Thursday, November 15, 2012

from the desk of ICDC

Dear ICDC,

I'm surprised I've found the courage to write you, but I need help and can't ask any of my guy friends. This Thanksgiving, I'm going to my new girlfriend's home.  I need to bring a gift of some sort, but barely know my girlfriend's mother.  Could you help suggest something?  I'm so worried about bringing the wrong thing!  I also can't spend more than $50..

Hopeless Thanksgiving House Guest

Dear Hopeless Thanksgiving House Guest,

I'm so glad you wrote!  Here are a few things that are sure to please any girlfriend's mother, but which don't have to break the bank:

1. Wine
Even if you know nothing about wine, bring a bottle you've tasted in the past and enjoy.  If you can't think of one, or forgot the name, don't fear salesclerks - ask for recommendations (Addie Bassins on MacArthur or Pearson's on Wisconsin are the best).

In case you're totally stumped, here are a few affordable but amazing French options:

2009 Chateau Thieuley ($12)

2009 Chateau Sarget de Gruaud Larose ($25)

2009 Chateau Tronquoy Lalande - Wine Advocate gave it 91 points! ($38) 

And who doesn't love bubbly?  Grab a bottle of Veuve Cliquot (selling on average for $39) or Prosecco (get a bottle above $10).  Easy!

2. Gourmet pastries & really good coffee
Grab some Illy coffee and a box of macaroons, tarts or palmiers at Patisserie Poupon. ($25)

Or if you're in Old Town, stop by Misha's for a bag of Kenyan coffee or an Indonesian varietal.  ($20)

3. Hand soap or a candle
Stop by one of Blue Mercury's outposts for a bottle of Molton Brown's Naran Ji - ICDC's favorite ($28).  You can't go wrong with orange blossom oil and grapefruit extract!  Of course there are green tea and rose scents in addition to many others. 

If you want a fragrance for the whole home, pick up a candle instead.  Blue Mercury sells a variety from Dyptique ($60) to Nest's new Pine scent ($32).

4. Olive Oil & Modena Vinegar
Bring a fresh baguette and a bottle of olive oil and Modena balsamic vinegar.  This should pair nicely with any turkey meal or as a tasty snack.  Dean & Deluca has some wonderful options, but Whole Foods or Safeway also have decent bottles at approximately $15-20 each.

5.  Paperwhite bulbs
A very cost-effective option, bring a bag of paperwhite bulbs and a cache pot.  Johnson's or any Ace Hardware store is selling them for about 50 cents a bulb.  Grab 6-10.  No soil needed!

6.  Baggu bag
Very chic, very useful and very cost-effective: bring your hostess a Baggu bag.  Originally intended as a reusable shopping bag, these have proven much more useful - they can be thrown in a purse or luggage and pulled out whenever the need arises.  Some women, like ICDC, tend to buy more than they can carry..  ($7-12 each).

7.  Dining table ping-pong
For enlivening conversation after dinner!  If you're bold enough, think about bringing a fun gag-gift like this set ($29): 

Happy Turkey day!


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