Dining With Denise Neil

Last-minute gifts for the food fans on your list

Tanya’s Soup Kitchen has recipe cards and a curry blend for sale at the restaurant at 1725 E. Douglas.
Tanya’s Soup Kitchen has recipe cards and a curry blend for sale at the restaurant at 1725 E. Douglas. The Wichita Eagle

Wichita restaurants, coffee shops and confectioners are good for more than just a break during stressful Christmas shopping.

Many of them are also good places to do your Christmas shopping, especially if you have a foodie on your list.

If you’re still looking for gifts with just the right flavor, consider some of these options.

For the soup lover

If only you could give the gift of a fresh bowl of Tanya’s Soup Kitchen’s famous Wednesday special, chicken curry over rice with chutney. You can give the gift of everything needed to make that special, though. The restaurant at 1725 E. Douglas is again selling spiral-bound volumes of chef Tanya Tandoc’s original recipes. There are six volumes in all (one of which includes instructions for making chicken curry over rice), and each is $10 ($50 for all six). The restaurant also is selling bags of curry powder, the “proprietary blend” Tandoc uses in her curries and other soups. It’s $7 or $5.50 if you add it on to a recipe book purchase.

For the coffee lover

Most local coffee shops will sell their beans by the pound, so if the person you’re shopping for has a favorite, stop and ask. Some quality beans are sold both at The Spice Merchant, 1308 E. Douglas, and at Mead’s Corner, 430 E. Douglas. (Mead’s also has handmade pottery mugs with its logo embossed on them for sale.)

Reverie Coffee Roasters, a newer shop at 2611 E. Douglas that caters to extreme coffee enthusiasts, not only roasts its own beans, it also sells all kinds of coffee-making devices and accessories, from French presses to cold presses to clever mugs. The shop also offers custom-made gift baskets.

For the chocolate lover

Two Wichita chocolatiers have stores filled with gifts for chocoholics. At Cocoa Dolce, 2132 N. Rock Road, the made-in-house hot chocolate mixes have been popular, managers say. They’re available in seven different flavors, from Mexican to white peppermint, and come in single-serving packages or four-packs. Also popular at Christmas time are the seasonal chocolates made in flavors including pumpkin spice, eggnog, gingerbread, buttermint and more. A seasonal mix of six is $15, and other packages are available as well. And those looking for stocking stuffers can choose from chocolate suckers in shapes including Rudolph, a snowman and a gingerbread cookie.

Cero’s at 3429 E. Douglas also has gift packs available, and people love to buy boxes of turtles during the holidays, said Pam Bishop, one of the store’s owners. A nine-piece box is $13.50, and an 18-piece box is $26. Also popular: solid milk- or dark-chocolate Christmas trees that are 8 inches tall and drizzled with white chocolate. They run $12 to $18 and make good centerpieces for holiday dessert tables. “I think they’re gorgeous,” Bishop said.

For the beer lover

Breweries in Wichita sell various swag as well as their locally-made beers to go.

Wichita Brewing Company & Pizzeria at 8815 W. 13th St. has a big display of T-shirts decorated with logos for each of its beers. The brewery also sells hockey pucks, bottle openers, coasters, golf balls, shot glasses, pint glasses and hats, all decorated with the brewery’s distinct logo – abolitionist John Brown with a beer mug in each fist. The brewery also serves growlers, in ceramic or stainless steel, that can be purchased, filled and refilled with beer.

River City Brewing Company at 150 N. Mosley also sells growlers and beer as well as a line of T-shirts that cost between $16 and $17 and have clever beer sayings like “All I care about is good beer and maybe three people” and “Maybe it’s the beer talking, but I really like beer.” River City also sells koozies and other beer accoutrements.

For the dessert lover

College Hill Catering at 3407 E. Douglas is selling giant boxes of baklava, the Mediterranean treat made with layers of phyllo dough and syrupy chopped nuts. Each box is filled with a variety of preparations of the sweet treat in different shapes and sizes. A big box is $49, and a small box is $29. For more information, call 316-687-0202.

For the doughnut lover

The Donut Whole at 1720 E. Douglas has colorful T-shirts for sale for $15 apiece. One style features the popular shop’s rooster logo. The other reads “Keep ICT Weird.” The shop also has its coffee beans for sale by the pound. A box of the shop’s colorful, crazily-topped doughnuts also would make a good Christmas morning surprise. (Hint for people with Whovians in their lives: The shop often has “Doctor Who”-themed doughnuts.)

Also, Dunkin’ Donuts’ Wichita store at 333 S. West St. opened earlier this week and has some seriously devoted fans. Surprise your loved one with a dozen, a gift card or some coffee beans.

For the home cook

Wichita is home to many great places to shop for unique gadgets and accessories for home cooks. The Spice Merchant at 1308 E. Douglas, for example, is stuffed with coffee and tea accessories, unique containers and kitchen accessories and spices, tea leaves and coffee beans in bulk.

It’s also fun to browse the aisles of local restaurant supply stores, including AAA Restaurant Supply at 611 E. Central, where shoppers can pick up giant cheese graters, Knorks by the dozen, dishes, cookware, gadgets, small appliances and more.

And Bonnie Aeschliman, who is closing her Cooking at Bonnie’s Place cooking school at 9747 E. 21st St. North, has a showroom full of kitchen accessories, serving platters and gadgets for sale at a discount.

“I also have one rack of things that are gently used, and I’m going to sell a lot of cookbooks from my home collection,” she said.

Aeschliman’s closing sale is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

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