area scan. Additionally, turn always sprint on.
Zesty Horseradish Mustard by Mustard Girl
Mustard Girl
Zesty Horseradish Mustard
$4.25 (12oz)
For when horseradish is needed in a deli mustard.
Sebenza 31 by Chris Reeve Knives
Chris Reeve Knives
Sebenza 31
$375 (Small), $450 (Large)
One knife that says it all.
Women’s SOCIAL SCULPTURE W04 DMGD-12 JEAN by WMV
WMV
Women’s SOCIAL SCULPTURE W04 DMGD-12 JEAN
$890.00
Hiroki Nakamura’s washes are among the best there is, and DMGD-12 is a particularly great variant. Features a blue-line selvedge, including a selvedge waistband, and a natural indigo-dyed roughout elk patch.
31655H High Heat S/S 6 x 5 Turner w/Blue Handle by Dexter Russell
Dexter Russell
31655H High Heat S/S 6 x 5 Turner w/Blue Handle
$15.70
Great heavy spatula with a sharp edge for breaking up food as it cooks. If you have a hot griddle and balls of meat ready to smash into burgers, you can place the ball on the griddle and press down forcefully with this spatula. After the initial smash, smear the meat outward along its edge so it thins out. Salt generously and uniformly on the side facing upward as the meat cooks. Salt impedes crust formation as it draws moisture out, and it’s critical to only salt one side for such a thin burger.
Poutine Gouache painting by Hawk Krall
Hawk Krall
Poutine Gouache painting
$275 (original), $25 (print)
Poutine. It’s also worth paying particular attention to Hawk Krall’s extensive body of hot dog art
Extra Hot Honey by Mike’s Hot Honey
Mike’s Hot Honey
Extra Hot Honey
$21.99 (2, 12 oz Squeeze Bottles)
The hottest honey yet.
Volume 08 by Whetstone
Whetstone
Volume 08
$20
Whetstone Magazine is a magazine that explores the origins of food and the cultures connected to it. Volume 008 covers a range of topics including the history of coffee bean growing in Puerto Rico, the iconic Palestinian variant of knafeh, and an investigation of the historical context of and relationship between Jews and Chinese food. Subscriptions to Whetstone are available in print and digital format.
Stone Ground Spicy Brown Mustard by Stadium Mustard
Stadium Mustard
Stone Ground Spicy Brown Mustard
$4.25 (12oz)
An excellent Cleveland Stadium-style mustard, a genre of mustard that I would classify as delicatessen mustard adjacent. And for the one who has everything, here’s a little bit more.
HEAVY LOOPWHEELED ZIP HOODIE by The Strike Gold
The Strike Gold
HEAVY LOOPWHEELED ZIP HOODIE
$295
A slubby heavy-weight loopwheel-knit hooded sweatshirt. It’s intended to shrink a full size after washing, and it’s slimmer and shorter than The Real McCoy’s Joe McCoy offering. It’s also Japanese, so it runs small, and you’ll want to size up at least one size relative to US sizing. Pay particular attention to measurements and shrinkage estimates.
Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl by Vollrath
Vollrath
Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl
$10.17 (3-quart), $15.70 (5-quart), $20.83 (8-quart)
Critical bowls for cooking. If you have smashed burger meat cooking on a griddle, after the meat has cooked for a minute, use a fish spatula to flip without disturbing the crust. Once flipped, place cheese on them, spray some water toward the griddle near the patty, and immediately invert a 3-quart metal bowl over it. Check the cheese after 20-30 seconds, and once the cheese has melted, it’s done.
Complete C3 Calima PowerLine by Míele
Míele
Complete C3 Calima PowerLine
$799
It’s a little precious, but vacuuming doesn’t get any better than with Míele.
LE CLIQUE MACARON SUBSCRIPTION by Gaby et Jules
Gaby et Jules
LE CLIQUE MACARON SUBSCRIPTION
$101 (3 months), $174 (6 months), $319 (1 year)
Phenomenal French macarons delivered on a subscription basis for your friends and family. Also available in a variety of individual macaron boxes, and the vanilla and strawberry stand as some of my favorites, though the vanilla macarons may only be available locally, in Pittsburgh. And for those in Pittsburgh that can visit the shop, the palmiers are a must try, along with any of the pastries that seem exciting.
Persona 5 Royal by P-Studio
P-Studio
Persona 5 Royal
$29.99
Persona 5 Royal has taken the original Persona 5 and made it even better. One of the all-time greatest roleplaying games and my absolute favorite game.
Spicy Brown Mustard by Koop’s
Koop’s
Spicy Brown Mustard
$4.25 (12oz)
A very nice vinegary spicy brown mustard.
Men’s Jason Hoodie by Rick Owens DRKSDHW
Rick Owens DRKSDHW
Men’s Jason Hoodie
$880
Pockets guaranteed to be big enough for an entire sandwich with hidden velcro patches to secure the sandwich, plus incredibly soft fleece. The Jason is one of the greatest hoodies money can buy, and now it’s in pink, too.
Good Grips Garlic Slicer by OXO
OXO
Good Grips Garlic Slicer
$10.99
A versatile tool for slicing garlic in many different orientations.
Donation by Electronic Frontier Foundation
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Donation
$25+
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) leverages lawyers, activities, and technology experts to fight against injustices in the digital world, and stands as a leading force defending against abuses of digital privacy.
Triflex HX1 by Míele
Míele
Triflex HX1
$499
The first cordless vacuum that isn’t actually garbage. Features a removable battery pack.
Original Thin & Crispy Potato Chips by Snyder of Berlin
Snyder of Berlin
Original Thin & Crispy Potato Chips
$28.48 (Three 9.5 oz. Bags)
Abby’s Choice—The best plain potato chip there is, though Abby’s choice is actually the salt and vinegar chips, and my mother-in-law would be distraught if no mention of the BBQ chips was made.
Psycho-Pass: Season One by Funimation
Funimation
Psycho-Pass: Season One
$41.99
Abby’s Choice—Created by Gen Urobuchi. Season One is essentially a complete series, and when viewed as such, it stands as one of the best television series of all time.
Gift certificate by Indigo Proof
Indigo Proof
Gift certificate
$35–300
The highest quality denim repairs I’ve seen; Rain Delisle is at least as good with working on denim as anyone who has made a pair of my jeans, and it’s the only place where I want to send mine. There’s a wait list for repairs, so sign up for her VIP list on the Indigo Proof website for advanced notice of openings. Chain-stitched hems, tapers, and waist alterations are also available.
MicroMix 7" Variable Speed Immersion Blender by Robot Coupe
Robot Coupe
MicroMix 7" Variable Speed Immersion Blender
$248
If you need a full-size blender for smoothies, it’s worth buying a reconditioned Vitamix—they’re fantastic blenders. But if I had to choose only one piece of equipment to chop or blend foods, I would choose an immersion blender over a full-sized blender or food processor without a moment’s hesitation. The MicroMix works incredibly well to establish an emulsion quickly, and when you’re not emulsifying sauces, there’s separate blade for chopping foods, which does well with breaking down tomatoes for sauce without oxidizing them like a full-size blender does.
Rohan Dish Drainer by Zojila
Zojila
Rohan Dish Drainer
$89.95
Yes, you can efficiently stack your dishes for drying, but this is significantly more convenient, and a rack enables you to dry cups and utensils. It’s also tilted so you can position it to drain into your sink.
Gustarosso San Marzano Tomatoes by DANICOOP
DANICOOP
Gustarosso San Marzano Tomatoes
$6.90
Canned San Marzano tomatoes in the United States are generally not great tomatoes, but Gustarosso stands as the exception and might just be the best canned tomato product there is.
Last of Us 2 by Naughty Dog
Naughty Dog
Last of Us 2
$39.99
A breathtaking successor to a game that previously seemed to have no need for a sequel.
Men’s Emory Parka by Canada Goose
Canada Goose
Men’s Emory Parka
$1,295
Abby’s Choice—No, as of 2021, New York City is not cold enough for this jacket, but for the Twin Cities and other similarly cold environments, it’s critical.
The Chef’s Press v2 by Chef’s Press
Chef’s Press
The Chef’s Press v2
$18.90 (13oz)
Perfect for burgers, steaks, and everything else that would be trash without a good sear.
Gift Card by Hyacinth (Saint Paul)
Hyacinth (Saint Paul)
Gift Card
$10-200
The best restaurant in the Twin Cities, and that descriptor doesn’t nearly do it justice. Hyacinth has a revolving seasonal menu of constant home runs and with a great service experience to match.
Women’s Aldridge Parka Black Label by Canada Goose
Canada Goose
Women’s Aldridge Parka Black Label
$1,395
Abby’s Choice—The jacket has straps, so you can take it off and wear it as a backpack if you become too warm indoors. This is a heavily insulated jacket, and this is mostly appropriate for very cold climates.
Wear-Ever Eighth Size 16 Gauge 6 1/2" x 9 1/2" Curled Rim, No Wire Aluminum Bun / Sheet by Vollrath
Vollrath
Wear-Ever Eighth Size 16 Gauge 6 1/2" x 9 1/2" Curled Rim, No Wire Aluminum Bun / Sheet
$4.37
Buy dozens, use them as spoon rests, for baking little things, ingredient prep, and making little fruit leathers. And if you don’t already have a quarter sheet and cooling rack pair, remedy that.
USDA Prime Dry-Aged Bone-in Rib Steak by Lobel’s of New York
Lobel’s of New York
USDA Prime Dry-Aged Bone-in Rib Steak
$109.95 (24oz), $122.95 (28oz)
An absolutely incredible rib steak with ideal marbling and a deep dry-aged flavor. Lobel’s also offers an American wagyu rib steak, which is wet aged for two weeks and is intensely flavorful. And for those that prefer porterhouses, there are phenomenal USDA Prime porterhouse steaks available.
Men’s Service Boot Black Chromexcel by Viberg Boot
Viberg Boot
Men’s Service Boot Black Chromexcel
$710
Yes, these are nicer than Red Wings.
Bread knife by MAC Superior
MAC Superior
Bread knife
$89.95
Better than the worthless bread knife from the knife block that you got as a wedding gift. Stop mangling great bread with that garbage knife, and get a real bread knife (this one). This is a right-handed knife, but it works well for left-handed users.
Beurre de Baratte by Rodolphe Le Meunier
Rodolphe Le Meunier
Beurre de Baratte
$8.79
It’s embossed with a cow, and it’s almost cheeselike in its buttery intensity. A butter to remember forever.
Mineral B Round Carbon Steel Fry Pan by DeBuyer
DeBuyer
Mineral B Round Carbon Steel Fry Pan
$74.95 (10.2-Inch), $99.95 (12.6-Inch)
Lighter than cast iron, a smoother cooking surface, and faster to heat up. Great at searing steaks, and easy to hang for storage. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for initial seasoning. Size appropriately for the burner—you will have optimal results if the pan’s cooking surface is roughly the same size as the burner.
Cabot Clothbound by Jasper Hill Farm
Jasper Hill Farm
Cabot Clothbound
$12 (6oz), $32 (one pound), $120 (1/8 wheel), $225 (1/4 wheel)
A natural-rind cheddar that’s aged in lard and wrapped in cloth for 10-13 months.
Slotted Turner Left Hand by Lamson Sharp
Lamson Sharp
Slotted Turner Left Hand
$28.49
Enable the lefty in your life to easily flip intensely seared foods and fish. Not intended for use by right-handed people.
Donation by JBI International
JBI International
Donation
$36+
Formerly known as the Jewish Braille Institute, JBI International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing Braille, large print, and audiobook publications throughout the world, with an emphasis on Jewish texts.
Midnight Moon by Cypress Grove
Cypress Grove
Midnight Moon
$27 (one pound)
A Gouda-like six-month aged goat milk cheese.
Original Cast Iron Seasoning Oil & Conditioner by Crisbee Stik
Crisbee Stik
Original Cast Iron Seasoning Oil & Conditioner
$14.95
It’s pricey, but it’s the best seasoning fat I’ve ever used, and in an extremely convenient form. Store it far away from your deodorant, trust me.
Burrata by Liuzzi
Liuzzi
Burrata
$8.99 (Two 8oz balls)
A great cow’s milk burrata, with a tender fresh mozzarella outer and creamy stracciatella center.
The Control °Freak by Polyscience
Polyscience
The Control °Freak
$1,490
An incredible cooktop for cooking confit, braising food, making Hollandaise sauce, or just cooking broccolis carefree while you’re wildly distracted and ignoring what’s on the stove at a cool and steady 225°F.
Gift Certificate by Grow & Behold
Grow & Behold
Gift Certificate
$100+
While I missed out on it, this glatt kosher butcher’s brisket got rave reviews from my family. They’re a rare source of kosher 30-day dry-aged rib roasts, rib steaks, and really, beef navel, the cut traditionally used to make pastrami, is extremely difficult to find, kosher or not, which is why brisket is such a common substitute. Kosher meat is generally relatively expensive, and this is the high-end of kosher meat—I would err toward the generous side if purchasing a gift card for a kosher-keeping recipient.
8” x 4” Solid Turner with Oversize Straight Blade and Wood Handle (Giant Dads Spatula) by Dexter Russell
Dexter Russell
8” x 4” Solid Turner with Oversize Straight Blade and Wood Handle (Giant Dads Spatula)
$6.37
A versatile spatula to be used in a variety of tasks such as, removing pizzas from their pans, removing lasagnas from their pans, removing baked zitis from their pans, removing eggplant parmesans from the pans, and also removing other dishes from their pans. Also great for reheating individual slices of pizza on a stone. You can also purchase a nylon perforated alternative, which works well with non-stick surfaces.
Steak by Richard Eaglespoon
Richard Eaglespoon
Steak
Priceless
An article on how to make incredible steaks at home with the specific advice to dry brine your meat, and yes, you absolutely should dry brine all of the beef recommended in this guide, and that’s especially true for any rib roasts.
Prima 3 Pump pressure sprayer 3L by Gloria
Gloria
Prima 3 Pump pressure sprayer 3L
$25
It features a brass spray lance, so it’s ideal for popping into a deck oven to quickly generate large amounts of steam. This is not for home oven use, and a basic spray bottle works well in that case.
Fior di Latte by Caputo Brothers Creamery
Caputo Brothers Creamery
Fior di Latte
$11 (8oz ball)
A great fresh mozzarella with a buttery tang made from cow’s milk with some buffalo milk blended in, and this is easily the most flavorful fresh mozzarella that I’ve ever had. Be sure to pick up some provola and pepperoni along with it. Their Fior di Pizza aged mozzarella is a phenomenal cheese too, but it’s a pricey aged mozzarella with which to fall in love. Caputo Brothers also produces an excellent traditional Italian-style whey-based ricotta.
13" Fry Pan by Blu Skillet Ironware
Blu Skillet Ironware
13" Fry Pan
$360
An incredible handmade carbon steel skillet. The handle ergonomics make the pan extremely maneuverable. I suggest entering Blu Skillet’s monthly lotteries or trying to grab a pan during their annual sale.
Pepperoni by Salumeria Biellese
Salumeria Biellese
Pepperoni
$10
A half-pound portion of the world’s greatest pepperoni. And no, it won’t cup—this is a pepperoni for everything from New York-style pizza slices to hoagies. Also available in a whole-stick format.
Extra Big & Loud Timer by Thermoworks
Thermoworks
Extra Big & Loud Timer
$33
Because microwave and oven timers are junk. Comes with magnets on the back so you can stick it on a magnetic surface.
Zippy Sauce by Famous Lunch
Famous Lunch
Zippy Sauce
$7.25 (Pint), $11.75 (Quart)
The famous sauce used on what most are calling the greatest hot dog on the planet. Add a splash of water before reheating, and freeze any excess in single-serving portions. Pairs well with a great pork hot dog. Do not use a beef hot dog with this sauce. Top your hot dog with a yellow mustard and finely diced white onion. Call (518) 272-9481 to place an order.
Christopher Kimball Signature Timer by Thermoworks
Thermoworks
Christopher Kimball Signature Timer
$39
I was required to have a timer affixed to me after I developed a habit of leaving several Extra Big & Loud Timers ringing unanswered. This timer can be set with two alarms—if you need three timers, the TimeStick Trio works well, but the Trio is not nearly as convenient and responsive as the Christopher Kimball Signature Timer.
Pecans and Hard White Peanuts by Heggy’s
Heggy’s
Pecans and Hard White Peanuts
$14 (1lb pecans), $5.25 (1lb peanuts),
Abby’s Choice—Give the gift of freshly roasted pecans and peanuts from Canton, Ohio.
Livenza Deep Fryer with Easy Clean System by De’Longhi
De’Longhi
Livenza Deep Fryer with Easy Clean System
$159
Do not burden your friends and family with a deep fryer, and really you shouldn’t even burden anyone with a Whirley Pop—stop imposing your will and wasting away the precious counter and cabinet space of the people in your life. With that in mind, this is more of a recommendation for the idea of a deep fryer rather than a recommendation for a specific deep fryer. If you want to make and eat fried food, this is the only path to that end.
California Reserve Dry Aged Boneless Ribeye Roast by Flannery Beef
Flannery Beef
California Reserve Dry Aged Boneless Ribeye Roast
$140 (4lbs), $210 (6lbs), $280 (8lbs), $350 (10lbs)
An incredible rib roast dry aged for 30-35 days, Flannery’s California Reserve meat comes from California Holstein, a breed of generally used for dairy production. Be sure to dry-brine your roast, and really, all of your beef, for maximal results. Excellent individual California Reserve Holstein and Midwestern Angus rib steaks, porterhouses and other cuts available. For those who are drawn to exceptionally large ribeye caps, their famous California Reserve Jorge cut rib steak is a must try. And mismatched filet mignon are great to throw into any order.
Atlas 150 Aluminum Pasta Maker by Marcato
Marcato
Atlas 150 Aluminum Pasta Maker
$84.95
Buy the traditionally extruded pasta shapes; make the traditionally fresh shapes with this pasta maker. While you can make fresh pasta without any maker at all, this is significantly more convenient and enables much more consistent results. Also, this is as good of a time as any to tell you this: use semola rimacinata flour for most applications that might demand semolina flour—the coarse semolina flour that you’d get at the grocery store is great, but only for dusting pizza peels.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Frescobaldi Laudemio
Frescobaldi Laudemio
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
$27.95 (250ml), $44.95 (500ml)
Rich and peppery. Comes in a box, so you can safely store it away and observe its greenish beauty when the occasion arises.
LIÈGE Waffle Iron by HVD
HVD
LIÈGE Waffle Iron
$2700
If you want to make Liège waffles, the Cuisinart Belgian waffle iron will not work, nor will any any other Bed, Bath and Beyond-ish Belgian waffle maker that a publication lists as their Belgian waffle iron pick—they’re all comparatively trash. The HVD is the best there is. Comes in 110- and 240-volt configurations, and there’s a propane variant.
Donation by The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project
Donation
$30+
The Trevor Project is dedicated to stopping suicide among young LGBTQ people, and they operate The Trevor Line suicide prevention services operated by trained counselors through phone, text, and a live chat. The Trevor Project also contributes significantly to LGBTQ research and advocacy.
26 pc. All Milk Toffee by Bridgewater Chocolate
Bridgewater Chocolate
26 pc. All Milk Toffee
$44.95
Abby’s Choice—Probably the best hard toffees in the world. And the crunchy peanut butter cups are excellent too.
Thermapen ONE by Thermoworks
Thermoworks
Thermapen ONE
$105
The best instant-read thermometer that you’re going to find. A lower-cost ThermoPop is also available, with the same reliability and build quality, but a different form factor and slower response time.
Pistachio Cream Spread by Marco Colzani
Marco Colzani
Pistachio Cream Spread
$24.50
Abby’s Choice—Think Nutella, but much higher quality, chocolateless, and made with pistachio instead of hazelnut. So not really like Nutella at all, but you get the idea. This is very likely the secret ingredient to many pistachio-based desserts.
The Original Whirley-Pop by Wabash Valley Farms
Wabash Valley Farms
The Original Whirley-Pop
$27.74
Great for making popcorn at home. Be very careful when operating this popper, as you can burn yourself with the escaping steam when pouring out the popped popcorn. Comes in a stainless steel variant for induction cooktops. Pairs well with Mega Pop packs, which include popcorn, coconut oil, and salt. Note, if you are coming up with your own popcorn recipe or supplementing packs, regular salt is inappropriate for popcorn, and micronized salt is a requirement. And regardless of whether you buy the packs or come up with your own recipe, butter-flavored topper is a critical post-pop addition.
AMERICAN WAGYU BLACK GRADE - NEW YORK STRIP END CUT by Snake River Farms
Snake River Farms
AMERICAN WAGYU BLACK GRADE - NEW YORK STRIP END CUT
$35
Maybe the best value in high-end steaks. The end cut comes with a bit of connective tissue, which makes some people think it’s a lesser cut, but the connective tissue is hardly even a hiccup, and this end cut strip steak has a really phenomenal flavor. Snake River Farm’s short ribs are also excellent for smoking, and it can be a profoundly difficult cut to find done properly.
Pro Skillet by Blanc Creatives
Blanc Creatives
Pro Skillet
$210 (9"), $250 (11")
Fantastic artisan-made carbon steel skillet. Great wall design for searing and butter basting meats. Hang it so you can show off to your friends how fancy your life is.
Ribeye Steaks by Sher Wagyu
Sher Wagyu
Ribeye Steaks
$111.96 (two 12oz steaks)
A Wagyu, Angus and Holstein crossbreed, Sher’s Australian Wagyu is more similar to Japanese wagyu than American wagyu. An excellent steak, and each 12-ounce steak could serve two given its intense richness.
Carbon Steel Chef’s Knife by Kramer by Zwilling
Kramer by Zwilling
Carbon Steel Chef’s Knife
$349.95 (8-inch), $399.95 (10-inch)
A carbon steel Western-style chef’s knife. Great handle ergonomics and blade profile, which is ideal for rock-chopping.
DRY AGED HAND SELECT GROUND BEEF by DeBragga
DeBragga
DRY AGED HAND SELECT GROUND BEEF
$24.75 (Two, One Pound Packs)
A 75%-lean ground beef with a strong dry-aged flavor.
DOT Simple Alarm Thermometer by Thermoworks
Thermoworks
DOT Simple Alarm Thermometer
$45.00
A simple, accurate, and reliable leave-in thermometer. If you need a low-temperature alarm, that is, an alarm that tells you when the temperature of your food has cooled to a certain temperature, spend the extra $20 on a ChefAlarm.
XXL Milk Gianduja Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts by La Molina
La Molina
XXL Milk Gianduja Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts
$24.75
Abby’s Choice—The hazelnut-embedded chocolate that dreams are made of.
Bagel Boards by Breadtopia
Breadtopia
Bagel Boards
$39
Bagel dough is a low-to-mid 50s hydration dough made with high-gluten flour, and the dough is salt, instant yeast, water, and maybe a dash of barley malt syrup. Shape the bagels by forming a rope with tapered ends, and form a ring and roll over the joined ends with your palm. Goyim will shape their bagels by making a ball and poking a hole with their finger—don’t do that—it’s the bagel equivalent of cutting a NY-style pizza dough into a circle to mitigate your own incompetence. Proof the shaped bagels in your fridge for a day or two—I store mine uncovered on a semolina coated baking sheet. Boil the bagels, straight from the fridge, in water with malt syrup, drop in a container of everything bagel seasoning, if you want that, and place on a water-soaked bagel board, topping side down. Bake the bagels on their boards, on a baking stone, for several minutes, and flip the boards to cook what was previously the tops of the bagels directly on the stone.
Hoagie Roll by Richard Eaglespoon
Richard Eaglespoon
Hoagie Roll
Priceless
An article on how to make professional quality hoagie rolls at home. Make a bunch and give them to your friends and family, or just send someone the link to the article as an inexpensive last minute gift.
8" Heavy-Duty Cleaver by Dexter-Russell
Dexter-Russell
8" Heavy-Duty Cleaver
$44.81
Surprisingly useful cleaver. Great for parsing poultry, breaking up chocolate, crushing things, and cutting into gourds.
Optima Mortadella by Leoncini
Leoncini
Optima Mortadella
$9.99 (16oz)
Optima is one of the dozen varieties of mortadella produced by Leoncini. I was team it’s just bologna until I bought a pound of Optima at Kowalski’s in a fit of desperation. I sliced it as thinly as possible on my deli slicer, and I found that not only did I love it in a hoagie, I enjoyed eating the Optima for the sake of itself. Pairs well with my seeded hoagie roll, Caputo Brothers provola, Salumeria Biellese Pepperoni, iceberg lettuce, white onion, banana peppers, and a Dijonaise made with a great Dijon of your choosing.
Countertop Pizza Ovens by PizzaMaster
PizzaMaster
Countertop Pizza Ovens
More than you'd hope
PizzaMaster makes commercial deck ovens, and some of their models, namely the countertop models, can potentially be used in a home when built for 240V single-phase wiring. These are large ovens; my PM 551ED with a 21-inch deck is deeper than a typical home countertop. This oven is a tool, albeit, a top-tier professional one, and it is not a replacement for research and practice, as opposed to the belief of many buyers of consumer-grade pizza ovens. If an oven was all it took to make great pizza, every Whole Foods in the country would be doing it with their PizzaMasters, and they are not. Contact Forza for a quote, do not ask me.
Hot Dog Bun, Poppy Seed Mary Ann, 8 Count by S. Rosen’s Baking Company
S. Rosen’s Baking Company
Hot Dog Bun, Poppy Seed Mary Ann, 8 Count
$2.97
Give your loved one the gift of poppy-seeded buns for Chicago-style hot dogs.
EDGE12-11 12" Manual Meat Slicer by Hobart
Hobart
EDGE12-11 12" Manual Meat Slicer
$1,499
Spare no expense or concern for space on a deli slicer for the one who matters most in your life. Or don’t, and get a smaller and significantly cheaper BESWOOD slicer. The numbers on the thickness dial of mine faded away seemingly overnight, which was devastating, but besides that it’s fine. I drew on different but equally nice numbers with a JB Prince Sharpie.
Buns by Martin’s Potato Rolls
Martin’s Potato Rolls
Buns
Priceless
The greatest gifts are the intangibles. This holiday season, surprise your loved ones in the Twin Cities by requesting Martin’s Potato Rolls (including Big Marty’s) be stocked at Kowalski’s, Lunds and Byerlys, Cub Foods, and Hy-Vee lest they be doomed to buy the buns online and have a freezer full of Martin’s.
Sani-Tuff Rubber Cutting Board (9 x 12 inches) by NoTrax
NoTrax
Sani-Tuff Rubber Cutting Board (9 x 12 inches)
$63.80
The price has nearly doubled in recent years, but if a villain came to my home and put all of mine in the dishwasher and ruined them, I would immediately buy them at this outragous price. They’re great cutting boards that won’t prematurely dull your knives and they’re easy to store. Do not put this in your dishwasher ever. I might be able to help you restore them if you do, but don’t do it, I will be extremely angry if you do it and contact me asking for help. Do not put this in the dishwasher.
Donation by Honor the Earth
Honor the Earth
Donation
$10+
Honor the Earth is a Minnesota-based non-profit organization focused on Indigenous environmental justice, and stands as a major force in the Stop Line 3 protests against the construction of Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline that would run crude oil through northern Minnesota’s watersheds and the land of the 1837, 1854, and 1855 Ojibwe treaties, and the pipeline stands to threaten the Leech Lake Indian Reservation, the Red Lake Indian Reservation, and the White Earth Indian Reservation.
Calabrian Chili Paste Bomba di Calabria by Italian Harvest
Italian Harvest
Calabrian Chili Paste Bomba di Calabria
$9.95
Mix it with mayo to make a great calabrian mayo; throw some into a pasta sauce for a little bit of complexity and heat; eat it with a spoon, or don’t—your loss. And when all you need is oil, there’s a Calabrian chili oil.
Cannoli by Maria’s Pastry Shop
Maria’s Pastry Shop
Cannoli
$45
Maria’s Pastry Shop of Boston’s North End is closed. You cannot buy a cannolo from Maria’s now, nor will you ever be able to do so again. But Maria’s cannoli are the best cannoli, and your loved ones deserve the best. Order a different Boston cannoli (Modern Pastry is not remotely a sufficient replacement), and be sure the recipient knows that you really wanted to buy them Maria’s but that you could not—they’re worth it.
Hot Rings in Vinegar by Oliverio
Oliverio
Hot Rings in Vinegar
$10 (3 Pack of 16oz), $25 (12 Pack of 16oz)
This is the source of my secret pickled banana peppers that I put on my Italian hoagies and my sausage, peppers, and pepperoni Sicilian-style pizza.



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Tried and tested by the Richard Eaglespoon team, or not, but still pretty good too.

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