Gift Tip #6 - Lou Malnati's Pizza from Chicago. 1-800-LOU-TOGO. Every time we visit my sister in Naperville we go to one of their restaurants for their tremendous deep-dish pizzas. And we're not the only ones who love these monstrosities - Tom Fleming, a Chicago native, cofirmed to me that Malnati's is his "must go to" place when visiting the Windy City. All pizzas are frozen, flown overnight air and packed with dry ice in a styrofoam cooler. We've been on the giving and receiving end of this gift and it is a wonderful New Years day meal.
Gift Tip #7 - Subscription to Gastronomica Magazine. Subtitled "The Journal of Food and Culture", it contains minimal advertising, great articles and is published quarterly. For all the reasons I didn't like AoE, I love this publication, I thought the cover was an orchid - it's popcorn. Not cheap at $13 per copy (one year is $48) but any foodie would love this gift. All you need is the most recent copy (Fall '08) and a note to let them know a full year of enjoyment is ahead. I purchased one copy (for me) at Central Market, and another copy (gift for a friend) at Barnes & Noble (but I bought the last copy at the Prestonwood location - don't go there).
Gift Tip #8 - For the oenophile foodie friend, a bottle of Fuqua Winery's 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon. How cool is it that right down at Lemmon and Inwood, behind the Home Depot, Dallas has it's own winery that produces some great red wines - gifts with stories are so much more interesting. Their Red Table wine is sold at The Mercury, and retails at the winery for $50 per bottle. I prefer their '02 Cab, it's a more moderate $29 per bottle and the flavors hit my sweet spots.