By Peg San Felippo, Patti Roth, Jana Soeldner Danger, Amy Scatterood and Chris LaMorte
You know that wonderful feeling. The rush. The satisfaction. The sense of accomplishment when you score the perfect present for someone you adore.
If you need a nudge during the holiday season, we’re delighted to share some ideas.
Gifts for wine lovers who’ve been really (really) good
Holiday shopping for the wine enthusiasts on your list can be challenging because, let’s face it, they can be a little picky.
Whether you’re looking for stocking stuffers or something more extravagant, these suggestions should help shorten your shopping time. The bonus? You can buy locally.
A staple of mine for over a decade. It aerates, filters, has an air-tight seal, made of medical grade plastic, is dishwasher safe, has a drip-free pour, and lasts for years. $7.99, from most wine shops throughout South Florida.
Cork Dork: A Wine Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste, by Bianca Bosker.
This book offers a funny, in-depth view at becoming a sommelier. Good information for anyone who enjoys wine including novices. $17, Barnes & Noble.
Ah-So Cork Puller
A must for every serious wine drinker. Why? Because attempts to open a mature bottle of wine with an ordinary corkscrew can result in the cork shredding or ripping in two. $10 from Wine Watch, Fort Lauderdale.
Kelvin Smart Wine Monitor
A great gift for people who are discriminating about wine temperatures. (Yes, I am raising my hand.) This device will monitor the bottle in the refrigerator and let you know when it has reached the appropriate temperature. The app that’s included also offers additional wine info. $49.95, from Crate & Barrel.
Champagne: The Essential Guide to the Wines, Producers, and Terriors of the Iconic Region, by Peter Liem.
Winner of several awards this year from prestigious organizations, such as The James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), this box set includes a series of vintage vineyard maps with fascinating insight and history on the region and its growers and vintners. $72 at Barnes & Noble, $55 at Target
Coravin Wine Preservation system
If you like to have a nice glass of wine but are guilted into drinking more than your share because you worry it won’t be as good in a day or two, problem solved with Coravin. When used correctly it promises to hold an “open” bottle of wine its normal life cycle of months or even years. Available in of a variety of models from $199-$599, from Williams–Sonoma and Best Buy.
The “Royal” Wine Box
Treat someone like royalty with wines fit for a king. This holiday four pack includes Megan Markle’s favorite, the champagne served at Princess Eugenie’s recent wedding, a Rioja frequently served at the castle of the king of Spain and a Burgundy enjoyed by many Royals. $285, from Virginia Philip Wine Spirits & Academy, Palm Beach.
Florida Wine Academy
For the wine enthusiast that wants to take their knowledge to the next level, the academy offers an array of tasting classes at their Miami location. Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) courses are available in Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. $70-$400 for regular classes, $325-$1,500 for WSET, Floridawineacademy.com.
Ornellaia Wine Dinner
Make the Super Tuscan fan in your household very happy by treating them to dinner with one of Italy’s finest wineries. Alessandro Lunardi from Ornellaia will be participating in this elegant 5-course dinner paired with wines on Jan. 12. Seating is limited 30 people. $495.00 per person, including tax and gratuity. The Breakers, Palm Beach.
Honig Wine tasting in your own home*
This is a gift that gives in so many ways. When you make a donation to Type 1 Diabetes, The American Cancer Association or 4Kids (A local Foster Care organization), Stephanie Honig of Honig Winery will come from Napa to your home in southeast Florida to do a tasting on an agreed upon date. The tasting will consist of six Honig wines for up to 30 of your friends. Also included is an autographed magnum for later consumption. Two tastings are available for each. Charity donation and tasting arrangements will be handled through the winery. Estimated value, $5,000; minimum bid $3,500. Contact: Chessa@honigwine.com for details. City & Shore exclusive announcement.
The ultimate wine gift when you just won the lottery
When absolutely only the best will do! A 1990 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti Grand Cru. $27,000. One bottle is available through Wine Watch, Fort Lauderdale.
Looking for wines to enjoy with friends and family? Here are 10 wines that these wine and food professionals will be drinking this holiday season.
Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc 2017 New Zealand. $13.97, Total Wine. Recommended by Paul Strike, co-owner of The Grove Restaurant, Delray Beach.
Domaine Michel Girard 2017 sancerre. $28.99 at Crown Wine & Spirits. Recommended by Ron Labadie, sommelier of Café Maxx, Pompano Beach.
Voirin Jumel Cramant Blanc De Blancs NV Grand Cru champagne. $49 at Wine Watch, Fort Lauderdale. Recommended by Cassandra Felix, advanced sommelier, The Flagler Steak House at The Breakers, Palm Beach.
André Pasdeloup “Les Fourneaux” 2014 Mercurey Premier Cru, white burgundy. $44.99 at Wine Wave, Delray Beach. Recommended by Jeramiah Flores, co-owner.
Rinaldi Brachetto D’Acqui “Bricco Rioglio” NV, Italy. $29.99 at Total Wine. Recommended by Roberto Colombi, head sommelier, Boca Raton Resort & Club.
Château Des Jacques Moulin-A-Vent 2015 Cru Beaujolais. $24.99 at Crown Wine & Spirits, Boca Raton. Recommended by Chip Cassidy, Beverage Program Director, FIU, North Miami.
Escarpment Pinot Noir 2015 Martinborough, New Zealand. $45.99 at Virginia Philip Wine Spirits & Academy, Palm Beach. Recommended by Virginia Philip, Master Sommelier.
Orin Swift “8 Years in The Desert” 2017 Red Blend, Napa. $49.99 at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits. Recommended by Juan Horta, sommelier and manager, Council Oak Restaurant, Hard Rock Casino, Hollywood.
Merryvale Napa Valley 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. $60 at Crown Wine & Spirits. Recommended by Delius Shirley, co-owner, Ortanique restaurant, Miami.
Caymus Special Selection 2014, Cabernet Sauvignon. $169.99 at Total Wine. Recommended by Cat Lanciaux-Taylor, manager, Vienna Café and Wine Bar, Davie.
GIFTS FOR THE HOME
Art from Empties
South Florida artist Francisco Sheuat employs an untraditional palette for his artwork. While most of us routinely drop empty beverage cans into recycling bins, he creates. Sheuat slices aluminum discards and assembles the shiny shapes into works of art. In addition to his two-dimensional designs, Sheuat’s upcycled work includes fancy flamingo sculptures. Francisco Sheuat Art Studio, 115 NW Fifth Street, Fort Lauderdale, 954-937-3313, franciscosheuat.com.
Yard Yeti (& Friends)
For a distinctive outdoor statement piece – something you probably won’t see in your neighbor’s yard – Flamingo Road Nursery offers a selection of weather-resistant yard art that stands 7- to 12-feet tall. The menagerie includes a giraffe, a yeti, a dinosaur, a garden gnome and others. About $2,000 to $3,000. Flamingo Road Nursery, 1655 S. Flamingo Road, Davie, 954-476-7878, flamingoroadnursery.com
Fun with Lights
With an intriguing name, THE OTHERS are a variety of hand-woven lanterns offering sculptural versatility when stacked. If you want your formation to playfully represent a figure, enhance the effect with acrylic accessories that resemble eyes. Dimming options are adjustable by remote control, and solar panels are included. $1,300 to $4,140 at DEDON showroom in Design Center of The Americas (DCOTA). Purchases at DCOTA showrooms are available to design trade professionals or through DCOTA’s preferred designer program, 954-921-7575. DEDON at Design Center of The Americas, 1855 Griffin Road, Dania Beach, 954-299-0651, dedon.de
What Oprah says
Oprah elevated the fame of We Take The Cake in Fort Lauderdale by featuring items from the bakery in her Favorite Things lists. While Oprah’s focus is on bundt cakes, the establishment also offers other enticing desserts. Example: 4-layer metallic ombre ruffle cakes in gold or silver. Ruffle cakes are $125, and need to be ordered at least three days early. We Take The Cake also offers custom cakes, vegan cakes and gluten free cakes. Shipping and delivery options available. We Take The Cake, 1211 NE Ninth Ave., Fort Lauderdale, 754-300-5867, wetakethecake.com
Offer a reason to hop off the sofa. Wrap up Chippo, a portable game for the beach, backyard or office, described as a cross between golf and cornhole. About $190. chippogolf.com and amazon.com
Outdoor drinkware is essential in South Florida. Encourage your recipient to skip flimsy, environmentally questionable disposables with re-usables equipped with stakes. Poke them into the sand. Or maybe a lawn. Sets are $48 at Spice in Delray Beach, 521 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach, 561-562-8869, twycethespice.com
For those who appreciate practical presents, smart thermostats, such as ecobee products, offer such techy features as the ability to adjust settings from your phone and interacting with wireless room sensors. About $170 and $250 at various retail stores and online. ecobee.com
TV As Art
Even if you adore watching television, sometimes you do turn it off. (Don’t you?) Art Screen Systems by Vutec offers an intriguing alternative to an empty screen dominating a room. Retractable Art Screens feature framed art on canvas that rolls into place when the television flat screen is not in use. A variety of frame styles and art work – including your own art or photos – accommodate personal tastes and integrating with the room’s décor. Retailers include LaRue Furniture, 5850 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach, 561-496-2300, laruefurniture.com
New cookbooks to give and get this holiday season
Cookbooks are some of the best gifts you can give your food-minded friends and relatives because they’re easy to find, simple to wrap — and can often trigger reciprocal dinner invitations. Among this year’s wealth of cookbooks are a few excellent baking books, some new books from award-winning folks whose other books might already be on your shelves, and two debut books from Los Angeles chefs. Here are some new cookbooks to put on your gift list. - AS.
Rose’s Baking Basics by Rose Levy Beranbaum (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35)
Do you (or whomever you’re gifting) need another of Beranbaum’s baking books? You really do. This one, her 11th, features 100 recipes for the essential stuff: cookies, cakes, pies, tarts and breads along with toppings and fillings. What makes this book particularly useful is all the photos — 600 of them, apparently — often in step-by-step sequence. All these pictures are pretty, yes, but also practical because baking is so often somewhat intangible without visual aids. They also offer pretty good incentive because there’s nothing like more than 300 pages of pictures of cupcakes, brownies, rugelach, chocolate rolls, lemon and blueberry tarts, and babka to make you want to start baking.
The Nordic Baking Book by Magnus Nilsson (Phaidon, $49.95)
Magnus Nilsson, chef of the acclaimed restaurant Fäviken in northern Sweden, does not write normal chef cookbooks. His last one, The Nordic Cookbook, was a King James Bible-sized encyclopaedia of regional dishes with a glossary and illustrations to go along with many of his own photos. Nilsson’s new book is along the same vein, this time documenting the baking traditions and recipes of his native Scandinavia. The variety is truly impressive: rye crackers, Faroese roulades, green marzipan layer cakes, Swedish beer soup and striped peppermint sticks. There are more than 450 recipes, illustrations and more of Nilsson’s great photos — plus enormously fun things, such as pictures of tundra and boats, and a template for a gingerbread house.
Now & Again: Go-to Recipes, Inspired Menus and Endless Ideas for Reinventing Leftovers by Julia Turshen (Chronicle Books, $35)
Cookbooks are often ambitious, aspirational things, filled with recipes that load our tables and refrigerators. So it’s something of a relief to find one that celebrates the opposite: leftovers. Julia Turshen’s latest cookbook is organized around the idea that we need guidance not only for what to cook for dinner but what to do with the extras afterward. So the more than 125 recipes in this book have follow-ups — secondary recipes built with the leftovers of the original recipes. It’s a terrific, creative and wonderfully pragmatic approach. It’s also flexible, as Turshen varies the leftover suggestions, using components, transforming the dishes wholesale, or simply pointing out that some dishes are best eaten cold the next day — or, in the case of baked pasta, pressed into a waffle iron. So much fun.
I Am a Filipino: And This Is How We Cook by Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad (Artisan, $35)
As the authors, who own and operate two of the best Filipino restaurants in the country, write in their introduction: “This is not just a cookbook. It’s a manifesto.” In the last few years, Filipino food has gone from a little-known immigrant cuisine, mostly experienced at home, to being on the forefront of American restaurant dining. Ponseca and Trinidad have been a big part of this, and their debut cookbook is a great guide to both the subtleties and history of the food, and the dishes themselves. From pancit and adobo to chorizo burgers and jackfruit ice cream, this book demonstrates the delicious mash-up of recipes that define the vibrant cuisine.
Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35)
The follow-up to the pair’s award-winning first book, Zahav — named for their Israeli restaurant in Philadelphia — this book showcases the informal food of Israel, the street food and home cooking. Falafel, shawarma, hummus, kebabs, plus cookies and halva and ice-pops. Timed to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding, Israeli Soul is a celebration of the country as well as its food, threading short essays on various towns and traditions throughout the recipes. There are also step-by-steps and sidebars — Building Kebabs, the Three Stages of Coal — that are both exceedingly practical and fun to read, as well as short bits about other chefs and local markets that further liven the pages.
Everyday Dorie: The Way I Cook by Dorie Greenspan (HMH/Rux Martin Books, $35)
You likely already have a cookbook or two from Greenspan, the James Beard Award-winning cookbook writer, whose writing shows up regularly in the New York Times Magazine. Among her 13 cookbooks are Dorie’s Cookies and Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé, which reflect the range of her considerable expertise. Greenspan’s latest book is built around the dishes she cooks at home — simple, workmanlike stuff for weekday dinners with the family. This is Greenspan, so the recipes run the gamut from burgers, spaghetti and meatballs, and pimento cheese, which might be described as “everyday” for most of us; to flounder meuniere with onion-walnut relish, summer vegetable tian, and salmon brandade. Which means, basically, something for everyone — and yes, there are desserts.
Chinese Heritage Cooking From My American Kitchen, by Shirley Chung (Page Street Publishing, $21.99)
The Top Chef alum’s first cookbook features more than 75 recipes that display her Chinese-American roots: Born in Beijing to a family who over generations lived in both China and California, Chung went to culinary school in San Francisco, and cooked for both Thomas Keller and José Andrés before going out on her own. Chung’s dishes reflect that both heritages and techniques. So there’s a Little Gem salad, paired with salt-cured duck eggs; a recipe for Chinese shrimp and grits that “started as a classic Chinese garlic shrimp recipe,” and melded Louisiana with “corn congee.” With one chapter devoted to comfort food and another to condiments and hot sauces, this is just the sort of cookbook to head into the holidays with.
Milk Street: Tuesday Nights by Christopher Kimball (Little, Brown and Company, $35)
Christopher Kimball, who co-founded America’s Test Kitchen and started Milk Street in 2016, has come out with the second book from the Boston-based cooking school and magazine. The conceit of this book is that Tuesday nights are best accomplished with quick meals that make use of staple ingredients. So here are 200 recipes that are organized by the time it takes to make them (“fast,” “faster,” “fastest”), plus categories like “easy additions” and “one pot.” The dishes span many cuisines and there are fun sections such as “weeknight pizza” and “recipes that let you walk away from the cooking” — nice, if you want to load up the oven and go read the rest of the book.
Joe Beef: Surviving the Apocalypse, Another Cookbook of Sorts by David McMillan, Frederic Morin and Meredith Erickson (Alfred A. Knopf, $45)
This is the follow-up book to the terrific first Joe Beef cookbook, which came out in 2011 and itself followed up on the Montreal restaurant for which both books are named. Although there are plenty of zombie jokes, this book isn’t about the actual apocalypse so much as how the food-minded can prepare for the metaphorical one (extreme weather, elections, etc.). “This book is about how to build things for yourself,” Erickson writes in the introduction, “about how to make it on your own.” In Joe Beef world, this translates into a cellar stocked with crab apple cordial and pickled deer necks; recipes for soap and partridge pie and squash sticky buns; and tiny essays on natural wine and kids’ dinnertime behavior. Survivalism, yes, but with style.
A new and better you
Stumped about a holiday gift for a special someone? How about a cosmetic procedure? Looking better can often make a person feel better, and both can make for a happier holiday season. Here are just a few ideas. - JSD.
Tired of the crease between your eyebrows or the smile lines at the sides of your eyes? Injections of Botox, a neurotoxin derived from the same organism that causes botulism, can get rid of them, at least temporarily. Botox safely smooths lines and wrinkles by relaxing the muscles that cause them, says Dr. Jacob Steiger, MD, a facial plastic surgeon in Boca Raton.
“The beauty of Botox is that it’s a quick and easy treatment done in the office,” Dr. Steiger says. There is virtually no downtime. It takes about seven days for the full effect, and results last three to five months.
Skin resurfacing with Vivace, a new generation of radio frequency microneedling, can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and tighten pores, as well as improve discoloration and acne scars, says Dr. Jordana Herschthal, MD, a dermatologist in Boca Raton. First, the doctor numbs the area with a topical anesthetic. Then she uses a handheld device with a precision robotic motor to deliver microneedles to various depths of the dermis, creating microscopic channels that stimulate the body’s wound healing process to produce new collagen. To boost collagen production even more, the device also issues pulses of blue and red light emitting diodes (LEDs).
The procedure takes just 15 to 20 minutes. Three sessions a month apart usually produce the best results, says Dr. Herschthal. There’s no downtime, although the patient should not use makeup or skin treatments for 24 hours. In addition to the face, the procedure can be used on the neck, décolletage, knees and backs of hands.
Away, stubborn fat
Sometimes areas of stubborn fat, like stomachs and thighs, absolutely refuse to respond to diet and exercise. CoolSculpting can come to the rescue, says Dr. Gregory Albert, MD, a plastic surgeon in Boca Raton. A device about the size of a thick cell phone is attached to a portion of fat and skin. Fat freezes faster than skin, so the fat cells freeze, while skin cells do not. The damaged fat cells gradually die, and over time, the body discards them. They are gone forever.
More than one session may be required, but there is no downtime. Full results take two to four months because the dissolution of the fat cells is gradual.
Liposuction, which has immediate results, can be an alternative to CoolSculpting, Dr. Albert says. With this procedure, problem areas of fat are suctioned with cannulas under local or general anesthetic. “You can get incredible contouring,” Dr. Albert says. “You see a difference right away.” There may be some soreness after the procedure, and recovery can take a few days.
Injectable fillers can lift and smooth skin by replacing facial fat that is lost as a person grows older, as well as filling in lines and creases, says Dr. Martin Newman, MD, director of the plastic surgery residency program at Cleveland Clinic Florida.
Hyaluronic acid fillers, which are biodegradable and eventually dissolve, are the most popular type today. Effects can last from several months to a year. Synthetic fillers last longer, but can be more likely to cause such side effects as redness, swelling, or bumps under the skin.
Another option is harvesting an individual’s own fat with liposuction and injecting it into lines and wrinkles. Fat cells that survive the transplant are likely to be permanent, Dr. Newman says. Two treatments may be required for optimum results. “It’s like painting a wall,” he says. “Two thin coats are better than one thick one. When you overcorrect, it doesn’t allow the blood supply to feed the transplanted cells.”
Lasers can tighten problem areas of loose skin, says Dr. Lisbeth Roy, DO, who practices regenerative medicine in Boca Raton. She uses a laser to heat each area of skin. This causes the skin to contract and tighten, Dr. Roy says. Ozone gas is then injected into the treatment area to stimulate the growth of collagen, adding to the tightening benefit, Dr. Roy says. It takes about 15 minutes.
There is minimum discomfort during the procedure, which can be used on the face, neck, abdomen, upper thighs and arms, “wherever there’s skin,” Dr. Roy says. After a treatment, the skin is pink for a day or two. Results are immediate, and continue to improve for several weeks.
An intraceutical oxygen facial can hydrate, lift, smooth and replenish the skin, says Isabel Fugate, a licensed medial esthetician and director of the medical spa at the Dorothy Mangurian Comprehensive Women’s Center at Holy Cross Hospital. Pressurized, or hyperbaric, oxygen connected to an applicator containing a serum of hyaluronic acid, collagen, vitamin C and green tea helps infuse the serum into the skin, hydrating it, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and making the skin glow, Fugate says. The process takes 60 to 80 minutes.
A welcome gift
With the gift of a cosmetic procedure, you may be a very popular Santa. But be sure to consider, of course, whether the recipient will welcome it.
One-stop over-the-top shopping
You didn’t win that stupid one-point-gazillion Mega Millions jackpot. Big deal. So what. Who cares.
But … let’s just say you had. How exactly does one spend all that money, anyhow? Our preferred route: by buying the most insanely over-the-top holiday gifts for everyone on your list.
From a Dolce & Gabbana juicer (yes, really) to Louis Vuitton’s Ping-Pong set (again, yes, really), we have some ideas on how you could have blown your winnings with gifts that would make even Elton John say, “Maybe you should dial it back a notch.”
Good thing that dreaming is still free. - CL
High meets low
Tiffany transforms utilitarian items into handcrafted works of art in its Everyday Objects collection. Two highlights are the bone china paper cup, $100 (for two), and sterling silver crazy straw, $275. tiffany.com
If James Bond played a game, Smythson’s Grosvenor leather travel backgammon set would be it. $4,695, mrporter.com
Explore the deep blue
The world will be your oyster aboard Serenity Yachts’ 74-foot solar-powered beauty. Your new home away from home has three levels with four main cabins, and comfortably sleeps up to 12 people, including a crew of four. As bells and whistles go, it boasts a fully functional kitchen, a state-of-the-art music and entertainment system, satellite TV, Wi-Fi and ample closet space. $7.1, neimanmarcus.com.
Table Tennis, anyone?
Louis Vuitton’s sporty set includes two professionally designed Ping-Pong paddles and regulation balls all housed in an exclusive holder crafted of its Monogram Eclipse canvas. $2,210, louisvuitton.com
Shaken, not stirred
With brand fans like Ringo Starr and Queen Victoria, Asprey’s enamel and sterling silver rocket cocktail shaker will launch your next cocktail party into the stratosphere. $12,150, mrporter.com
Your A Game
Hermès maple and saddle-stitched calfskin foosball table takes the basement classic to new heights. $67,600, hermes.com
From its sports-inspired collection of leather goods, Hermès’ Bolide 1923-45 Baseball Bag in deep blue calfskin is as good as a grand slam. $13,600, hermes.com
Rahaminov Diamonds’ 18-kt. gold flower ring set with fancy intense-yellow diamonds gives the crown jewels a run for their money. $111,000, neimanmarcus.com
SMEG has partnered with fashion designers Dolce & Gabbana to create the Sicily Is My Love collection of kitchen appliances. The vibrant pieces like this sunny citrus juicer are sure to wake up your kitchen. $650, neimanmarcus.com