User's Guide

How to Buy New York Food Gifts Without Pants

Illustration: Kanika Rehani/New York Magazine
Cyber Monday has now surpassed Black Friday as shopping day of the year, and the reason is obvious: You don’t have to put on pants searching for gifts online. Some of the best stores on earth are in New York, particularly when it comes to food, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use their Websites. Have your party supplies delivered or gifts sent to far-off, NYC-deprived friends. To those ends, here’s five food categories and the merchants that have them on lock.

The Orchard, the city’s final word on fruit, is still getting in some of the best melon, strawberries, and other warm-weather produce imaginable. The gift baskets and centerpieces aren’t cheap — the cheapest of them are $69, and some are twice that — but they are hugely impressive, and taste pretty great, too.

New York is blessed with many great wine stores, but Le Dû is currently running what we think might be one of the city’s best bargains: twelve “everyday” bottles for $144.99. This being Le Dû, what’s called everyday is actually extraordinary: “It’s harder to find an everyday bottle with good varietal character than an expensive bottle,” says manager Andy Shernoff. “You have to filter through a lot more crap.” And filter they have!

Any bacon fetishist worth his curing salt should know about Oscar’s Adirondack Smoke House, one of the country’s greatest pork producers. Their honey-cured bacon is perfect for Christmas morning — take it straight out of the box and throw it in the pan.

Smoked Fish
Russ & Daughters has been an icon of (the now-vanishing) Lower East Side Jewish culture for generations. Their Orchard Street Special, a massive combo platter, features nova lox, golden chubs, whipped plain and scallion cream cheese, whitefish and baked-salmon salad, old-fashioned New York bagels, and a mix of classic-vanilla and cherry marshmallow twists. Order it for parties of four ($49) or eight ($65).

Lobel’s is what gift certificates were made for. It isn’t cheap, and gifts of hangar steak and pot roast don’t exactly exude class, but who wouldn’t be excited to have an excuse to splurge on these peerless meats? If you’re looking to stock up for a holiday meal, they’re now running an online special: Purchase any beef roast eight pounds or heavier by noon on December 8, and you’ll get a digital thermometer and jar of horseradish-and-cream sauce — or, in holiday-speak, stocking stuffers.

How to Buy New York Food Gifts Without Pants