Not every New Yorker loves to do his or her holiday shopping in actual stores. There are the crowds (and escaping them), shopping bag schlepping and the whole braving-the-elements factor with which to contend. Switching on your laptop and clicking "order" can seem more appealing.
But this year, pavement pounding should be a joy, especially considering the bounty of new shops stocked with goods both edible and functional for the food lovers in your life.
We scoured the city to find the very best gifts for everyone on your list:
Beekman 1802 Holiday Emporium, East Village
The shop: Farmhouse charm meets EV grit at this monthlong pop-up from the Fabulous Beekman Boys, Upstate NY purveyors of delicious artisan goods. "We love the holidays in the city," Brent Ridge, one-half of the duo, says. "There's a special glow that comes out of the store windows, and this space just fits our aesthetic."
The goods: A selection of their signature rustic-chic, expertly crafted jarred edibles (jams, sauces, peanut butter), linens, tote bags, enamelware and cookware.
TT picks: The ridiculously moist Generous Fruit Cake ($28), studded with dried fruit and nuts and wrapped in brandy-soaked cheesecloth, puts all other versions to shame. This is a take on the holiday classic you may just want to keep for yourself (we won't call you a Scrooge for doing so). Cayenne-spiked goat's milk Mexican fudge sauce ($10.50) and vinegar-based drizzling sauces ($15) are no-brainer stocking stuffers, while the cook in your life will relish a signed copy of the boys' latest cookbook, The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook ($25).
T2 Tea, Soho
The shop: This compact corner shop is the first U.S. outpost for the Australian brand of loose-leaf teas. Picture a modern tea library, outfitted with floor-to-ceiling shelves housing more than 200 types of the sippable stuff, all packaged in vibrantly colored square boxes. A variety of hot samples will rescue you from the chill outside.
The goods: Tea blends both traditional (black, oolong, rooibos) and not, in flavors such as Strawberries and Cream and Red Choc Mint, as well as tea-brewing and serving gear.
TT picks: The whimsical Fruity Birdimal geometric tea set (individual pieces $24 to $73), done in splashy watercolors, is for the lady or gent who still appreciates a fine afternoon tea. Jet-setters can swig hot drinks on the go with mod Take Me Everywhere flasks ($26) in punchy colors. A "gift cube" of the New York Breakfast tea (a black tea blend; $13) and a mesh infuser with attached tea scoop ($14) will keep your favorite Gothamite caffeinated into 2015.
Home of the Brave, Greenpoint
The shop: Previously a pop-up, the sister housewares shop to Wolves Within has been in its permanent space on Franklin Street since November. The aesthetic? Great outdoors meets hipster meets the tiniest bit of kitsch.
The goods: Handcrafted pillows, throws, plant holders, kitchenwares and serving pieces with a rugged look.
TT picks: Brighten your favorite co-worker's day with a cutesy face mug ($35) from Brooklyn-based Small Spells, while a form-meets-function leather and copper basket ($250) will become a prized possession for the habitual market hopper.
Spin Ceramics, Soho
The shop: Pop into this quiet, cavernous shop on Crosby Street if you need a break from Soho's hustle and bustle. Sleek granite shelves house the brand's signature porcelain pieces that nod to the ancient Chinese art of pottery making while maintaining a modern aesthetic.
The goods: Everything from simple mugs and plates to playful vases, gorgeously detailed tea sets and minimalist serving platters.
TT picks: Who on your list could resist a sake set shaped like a Swiss roll ($120)? (Answer: no one.) For that friend who's always throwing dinner parties, pick up a vase that pays homage to the beauty of a humble garlic bulb ($140 to $180). And make no bones about giving the Archaeologist's Chopstick Rest set ($125 for eight pieces), in shapes of teeth, claws and, yes, bones.
Maille, Upper West Side
The shop: The first American outpost from the renowned maison of moutarde is all minimalist chic, with four metallic mustard-dispensing taps and shelves of all the Dijon you could desire.
The goods: 20 mustards; oils; vinegars; and rustic, elegant mustard serveware, such as stout stoneware jars and sleek wooden spoons.
TT picks: We're spreading the love for our favorite new mustard guy, err, mustard sommelier. On-site expert Pierette Huttner bounces from French to English fluidly and is happy to point you in the right direction. Walnut oil-laced mustard ($9 for 100-ml jar) packs a surprising nose-tingling punch and deserves a home in any stocking or ham sandwich. The mustard taps change seasonally, and right now they're pumping staff favorite Chablis white wine and black truffle mustard ($45 for 125-ml jar; $65 for 230-ml jar; $99 for 530-ml jar), and a zippy Sauternes mustard ($39 for 125-ml jar; $58 for 230-ml jar; $84 for 530-ml jar), both a welcome upgrade for the holiday charcuterie board.
The Filling Station, Midtown
The shop: Below the Rockefeller skating rink, you'll find this serene little emporium—and newest offshoot of the Chelsea Market original—stocking whimsical varieties of pantry workhorses oil, vinegar and salt.
The goods: Wall-to-wall stainless steel tanks flowing with the cold-pressed oils and 12- to 18-month-aged vinegars. Wooden tables are stacked with tiny jars of hand-harvested salts.
TT picks: One of the most delicious varieties we've sampled, the roasted sesame oil is buttery and fruity, not burned-tasting like the supermarket kind, and the perfect finish for quick stir-fried vegetables (or even instant ramen!), while the sherry reserva, aged in casks in Cádiz for nearly 25 years, is potent, fragrant and the best thing to happen to homemade vinaigrette (both $13 for 200-ml bottle; $17 for 375-ml bottle; $33 for 750-ml bottle; 10 percent off refills). Treat a kitchen maven to jars of espresso salt, perfect for rubbing into meat marinades or sprinkling atop brownies ($6 for two-oz jar; $10 for four-oz jar; 10 percent off refills).
Brigadeiro Bakery, Soho
The shop: Mariana Vieira brings her sweet, caramel-y Brazilian bonbon operation out of the basement of Cómodo restaurant and into a new airy, white-tiled shop of its own, complete with espressos.
The goods: Nearly 17 varieties of brigadeiros, soft, sticky balls of sweetened condensed milk, chocolate and butter, rolled in whatever Vieira's feeling at the moment.
TT picks: You can't go wrong with the Brazilian classics, rolled in chocolate sprinkles, coconut and almond slivers, but keep your eyes peeled for Vieira's seasonal, less authentic versions to hit the shelves ($5 for three; $10 for six; $20 for 12). This winter, she's tinkering with dulce de leche swirled with white chocolate and crowd-pleasing cinnamon pecan.
The shop: The cozy housewares boutique itself isn't new, but the season's theme is. And given that the theme is Home for the Holidays, of course, there's a quirky cabinet fireplace in the shop.
The goods: Something for everyone and all very affordable, from oversize scarves and teensy jewelry holders to ironic (and unironic) drinkware for boozehounds to festive onesies for tots.
TT picks: Ugly sweater, meet cutting board. Brooklyn-based woodworkers AHeirloom etch stitch-like engravings of prancing reindeer into handsome maple boards ($56). Treat your friends to Coral & Tusk stockings ($50 each); if you're feeling generous, tuck in napkins ($40), embroidered with sweet sketches of either a bear holding a tiny tree or a fox setting off a sparkler. For your dearest winos, Seattle wine retailer True Fabrications makes an elegant Bordeaux bottle holder ($48) modeled after, what else, antlers.
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