Monday, December 8, 2008

2008 Christmas Gifts: Gifts for Your Host

For your shopping pleasure, I present gift ideas for your December party hosts. All suggestions can be found in and around Logan Circle.

Food, particularly sweets, is a classic gift to one's host. Fortunately, we have an abundance of treats in the neighborhood.

Chocolate lovers like myself rejoiced when ACKC opened a year ago. If you're looking for a host gift, I recommend the traditional box of truffles. The staff there can suggest selections or you can make your own assortment. Also available are baked goods from cookies to cakes, which you can take as a dessert offering at the next dinner party.

Artfully Chocolate Kingsbury Confections
1529 14th Street, NW

More fine chocolate can be had at Locolat, a Belgian chocolatier unfairly located in the same building as the Mint gym. A delectable menu is available on their website.

1781 Florida Avenue, NW (near the intersection of 18th Street, U Street, and Florida Avenue)

If you prefer your chocolate baked or desserts without any chocolate at all, you may like the ever-popular Cake Love. This bakery has earned cheers and jeers. Cakes and cupcakes are dense -- they even feel heavy when you hold them. The flavor comes out best when they are served at room temperature, but they take almost as long to thaw as the Christmas turkey. The drier cakes are complemented by the butteriest of slightly sweet buttercream frostings that nearly melt as the cakes warm. Cakes are priced from $40 to $175, depending on size. Delivery is available for another $18 to $45 depending on location.

Cake Love
1506 U Street, NW

The couture cupcake trend is apparently alive and well. Skip Krispy Kreme and head across Connecticut Avenue at Dupont Circle to the new Hello Cupcake for your holiday desserts. Each day of the week, Monday through Saturday, the available flavors vary, but there are always 12 to 14 options baked daily, including vegetarian and vegan recipes. Cupcakes I am dying to try include chocolate with peppermint frosting, the peanut butter and banana Velvet Elvis, and the Mexican chocolate inspired cupcake with a cinamon and chili kick.

Hello Cupcake
1351 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Chocolate Moose, a Dupont resident for an age, has a number of good sweet treats. You can get the classics there, such as Leonidas chocolates, but also some fun candies like swirlie lolipops, Swedish fish, and caramel cubes. Moose will put together a gift bag with your guidance and then ship or courier it wherever you please, a good option if you want to send a gift to your host after an event.

Chocolate Moose
1743 L Street, NW

The classic baked goods at Firehook, 1909 Q Street, NW, and Marvelous Market, 1511 Connecticut Avenue are also worth a gander.

Serving Ware:
If you're bring food along to a party, consider bringing it on/in a piece of serving ware given as a gift to your host.

Miss Pixie's Furnishings and Whatnot has had some very attractive crystal items in the window lately. Check in weekly and act quickly to buy your favorites as the inventory changes over rapidly.

Miss Pixie's Furnishings and Whatnot
1626 14th Street, NW

Reincarnations has fabulous serving ware, decorative plates, and barware. The colors are bright and the patterns are fun.

Reincarnations Furniture
1401 14th Street, NW

Home Rule's inventory of kitchen and home goods is fun and affordable. Cheese-lovers may like the three-piece satin finish cheese knife set. Elegant serving platters and bowls in neutral colors are always available. If you prefer something more quirky, bring your food contribution on a plate decorated with a robot.

Home Rule
1807 14th Street, NW

Go Mama Go has an abundance of glazed ceramic dinner plates and sushi accessories. Finishes and patterns range from crackled glazes, floral designs, and subtle matte solids.

Go Mama Go
1809 14th Street, NW

Flowers on 14th makes fantastic arrangements. You can walk in or call ahead for pick up or delivery. The quality is far far better than what you would get if you allowed FTD to farm out your order.

Flowers on 14th
1718 14th Street, NW

Consider a live plant as a gift. Christmas classics include, of course, papperwhite, amaryllis, and poinsettias. If you're an overachiever, grab a small Christmas tree from Garden District and decorate it. (Miss Pixie's has some great glass ornaments in the window.) Plants that will endure past the holidays are also a good idea. Orchids can be easier to keep than you may think and complement many decorating styles. Succulents are as easy to care for as cacti, come in unusual shapes and textures, and look great in a modern home.

Garden District
1520 14th Street, NW

Whole Foods and Trader Joe's also sell seasonal live plants.

Clean Up:
At the end of any event comes the ugly clean up. Make it a little more pleasant with Caldrea's wonderful cleaning products from Home Rule. Available are orignal scents that won't overwhelm pleasant cooking smells. Some of the exotic combinations are ginger pomelo, lavender pine, and basil blue sage. All wrapped up in gorgeous packaging are household basics like dishwashing powder, stainless steel cleaner, and home fragrance.

Home Rule
1807 14th Street, NW

Logan Hardware carries Mrs. Meyers cleaning products, which are unique and upscale without being quite as expensive as the Caldrea line. Scents include basil, lavender, lemon verbena, and geranium. Gifts to consider are dish soap, counter top spray, surface wipes, hand soap, and lotion.

Logan Hardware
1416 P Street, NW

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A friend of a friend owns Hello Cupcake--fantastic cupcakes, best in the city.