I've always been partial to bourbon and Scotch as prezzies and balm, but this year Saveur did a couple of great articles on up-and-coming artisan spirits, namely single-malt Irish whiskeys, and small-batch Reposado mezcals. Bring their meticulous tasting notes (here for the whiskeys, and here for mezcals) to your local upscale purveyor of booze, and help your friends warm their bones with spirits they're unlikely to have tried before.
For the Hungry New Yawka:
Some folks aren't partial to narrative cookbooks. Or cussing. Or pancake profanity. You shouldn't give these people Kenny Shopsin's memoir/cookbook, aptly titled Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin (Hardcover, $16.47). It's a priceless read, with quirky photos, rants, recipes and anecdotes from arguably NY's most feared and respected king of the flat-top.
Not only does Kenny get into the strategy behind running a 900-item
menu with a tiny kitchen, he is ruthlessly personal, sharing all about
how his family grew up with Shopin's General Store, allowing us a peek into an
insider's Village. What works about the book is Kenny's conflicted narrative: He loves, loves his life's work, the food he's made, the people he's met--he wants to tell you all about it. But he's not telling you to come-on-down. The man is the abrasive (but loving) curator for a 12-seat fiefdom, and he'll cook for who he pleases, when he pleases, thank you.
Not everyone has the guff to face Shopsin and his vetting, but fortunately, all are welcome at Veselka, day or night. I could go on and on about the justly famous bloody burger, pierogi, stuffed cabbage and borscht--but that would lead me away from shilling their newly released Veselka Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from the Landmark Restaurant in New York's East Village (Hardcover, $18.47 on Amazon).
Besides teaching us how to make hearty Ukrainian staples for ourselves, it sheds a light on a diner that most drunken Village-rompers take for granted, a 50-year-old venture of an immigrant family that started as a candy store and blossomed into a cultural touchstone. The cookbook can't replicate the experience of eating blintzes next to off-duty drag queens, but what can, really?
MORE!!! MORE GIFTS!!
- Holiday Gift Guide Realness, 2009: Naughty-n-Nice
- Stuff It, Stockings: Emergency Effing Presents!
- A Very Queso Christmas, Part 1: Jasper Hill Farm
- A Very Queso Christmas, Part 2: Old Chatham Sheepherding Co.
- A Very Queso Christmas, Part 3: The Cowgirl Creamery
Shopsin's General Store
Essex Street Market
120 Essex St
At Delancey St
Lower East Side (LES)
NYC, NY 10002
Tuesday - Friday: 9 AM - 3 PM
Saturday: 9:30 AM - 2 PM
No photos. No cell phones. No takeout. One order per person.
144 2nd Ave
Btwn 9th St & St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003