Looking for a Chicago-centric gift to remind a friend about how wonderfully cold and windy it gets in December? Well, you can't. As all of us who have lived here know, the only way to truly experience the biting wind of whipping off Lake Michigan is to do so firsthand. But you can gift that special person a few of the many foodstuffs that make living in Chicago, even during the winter, completely worth it.
We gathered together a mix of new and old delicacies, which should help get you in the holiday spirit, no shivering on the L platform required.
Spencer's Jolly Posh Foods Traditional Pork Bangers
Chicago may not have been known for its English food, but that's all changing. Blake, our Sausage City corespondent, believes that Spencer's Jolly Posh Foods carries some of the best pork bangers around. While you're ordering, why not get everything else for the meal, including black and white pudding. Order Here »
The Classics: Vienna Beef and Lou Malnati's
Both of these fine products were mentioned on last year's gift guide, so it feels wrong to repeat them again. Then again, what kind of Chicago food gift guide would this be if we left out these two heavy hitters? Both hold up surprisingly well to shipping, making them perfect for those missing the Windy City. Order Vienna Beef Here »; Order Lou Malnati's Here »
New Chicago Cookbooks
Considering the number of cookbooks he's penned, it's kind of amazing that Rick Bayless waited until this year to release a cookbook about Frontera. But this installment, which covers the restaurant's many Margarita, guacamole, and snack recipes, was definitely worth the wait. You can also find a Bayless recipe in Amelia Levin's excellent Chicago Chef's Table, which collects signature recipes from 50 other area chefs. Love eating meatloaf that looks like a cupcake (we sure do) then take a look at The Meatloaf Bakery Cookbook. Finally, we're thrilled to see that our own Carol Hilker has a book called MMM... Marshmallows, which is dedicated to the glory of the airy dessert.
New T-Shirts from Hot Doug's
As long as Hot Doug's keeps creating awesome new t-shirts, we'll continue to include them on this gift guide. The latest design is a riff on Reservoir Dogs, where the original character names are replaced by some of the best sausages on hot dog joint's menu. We should know. According to its Facebook page, if you order at least $15 in the store today or tomorrow, shipping in the U.S. and Canada is free. Hurry up! Order Here »
Chicago has an amazing collection of coffee shops, but if you have to go with just one, it's hard to think of a better one than Intelligentsia. It can be overwhelming to scroll through the options, but just know that essentially every choice is worthwhile. Order Here »
Co-Op Hot Sauce
Co-op Sauce started as a fundraiser for Co-op Image, a local youth art education organization. But the high demand for hot sauce convinced the group to make it a full time business. Half of all profits continue to go to Co-op Image. Order Here »
Ferrara Pan Candy Store
Interested in attempting to eat every kind of candy from the Ferrara Pan Candy Factory like we did? Or just want to stock up on Lemonheads and Red Hots? (That is a much more sensible plan.) Check out Ferrara Pan's online store, where you can by boxes and boxes of your favorite candy. Order Here »