5 great Father's Day gifts for the foodie dad

Categories: Great Gifts
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Looking for that last-minute gift item for your foodie father? Well, look no further. We did the scouting for you. Here are several options to choose from. More »

Last-minute Mother's Day gift ideas for the foodie mom

Categories: Great Gifts

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Shower mom with delicious gifts this year.
Still trying to find that perfect gift for mom? Is she the kind of woman who appreciates a meal of many courses, served in small but exquisite portions? When she comes over to your house, does she dump out your salt cellar and refill it with Maldon Sea Salt? Does she love to cook but already has every kitchen gadget ever made, and you're wondering if you'll ever find a gift to convey how much you appreciate her?

Well, have no fear. Any of the items from the following list are sure to thrill and delight foodie moms everywhere.

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The 'Splendid Table' duo is back with another splendid cookbook

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"We emphasize taking pleasure in the doing," Lynne Rossetto Kasper says. "This is not about 'it's got to be right and it's got to be perfect.' "
One of the very best things I ever ate was an appetizer made by Lynne Rossetto Kasper. She cracked open a wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano and drizzled it with a syrup-thick balsamic vinegar. That's it. Creamy and sharp, sweet and salty, the shards of cheese and vinegar startled my senses awake. It was exactly what I wanted at that moment. It was perfect.

The spanking-new cookbook that she and Sally Swift have written, The Splendid Table's How to Eat Weekends: New Recipes, Stories & Opinions (Clarkson Potter, $35), is like that deceptively simple dish.

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Rogue Chocolatier offers free shipping through January

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Rogue Chocolatier
70% cacao, 100% delicious
If you enjoy high-quality chocolate that's made locally, here's your opportunity to stock up on the best of the best. To celebrate winning the Good Food Award, Rogue Chocolatier is offering free shipping on all web orders over $20 for the remainder of January.

The Good Food Awards recognize outstanding American food producers and farmers who support sustainability and social good. Rogue's Sambirano, made with cacao from a single family-owned estate in Madagascar, took the award earlier this month at a ceremony in San Francisco. The bar was up against 180 entries for the chocolate category in a blind taste test by an impressive group of judges.

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Mrs. Kelly's Tea gives free tasting this weekend

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Liz Potasek
Sample 100 different varieties of Mrs. Kelly's custom blended tea this weekend.
Keep that pinkie finger planted firmly on your tea cup. While coffee seems to be getting snobbier by the day in this town, one local tea distributor sets out to prove that tea is not fussy.

Meet Mrs. Kelly, a.k.a. Mindy Kelly, the co-owner and founder of Mrs. Kelly's Tea in Minneapolis. Kelly started making herbal teas about 18 years ago and selling them in farmers' markets, and before she knew it, she had a full-blown business.

Kelly imports the tea leaves and custom blends them with various flavorings to hundreds of flavors of tea. She also mixes up special orders, and can even try to duplicate your favorite tea based on a description of it or a small sample. "We can do whatever you want," Kelly says.

And this weekend at Mrs. Kelly's Tea's warehouse (77 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis) tea drinkers can sample what they want. The warehouse will be open for a free tea tasting from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with more than 100 hot teas to sample and plenty of other local goodies. The Hot Dish got the scoop on what to expect at the event and some suggestions for what to do with that tea-- other than drink it.

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Fischer Farms Pork offers holiday gift boxes

Categories: Great Gifts

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Black Friday has come and gone and it's time to start gearing up for gift season. While gift cards are always great (and some of the deals are pretty amazing this year), home cooks will appreciate receiving the same top-quality ingredients that some of their favorite local restaurants use. And we here at The Hot Dish encourage you to go whole hog this season!

Waseca-based pork purveyor Tim Fischer and his family are offering two gift boxes--the regular holiday assortment and, new this year, a Breakfast-palooza version--each for $55. Here are the details, and how you get your hands on 'em:

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Will it blend...a gun?

Categories: Great Gifts

Everybody seems to have one of those "fun" uncles who buys the kids--other people's kids, mind you--toys that shoot, sing, or explode, which they use to annoy whole housefuls of holiday guests. Well, here's the grown-up version of that gift, one that can provide hours of entertainment and ease social tensions if you've got an extra $400 to spend this season: The Blendtec Total Blender.

For the past few years, Blendtec's kitschy, infomercial-like Will It Blend? viral videos have been circulating around cyberspace, as host Tom Dickson tested the machine's capabilities by blending the hell out of golf balls, Coke cans, marbles, iPhones, and the like. In this latest one, Dickson pulverizes an Air Soft Pistol and some bbs into, literally, gunsmoke. Despite the "Done Try This at Home" warnings, I fear that the Blendtec may soon be responsible for as many holiday accidents as deep fried turkeys...

Local Food Lover Card from Simple, Good, and Tasty

Check this out: Simple, Good, and Tasty is launching a new Local Food Lovers Program as a way to encourage local, organic, sustainable, and fair-trade food purchases at Twin Cities restaurants and food retailers. Unlike other unwieldy coupon books and the like, the LFLP consists of a simple letterpress card good for all sorts of discounts, including:

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Top 5: Foodie Gifts

Categories: Great Gifts

1. BT McElrath Chocolate Bars

Famed local chocolatier BT McElrath recently introduced a line of chocolate bars that might be considered a budget-sensitive alternative to his award-winning truffles. The bars come in cute little boxes (made with paper certified from the sustainable forestry initiative) with bold graphics and sassy copy written by witty local scribe Dennis Cass.

The plain dark and milk chocolate bars are fine, but the funkier ones showcase McElrath's strength of enhancing a chocolate's inherent flavors by layering on more of them. The Chile Limon bar, for example, has nice hits of smoke and pucker--it starts with a brightness and finishes with a hit of heat--though I felt they overpowered the chocolate a bit.

My two favorites flavors are the Salty Dog (dark chocolate with toffee and sea salt, so it's sort of like salty caramel combined with chocolate) and the Passion Fruit/Tangerine, which has these gorgeous, arty swirls of white and dark chocolate. A lot of dark chocolates have cherry/berry flavor notes but the tropical tartness of the passion fruit and tangerine makes it one of the most interesting flavored chocolates I've had in ages. Find the bars for about $3-$4 at places BT McElrath is sold, including Surdyk's, Linden Hills Co-Op, and Kowalski's.

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Punch Pizza's gift that keeps on giving...

Categories: Great Gifts

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Giving a gift card to Punch Pizza? Good idea. Getting a free pizza of your own when you give a Punch Pizza gift card? Even better.

Through the end of the year, Punch is offering a promotion in which those who buy a $25 gift card will get a free margherita pizza or 5.95 off your next visit. Who knew giving could be so delicious!