Last minute holiday gifts with New Orleans food | Where NOLA Eats


If you’re still trying to get gifts for people on your list this year, well, you’re just like me. Maybe also those people on your list having an abiding interest in food and drink. I am here to help with ideas for places to find something appealing, thoughtful and with a high certainty of being put to use by the recipient.

At this point, who needs another electronic gizmo or superfluous garment when you could have some tasty specialty food, a needed implement for an avid cook or a nice bottle of something elegant, strong or both?

Coutelier is a culinary shop that specializes in high-end chef knifes, including many from traditional, family run makers in Japan. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, | The Times-Picayune)

Oh yes and if you’re also like me, shopping for others is best done with a little something for yourself. So I’m rounding up local wine shops where you can get a glass to sip while you shop.

Read on:


A wall of wine at the Independent Caveau NOLA, a wine bar and wine shop in New Orleans. The intricate box wine displays were crafted by local design Matthew Holdren.  (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, | The Times-Picayune)

The Independent Caveau NOLA

1226 S White St., 504-702-8033

There are plenty of places to get wine, and these days (happily) more places with distinctive selections of small producers and quality labels. None, though, is quite like this stylish wine den, well hidden behind the Mossy Motors car dealership (and near the Restaurant Depot for another compass point). Between the wine racks up front and the wine bar in back, the Independent is teeming with delicious specialty foods, starting with a case stacked with some of the best cheese and charcuterie you’ll find around here, and running though imported chocolate and preserved seafood.

coutelier 11.jpeg

Jacqueline Blanchard displays a blade at Coutelier, the culinary shop she co-founded that specializes in high-end chef knifes, including many from traditional, family run makers in Japan. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, | The Times-Picayune)


8600 Oak St., 504-475-5606

With a highly-selected collection of knives, Coutelier has been a hub for restaurant professionals and serious home cooks, who recognize the value of a knife that can play a role in their kitchens for a lifetime. The store recently expanded at a new location on Oak Street (close to the original) and its selection has grown with specialty loose teas, imported condiments, sauces and other pantry items and the brands and types of kitchen tools the chefs used at high-end restaurant kitchens.


Keife & Co. in downtown New Orleans is known for its specialty spirits and liqueur selection as well as its wine. (Staff photo Ian McNulty, | The Times-Picayune)

Keife & Co.

801 Howard Ave., 504-523-7272

Though primarily a wine shop, with excellent selections around its library-like racks and a with a strong array of charcuterie and cheese, Keife & Co. is also an invaluable source for specialty ingredients for the cocktail lovers in your life. Bottles from artisan distillers and single-barrel projects, a lush array of specialty liqueurs and bitters and many types of amaro make this a place where you could stock your own craft cocktail bar.

Seeking 'the best tamales in the world'; thrifty deals on cookware at Seasoned: Exchange Alley

Seasoned sells used cookware from pots and pans to mixers and slow cookers. (Judy Walker, | The TImes-Picayune)


3828 Dryades St.

I don’t know why anyone would give up their old cast iron, but they must have their reasons and you can be the beneficiary. There’s lots of heritage cookware (including old black pots and skillets) to be had at this second-hand culinary shop. They call it “experienced cookware,” which rings true; between the vintage tools and etched glasses and odd utensils that fit in your hand just they way you remember, it can also be a trove of memories and thoughtfully personal gifts specifically tied to the kitchens of our pasts.


Staff photo by Ian McNulty 504 Craft Beer Reserve is a specialty beer store and taproom on Tulane Avenue in New Orleans.

504 Craft Beer Reserve

3939 Tulane Ave., 504-875-3723

Though it was closed for a long stretch earlier this year, the return of 504 Craft Beer Reserve restores a clubhouse for specialty beer, all with its own taproom in the unlikely setting of a former bank branch. The shelves and coolers are filled with a curated range of brews, along with some spirits and wine. For beer lovers, one nice bottle goes a long way toward stuffing a stocking.


Mary’s French Quarter Kitchen & Bath is a specialty shop for home cooks above the Mary’s Ace hardware store. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, | The Times-Picayune)

Mary’s French Quarter Kitchen & Bath

723 N. Rampart St., 504-529-4465

Head upstairs from the French Quarter’s resiliently, refreshing old fashioned hardware store Mary’s Ace and you find what feels like a homegrown version of a Williams-Sonoma store. It’s a showroom gleaming with Mauveil copper cookware, the crayon-box colors of Le Creuset enameled Dutch ovens, the sparkle of Riedel wine glasses and decanters and bright splays of Wusthof knives. There’s also a specialty in supplies for home-based makers, with mason jars for pickling, small bottles for hot sauce and such.

Treat yourself


Faubourg Wines opened in 2012 as a wine shop along St. Claude Avenue and has grown into a neighborhood hub for shopping and socializing.

While we’re on the topic of shopping, if your rounds bring you to a local wine shop, consider taking a little time for a round for yourself. A number of local wine shops have their own in-house wine bars, which brings a fun way to multitask some holiday shopping with socializing (I can confirm this works year-round, by the way).

Above, I mentioned the wine bar at the Independent and the taproom at 504 Craft Beer Reserve.

Here are other shops with in-house bars to sip and shop:

Faubourg Wines, 2805 St. Claude Ave.

Swirl Wine Bar & Market, 3143 Ponce de Leon St

Next to Nothing Wines, 3928 Euphrosine St. (tucked within the ArtEgg Studio complex)

Second Vine Wine, 4212 Magazine St., 504-354-9125

Martin Wine Cellar, 3827 Baronne St.,504-899-7411 and 714 Elmeer Ave., Metairie, 504-896-7300

One hybrid is also Stained Glass Wine Bar (201 Huey P. Long Ave. 504-259-4050) in downtown Gretna, which uses self-serve dispensers for people to sample wines (along with beer and spirits) in tasting-sized pours, and sells wine retail as well.

Holiday grocery shopping is serious business, and New Orleanians have their own game plans well established.

Whenever I make an airport run these days, my eyes are peeled for good places to eat.

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