Thursday, November 15, 2012
from the desk of 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:
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!