What to Buy the Foodie in Your Life
What it is: A Japanese soup of wheat noodles in a meat- or fish-based broth Why it’s trending: The cup-of-noodles has long been a staple of dorm-room dining, but a new generation of ramen shops are bringing the dish back to its artisanal Asian roots. Chefs like Ivan Ramen’s Ivan Orkin simmer their handmade noodles in rich, complex broths that take hours (or even days) to fully prepare. Toppings like fried egg or succulent sliced pork add extra protein. How to enjoy it: Slurp it up quickly while the broth is still scalding hot. The noodles continue to cook in the bowl, so you’ll need to finish your meal before they get mushy. Gift the experience at one of the Japanese restaurants in your city: Gift the gear with utensils and cookware:
Photo by Flickr user casasroger What it is: A Mexican spirit that’s a close cousin to tequila. Its distillation process dates back 400 years to the Aztecs. Why it’s trending: A new batch of distillers have brought a new artisanal generation of mescals to market. And it has been popular in the craft-cocktail scene, where mixologists use small portions of the spirit to add a smoky layer of complexity to drinks. How to enjoy it: Sip it neat or on the rocks. Or rinse a rocks glass with mescal before mixing in a margarita or daiquiri. Gift your favorite foodie a tasty experience at one of the Mexican restaurants in your city: Gift the gear with glassware and other bar accessories:
Image courtesy of Wikipedia user Roboppy What they are: Bite-sized French pastries with a caramelized-sugar crust and a custard-like core Why they’re trending: The canelé is the latest of several French-inspired pastry trends to hit the big time in recent years, following the macaron, the kouign-amann, and the cronut (which, of course, couldn’t exist with the croissant). Pastry chefs laud its simplicity—it only really has six ingredients—and its unique combination of textures, which is topped off with an alluring vanilla and rum scent. How to enjoy them: Pop one in your mouth while sipping on pour-over at your favorite coffee shop. Gift your favorite foodie a tasty experience at one of the cafés and bakeries in your city: Gift the gear with gadgets and cookware:
What they are: Ocean-dwelling bivalves prized for their tender, slightly briny meat Why they’re trending: Oysters have been on foodies’ radar for years, ever since a new generation of raw bars started cropping up from San Francisco to New York City. But it’s only recently that supply has caught up with demand, as oyster farming—as opposed to harvesting in the wild—becomes more prevalent. To top it all off, cultivated oysters are also an environmentally sustainable snack. (Read about how oysters can make you tipsy.) How to enjoy them: Slurp them down raw, straight from the shell, with a splash of lemon juice and mignonette sauce. Gift your favorite foodie a tasty experience at one of the seafood restaurants in your city: Gift the gear with cutlery and glassware:
Nathalie is a writer and editor on the Guide's food team. Originally from Virginia, she now lives in Chicago, where she regularly indulges her love of tortas, bibimbap, and Cheez-Its. Follow her on Twitter @maviswillsaveus.