LA Magazine - December 2018

LA Magazine - December 2018

L.A.-Made Gifts for Every Type of Angeleno on Your List

What do you buy for the residents of a city that has it all? Honestly, no one knows how to please an Angeleno like an Angeleno, so we’ve put together a holiday gift guide full of L.A. makers, brands, and shops that are sure to please every local on your list, whether they’re Westsiders, Eastsiders, or Valley dwellers. It’s always better to give than to receive, but we won’t rat you out to Santa or the Baby Jesus if you buy some of these goods for yourself.

For the cook with big ideas and a small kitchen

Donabe (Japanese clay cooking pot) from Toiro ($130 and up)

Instant Pot feeling a little played out? Consider gifting a donabe instead, a traditional Japanese cooking vessel that’s infinitely more interesting and arguably just as useful (it functions as a stew pot, casserole dish, rice cooker, steamer, and more). Picking one up is also an excuse to visit chef and author Naoko Takei Moore’s West Hollywood shop Toiro, which offers the widest selection of earthenware donabe and traditional Japanese cookware found anywhere outside for Japan. Prices range based on style and size, but you can easily purchase a fantastic starter-level donabe for around $150. —Garrett Snyder

For the friend who blows half their paycheck on craft cocktails

Amaro Angeleno by Ventura Spirits Company ($35)

A SoCal-inspired riff on the genre of Italian herbal liqueurs known as amaro, Amaro Angeleno makes for a brilliant addition to any home bar—perfect for slipping into classic cocktails or serving with a simple splash of soda and an orange wedge. Produced by local outfit Ventura Spirits Company, the tipple starts with unaged brandy (distilled using Paso Robles wine) that’s infused with local native botanicals, bitter herbs, and heaps of California citrus. The eye-catching label—a poppy-strewn California Art Nouveau throwback—doesn’t hurt its gift-able appeal either. Find it at most boutique or craft spirit retailers around town. —Garrett Snyder

For the sweet-but-not-too-sweet tooth

Hebel and Co. Halva ($12)

If you’ve ever snagged a thick slice at a Kosher grocery or delicatessen, you know the delicious appeal of halva (or halvah), a rich and flaky sesame paste dessert that’s wildly popular in countries like Lebanon and Israel. For a gift that’s both small and sweet, we love the artisan variety produced by L.A.’s own Hebel and Co., started in 2017 by husband and wife duo Scott Hebel and Katie Gurvin. This melt-in-your-mouth halva is freshly made with quality ingredients, and comes in flavors like chocolate chunk, espresso, and pistachio-nigella. Each decadent six-ounce block, wrapped neatly in wax paper, goes for $12 online (it’s also available at various specialty food stores around L.A.). —Garrett Snyder

For the mystic-in-training 

Small Spells Color Tarot Deck Set ($50)

Under the moniker Small Spells, illustrator, spiritual advisor, and stick-and-poke tattoo artist Rachel Howe puts her signature angular line drawings on everything from sweatshirts to skin. This set of witchy-cool tarot cards comes in either color or black and white, and is available online or at the Small Spells storefront in Virgil Village. Want to let a pro give it a go instead? Howe does one-hour readings and teaches private lessons. —Gwynedd Stuart

For the L.A. history buff 

Double Vision: The Photography of George Rodriguez by Hat & Beard Press ($65)

Famed L.A. photographer George Rodriguez has spent his career capturing two sides of L.A.: celebrities living the high life and regular people, largely Latinos on the city’s Eastside, just trying to achieve equality. “Living in South Central and then being at Hollywood premieres—it was like two different worlds,” he told us in July, when Hat & Beard press released a beautiful 192-page book filled with his photography. It’s an education in L.A. history that looks mega good on a coffee table. —Gwynedd Stuart

For the lovable narcissist 

Custom Niñas y Chicos by Uno + Ichi ($80)

We all have friends who fills their feeds with selfies. Thanks to Uno + Ichi’s custom ceramics, now they can drink out of their own heads. The West Adams-based duo makes batches of their standard Niñas y Chicos (more coming after Thanksgiving), but they also take custom orders—just specify characteristics and send a photo.  —Gwynedd Stuart

For the drinker who loves wine, animals, and dismantling the patriarchy

A Beast Box from Vinovore (prices vary)

Vinovore, Silver Lake’s favorite feminist wine seller, is putting together curated gift boxes for the holidays, each with a bottle of wine from a female winemaker and some accessories. The Badger Box is perfect for outdoors people, the Sloth Box is tailored to the lovable couch potato, and the Unicorn Box suits the Angeleno who spends as much money at House of Intuition as she spends at the grocery store. Pop in the store—which now carries books too—and customize a box any way you’d like. —Gwynedd Stuart

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