Dining With Denise Neil

Beer glasses and cooking classes: Gift ideas for Wichita food and drink fans

Local chef Natasha Gandhi-Rue, right, is offering cooking classes in her gourmet kitchen and is selling gift certificates for the holidays.
Local chef Natasha Gandhi-Rue, right, is offering cooking classes in her gourmet kitchen and is selling gift certificates for the holidays. Courtesy photo

Any food-and-drink lover on your Christmas list will appreciate a gift card to a favorite restaurant.

But you can do better than that.

With a little imagination, you can put together a unique-to-Wichita gift that will fill your foodie friends’ festivities with flavor.

Here are a few ideas.

Cooking classes: Wichita has several professional chefs willing to share what they know with cooking classes. A new one on the scene is Natasha Gandhi-Rue, a classical-trained chef and former Williams-Sonoma executive who is teaching classes out of her gourmet kitchen in her home in east Wichita. Her website, www.thehungryfamily.com, offers a long list of classes through January on topics such as “An Edible Trip to India,” “Latin Dinner Party” and “Winter Soups & Hot Sandwiches.” She’s even offering a cooking class for kids focused on pizza and pasta. Classes range in price from $55 to $75, and gift certificates are available at http://www.thehungryfamily.com/product/cooking-class-gift-certificate.

Other cooking class options: Adriene Rathbun’s Social (316-990-4493), which offers gift certificates almost as pretty as the food she creates, and Doo-Dah Diner, 206 E. Kellogg, where owner Patrick Shibley is offering monthly in-restaurant cooking classes. Also, All Things Barbecue at 818 E. Douglas offers monthly classes, including a full lineup in January, and gift certificates are available for those, too, at http://classes.atbbq.com/.

T-shirts: Fans of the Wichita dining scene might appreciate a gift pack of T-shirts from some of Wichita’s most popular spots, and several sell nice ones. Doo-Dah Diner, for example, has T-shirts in a variety of colors featuring its logo and the Wichita skyline. The Anchor’s black T-shirts are printed with the bar’s sexy mermaid logo and are available next door at the Douglas Avenue Chop Shop, 1113 E. Douglas. And Central Standard Brewing, 156 S. Greenwood, sells a variety of T-shirts with its logo, including one that’s white with three-quarter black sleeves. (It also has trucker hats.) Hopping Gnome Brewing Company, 1710 E. Douglas, has some “Gnome for the Holidays” T-shirts. Also, the new Hurts Donut at 7010 W. 21st St. North sells logo T-shirts that also double as coupons. They cost $21.95, and any time someone wears one into the store, he or she gets a free doughnut.

Beer gifts: Many of the local breweries are selling logo swag, including beer glasses. Wichita Brewing Company’s glasses are particularly cool and are shaped sort of like an aluminum can. Hopping Gnome; River City Brewing Company, 150 N. Mosley; and Central Standard Brewing also have printed glassware. Craft beer fans also would enjoy getting some liquid goods in their stockings. Most local craft brewers sell glass growlers full of beer, and Central Standard Brewing sells “crowlers,” which feature 2 pints of its craft brew sealed in a giant aluminum can. Each crowler is $10.

Flavorful extras: Several restaurants have condiments and sauces that fans love and wish they could re-create at home. But there’s no need when the restaurants bottle and sell their secret sauces. Freddy’s Frozen Custard has for years sold its french fry seasoning at its stores, and this year it added bottles of its mayonnaise-based fry sauce. Each 18-ounce bottle is $3.99. And Doo-Dah Diner has just started selling jars of its green chile sauce ($8.99 a jar) and its vanilla molasses syrup ($6.99 a jar). Some restaurants also will sell bottles of their salad dressing. Le Monde Cafe and Deli, 602 N. West St., for example, sells its fattoush dressing to go. Douglas Avenue Chop Shop also will be selling Holmes-Made Salsa gift boxes filled with jars of salsa made by Wichita entrepreneur Tricia Holmes.

The gift of Tanya: The late Tanya Tandoc’s volumes of recipe cards, which include the secrets to her Tanya’s Soup Kitchen’s tomato bisque, chicken curry over rice, bread pudding and more, have always been popular holiday sellers. Managers Sarah Osborn-Bennett and Kelly Rae Leffel, who have been running the restaurant since Tandoc’s death in June, just had the recipes edited and reprinted and are selling volumes for $13 each or $70 for all six. They’re for sale at the restaurant, 1725 E. Douglas.

Etched wine bottles: Local liquor stores are now selling eye-catching bottles of wine that feature hand-etched, hand-painted odes to Wichita. Manos Wine, which is based in Kansas City, makes its own wine and sells it in bottles featuring pictures with various cities’ names, landmarks and mascots. Wichita shoppers can find bottles decorated with the “Keeper of the Plains,” an outline of the state of Kansas with a heart marking Wichita, Wichita State University logo bottles and more. The bottles cost around $45, and nearly 35 stores across Wichita have them, including Jacob, Goebel, Davis, Ryan’s, Auburn Spirits, ABC and more.

For the coffee lover: It also would be easy to assemble a collection of coffee mugs stamped with logs from some of Wichita’s favorite local shops and eateries, including Reverie Coffee Roasters, 2611 E. Douglas; The Spice Merchant, 1308 E. Douglas; and Doo-Dah Diner. Reverie also is a good place to shop for all manner of coffee gadgetry, from French presses to cold brew systems, and Spice Merchant has lots of coffee gear, too. Both also sell their own locally roasted beans.

Meat boxes: Douglas Avenue Chop Shop also is selling Creekstone Farms Meat Boxes, which feature rib-eyes and filets and other cuts in various quantities. They’re served frozen in decorative boxes, and prices vary.

Gadgetry: 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.