Northside SF  

October '09

The Kitchenless Cook’s Fab Five holiday gift guide
By Bil Knutson

When I start my holiday shopping, the items I want for myself usually distract me. And often I have ended up buying myself a gift before I can even begin to concentrate on what to buy for my family and friends. This year I have solved that problem by window shopping for my readers and sharing with you some items I would buy for myself.

This is a home version of a wine system I have seen at many wine bars and restaurants. The stylish cabinet holds three bottles of your favorite wines and will chill each to the proper serving temperature. Skybar’s vacuum technology gives you the freedom to open that special bottle of wine tonight and have just one glass. By keeping out the oxygen, most wines will retain their original character up to 10 days. $999.99; 888-759-2279,; Sur La Table stores.

Nespresso Citiz automatic espresso maker with Aeroccino Plus automatic milk frother

This is the perfect espresso machine for anyone who needs that quick caffeine blast before leaving the house in the morning. The quality of the coffee in the prefilled pods combined with the proper amount of water pressure provided by this stylish machine, the Aeroccino will make a cappuccino as good as any cafe in Rome. $349; 800-562-1465,; Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table stores

Boccalone salami gift boxes
Any place whose motto is “Tasty Salted Pig Parts” will always be near and dear to my heart. When Chef Chris Cosentino found that he was overwhelming the Incanto restaurant kitchen with his cured meats, he decided to move to a new location, and thus Boccalone was born. The meats are cured in Oakland and sold through their retail store in the Ferry Building. Choose a sampler gift box of fennel or peppered salami or one that contains two salamis, a jar of their stoneground mustard, and a Tasty Salted Pig Parts T-shirt. $25–$52; 415-433-6500,; Boccalone Salumeria, Ferry Building Marketplace, One Ferry Building (at Embarcadero)

On the Line by Eric Ripert and Avec Eric season 1 DVD
Through the years, I have gained an appreciation of Eric Ripert’s style and personality, which was bolstered earlier this year when I had an opportunity to speak with him. At the time, I picked up his book with an expectation that it would be filled with recipes and photos to drool over, but I was gratefully surprised to find so much more. The book brings the story of Ripert’s restaurant Le Bernadin to life, showing you all the elements necessary to open and maintain a world-class restaurant. The DVD contains all 10 episodes of his new PBS series, Avec Eric, along with a recipe booklet of all the dishes shown on the show. $39.99; 800-536-4670,; On the Line available separately in limited supply at Northside independent bookstores

Floral arrangement from Vbkirk Flowers and Events
Often when I am stumped for a gift, I will give a plant or a floral arrangement. I recently discovered the Hayes Valley studios of Vbkirk Flowers and the artistry of owner Elizabeth Van Buskirk. Her artful arrangements are the ideal gifts to brighten the table of any holiday party. Give her a call or visit her studio and she will work with your ideas to create a one-of-a-kind bouquet that will thrill you. From $60; 227 Fell Street (near Franklin), 415-558-8978 (hours vary, so call ahead),


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