By Laura Marrich, Steven Robert Allen, Christie Chisholm, Amy Dalness, Marisa Demarco, Devin D. O'Leary, Jennifer Wohletz
Too Wired Women Coffee Scoop and Clamp, $18
New Mexico Favorites Coffee, $8.50
Sumner & Dene Creations in Art
517 Central NW
Here's a gift made for coffee snobs and design mavens alike: a silvery coffee scoop adorned with beads and whimsical wire. This handmade design by Too Wired Women from Colorado doubles as a serving scoop and a coffee bag clamp to keep that java fresh with a little flair. Sumner & Dene also offers other wired decorated kitchenware, such as salad tongs and bottle openers, and a 20 percent discount for the holidays.
Holiday Popcorn Tin, $12.99
2720 Central SE
Forget those chewy old popcorn tubs from Wal-Mart. They've only got three kinds, one of which is useless because, really, who eats the butter flavor? Head over to Walker's and choose among 30 freshly mixed flavors. Taste test bizcochito, peppermint, butter toffee pecan or caramel-green chile. If the spicy/sweet combo strikes you funny, buy red chile sans caramel or any of the surprising fruit kernels. They'll ship them anywhere, too.
Trader Joe’s 2006 Vintage Ale, $4.99 for 750 milliliters
8928 Holly NE
Everybody deserves their holiday spirits, and if they can be obtained cheaply, all the better. Trader Joe’s signature aged ale is Belgian style, dark and hoppy, and can be tucked away to age for another two years, so long as your party-loving homeys don’t drain it down. For best results, wrap Alibi wrapping paper around the base and secure the neck with a rubber band. Enjoy at the finest of holiday tables, or pass it around a roaring trash can fire.
Goya Leche de Coco, $1.99
201 San Pedro SE
Even in an age of mega-giant corporate grocery chains, Albuquerque still boasts its fair share of friendlier, smaller-scale markets. The newest branch of El Mezquite, a homegrown chain that began life in the South Valley in 1998, opened not all that long ago on San Pedro just south of Central. With metal mariachi sculptures on the roof, a wide variety of piñatas and an inexpensive but muy sabroso lunch counter, El Mezquite is the ideal place to pick up authentic Mexican and New Mexican delectables you won't find at Smith's. Try a can of coconut milk for a creative stocking stuffer.
DinEtiquette Deck, $12
Scalo Northern Italian Grill
3500 Central SE
This locally created pack of 50 etiquette tip cards is also an ingenious marketing tool for restaurants. Clients like Scalo Northern Italian Grill embellish their decks with contact information, then present patrons with a DinEtiquette card--which covers the finer points of everything from wine selection to eating hard-to-handle foods--along with their dinner bill. The entire pack of 50 cards (which includes $20 worth of meal coupons!) can be purchased at Scalo, but businesses interested in purchasing their own customized decks should visit www.thelmadomenici.com/dinetiquette.html or phone 344-9011.
Buffet’s Piñon Candies, $19.50 for a 1-pound assorted box
7001 Lomas NE
Dealing with nuts is part of the holidays, and whether the nuts are in or outside your family, we suggest you fight fire with fire--or in this case, piñon. Nothing says “I love you more than your friends in the white coats” like a full pound of rich, creamy chocolates, all with that signature crunch of New Mexico piñon. They’re preservative-free and handmade in the store with love, fresh whipping cream and U.S. grade AA butter; and, best of all, they keep mouths busy.
Red and Green Chile Gift Box, $12.98
Duran's Central Pharmacy
1815 Central NW
Duran's Central Pharmacy has the best red chile in town according to this year’s Best of Burque Restaurant poll, and it was runner-up for the best green. For a quick, easy and delicious gift, get a few jars of the good stuff for relatives (or yourself), or ship it to that friend who moved to New York and won't stop complaining about how much she misses green chile.