Holiday Gifts 2011

Gastro Gift Guide Part 3: Gifts That Aren’t Stuff

Three unforgettable culinary encounters.

By Stephanie Rubesh December 15, 2011

Buy the book(s), hang out with one of the authors.

You know all those cliches about how the best gift is spending time with the people you love? Well, they’re all true…especially if you give someone one of these memorable food-centric events.

Art restaurant has a new dinner party-type game called Market To Art that provides all the frantic anticipation of Iron Chef, minus the competition (and someone else does the cooking). Up to 10 people gather at the restaurant and divide into pairs. Each duo receives an allowance and orders to wander nearby Pike Place Market and pick up delectable looking ingredients for one of the five courses that will be served (Ten people…five teams of two…five courses…still following?). Back at Art, chefs will whip up a dish on the spot using your selections—no prep allowed beforehand—meanwhile your group gets to sit back, judge, and enjoy. You can try to stymie chef Jelle Vandenbroucke and crew with odd ingredient combos, but remember…you’ll be eating whatever they prepare. Every pair gets to help plate and present their course. Think you have a discerning palate? You can add a wine or cheese tasting challenge in between courses. The $120 per person cost (it goes up to $160 or $190 with wine) includes the meal, a drink or two, and valet parking; email the restaurant to schedule.

Last year we named the Walrus and Carpenter Nighttime Oyster Picnic as one of our “kick yourself-if-you-miss-it awesomefests” for food lovers, and this annual outing is back for the winter (and selling out fast). Pay homage to Lewis Carroll’s “Walrus and the Carpenter” poem by following in the titular characters’ footsteps to enjoy oysters (and wine) on the beach at low tide, by the light of the moon (weather gods willing). The $75 cost covers the bus ride to Totten Inlet, endless rounds of oysters, chilled wine, stew, shucking lessons, and a decidedly magical evening.

Remember when we talked about that generous mood you were in? Lay down $550 to buy someone the epic Modernist Cuisine volumes at Fremont’s Book Larder and the culinary book mecca will throw in two tickets to an event February 2 with Maxime Bilet, one of the authors. Right now attendance is limited to people who purchase the book, so the evening promises to be an intimate one. Bilet will answer questions and prepare some Modernist recipes.

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