If you are anything like us, you’ve let the days before Christmas slowly float away while you’ve procrastinated on gift-buying, and you find yourself now facing a looming deadline. You have a choice: Brave the crowds or get creative. We hate crowds, and deadlines bring out the best in us (hey, we’re a journalists, after all). So we’ve put together a list of five food- or drink-related gifts you can purchase and print out right now without leaving your house. Tie one of ’em up with a bow to give your present the shiny sheen of thoughtfulness — you’re going to come off looking like a hero.
An ICE Cooking Class
We all cook less than we’d like to in New York City; the bazillions of restaurants seem to beckon even if we’re just facing a night of take-out. But if you know someone looking for a jumpstart (or a little inspiration) in the kitchen, send him or her to the Institute of Culinary Education for a class. Courses are cuisine-based (we had a great time in the Vietnamese class last year — and although we consider ourselves pretty adept in the kitchen, we learned something, too) or skills-focused; if you can’t decide, you can always buy a gift card and let your recipient choose.
Dinner on a boat
The Water Table set sail not even a month ago, giving New York City its first dinner cruise for locals, so post-Christmas, you can take someone out for a meal and enjoy views of the skyline, Statue of Liberty, and water. Reservations will set you back $75 per person for a three-course prix fixe, and you’ll find a full bar on board.
A food-related SideTours
We frequently find ourselves lusting after SideTour’s offerings, because they marry learning, making, and eating in one joyous experience. Upcoming experiences include a homemade sushi class, a croissant lesson with Mille-Feuille’s Olivier Dessyn, and a culinary trek through Malaysia.
An Apotheke cocktail class
If you’re buying for a cocktail fiend — and you’re in a generous mood — head on over to Apotheke’s course listings and pick out a shiny mixology class. Send your special friend or family member on a trek through the Greenmarket for a seasonal drinks lesson, have them dance with the green fairy during an Absinthe course, or give them an in-depth intro to tequila. If the price tag looks a little steep, remember that this is a gift that keeps on giving: Perhaps your recipient will practice his or her new lessons on you.
A gift card and dinner reservation
Gift cards are a last-minute shopper’s staple, so embrace it — and hooking someone up with dinner out at a classy restaurant is scads better than presenting them with money fro a generic big box store. We recommend buying from one of our 20 best new restaurants of 2013 — or one of the restaurants that gave us our best bites of the year.
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