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City slickers can get all the tasty benefits of an indoor herb garden with these self-watering planters.
City slickers can get all the tasty benefits of an indoor herb garden with these self-watering planters.

DISH

Hungry for the holidays Add to ...

And on the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me … the Dish’s annual holiday gift guide. Stuck for inspiration? We hope this list of nice and naughty local culinary products and services will help you stuff the stockings of all the foodies on your list.

 

A Patch in a planter box

 

It wouldn’t be Christmas in B.C. without the smell of fresh bud wafting from the windowsill. Just kidding – these herbs are grown for eating. Made of recycled materials and designed for urban dwellers, the pretty indoor gardening containers ($40 to $60) can be collapsed into an envelope or delivered fully assembled in Greater Vancouver. With an idiot-proof, self-watering irrigation system, they’ll provide year-round mint and arugula for even the most challenged green thumb. For every Patch bought online, another will donated to a classroom through the non-profit Growing Chef’s program. Letspatch.com

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Two Bittered Sling extracts

 

This new line of bitters from Vancouver’s Kale & Nori Culinary Arts has quickly become a favourite among craft bartenders (and me). Infused with wild botanicals and blended like fine Bordeaux, the concentrated potions ($25 for 120 ml at thecraftybartender.com) are designed for both cocktails and cooking. (I love using a few drops to kick up plain old orange juice.) Try sweet, ruby-red Suius Cherry to add festive colour to brandy or a few dashes of warmly spiced Western Elderberry in turkey glaze. For a complete list of retailers, kaleandnori.com

Three Culver City salads

 

Desk jockeys on a health kick will eat up these massive, scrumptious vegan salads. If ordered at least a day in advance, they’ll be delivered in time for lunch to any cubicle or home office in downtown, Gastown and Kitsilano. The colourful entrees, stacked high with such goodies as pickled ginger, roasted yams, smoked tofu and shredded beets, are composed around one of three starches: quinoa, soba noodle or brown rice ($12.50 each). Gift certificates and ordering, culvercitysalads.com

Four pounds of Natural Champions Perfect Pulled Pork

 

If four pounds of back bacon was good enough for Bob and Doug McKenzie, 454 grams of slow-smoked pulled pork will surely delight the hoser on your list. Created by Southern-style barbecue champions Rockin’ Ronnie Shewchuk and Denzel Sandberg and locally made with B.C. pork, the pre-sauced packages ($20 at gourmet shops across the Lower Mainland) come in two hickory-licked flavours: Kansas City Style and Southwestern Red. Meaty and tender, it’s the best commercial pulled pork I’ve ever tried. And it’s so easy to prepare – just boil in the bag and slap on a bun. For a full list of retailers, ronshewchuk.com

Five Save-On-Meats meal tokens

 

Give the gift that keeps on feeding. The latest social enterprise from Save-On-Meats’s Mark Brand (who persuaded Arlene Dickinson to invest in his Downtown Eastside butcher shop and diner on a recent episode of CBC’s Big Decision) is a $2.25 meal token. Give them to panhandlers, who can exchange them for a hot breakfast sandwich available all day at the restaurant’s takeout window. Save-On-Meats: 43 West Hastings St., Vancouver, saveonmeats.ca

Six bottles of Moon Curser’s Dead of Night a-howling

 

Nerdy oenophiles crave the obscure. And there’s probably no Okanagan wine more original than Moon Curser’s Dead of Night ($38). Dark with notes of prune and pepper, the tannat-syrah blend is aged in French and Hungarian oak barriques. Tannat? It’s a highly tannic, noble French varietal, now the national grape of Uruguay. Osoyoos’s Moon Curser was the first B.C. vineyard to plant the variety. And as far as I can decipher, this is the only tannat grown in Canada. Mooncurser.com

Seven Cocolico salted butter

caramels a-melting (in the mouth)

 

I miss many dishes from Lumière during its days under Rob Feenie. Wendy Boys’s petit fours rank right up there with the five-spice duck consommé. The local chocolatier extraordinaire recently launched Cocolico. Her small-batch chocolates and fine dessert sauces are sold online (cocolico.ca) and can be found at retailers and restaurants around the Lower Mainland. But her seasonal specialties – salted butter caramels and Mother-in-Law’s pan forte (a dense, fruity, nutty traditional Italian confection) are available only at specialty markets. If you’re in Vancouver this weekend, get thee to the Object + Handmade sale. Maai living, 157 West Hastings St., www.facebook.com/ObjectHandmade

And Edible Canada’s “PeeGate” stickman

 

It’s bad enough that men and women have to share bathrooms at home. This new trend of co-ed bathrooms in public is downright annoying. Last summer, the Granville Island restaurant Edible Canada became an Internet cause célèbre when its unisex bathroom art – a tongue-in-cheek drawing of a stickman standing over a

toilet with a red line slashed across it – went viral. You can now buy your own piece of this infamous etiquette memorabilia ($8.95) through Edible Canada’s retail store. There’s still no guarantee, however, that your dinner guests (or Santa) will put the seat down. Edible Canada, 1596 Johnston St., Vancouver, ediblecanada.com

 

 

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