Not once in my five and a half years of living in Portland have I ever thought, “Gosh, I wish I knew where I could find some good food around here!” As every insufferable national trend piece will tell you, we’re a veritable foodie mecca. But not every Portland food specialty translates to an ideal holiday gift—a pastrami sandwich from Kenny & Zuke’s might seem like a great gift at the outset, but wait until the grease bleeds through your artisanal wrapping paper!
But there are plenty of local shops here stuffed with packaged food items that will make lovely gifts for the home cook, food snob, or munchie-prone loved one in your life. Here’s a small sampling of those shops—a taster tray, if you will.
Look, there are basically two types of people in this world: Pretty Hot and Super Dill. Oh, did I say person? I meant pickle—at least, those are the two types you’ll find at MoonBrine Shop N’ Snacketeria, a shop meant to satisfy your briniest cravings. (2505 SE 11th, 11 am-3:30 pm Monday-Friday or by appointment.)
Food Fight! Grocery
The only thing more “Portland” than local food is vegan local food, which happens to be Food Fight’s specialty. Here you’ll find a range of delightfully unhealthy vegan junk food and desserts, the perfect stocking stuffers for your favorite herbivore. (1217 SE Stark and 11155 NE Halsey, 9 am-8 pm daily.)
The best edible Christmas gift I ever received was a sample pack of Pok Pok drinking vinegars, which included flavors like basil, tangerine, and ginger. These tart, slightly sweet mixers make great cocktails and mocktails, and will have the instant effect of making you feel like a fancy mixologist. You can pick up a pack of your own at the restaurant. (3226 SE Division, 11:30 am-10 pm daily.)
The last time I visited World Foods, I couldn’t get the Frank Ocean lyric “you made me lose my self-control” out of my head. Frank was presumably singing about some great forbidden love, but I was singing about the unmatched selection of worldly treats and goodies at this local grocery story. I could list them, but what’s the point? You’ve got to go, experience it for yourself, and fill up your cart with presents for your entire family and extended friend group. Oh, and as a bonus, they’ve got a stellar beer selection. (830 NW Everett, daily 8 am-9 pm; 9845 SW Barbur, daily 7 am-10 pm)
Odds and ends:
Kitchen Kaboodle feels like it should be a national big box—but actually, it’s a local big box! And it doesn’t just sell kitchen stuff; it also sells living room stuff, bathroom stuff, bedroom stuff, and even the occasional backyard stuff. Okay, now that we’ve got those misconceptions cleared up, here’s my hard sell on Kitchen Kaboodle: It’s got the ease of a Target or a Walmart in that you can probably find something for all the random relatives on your list—or at least the adult ones (turns out kids don’t love garlic presses!). But because it’s local, you won’t feel like a total asshole about it. (Multiple locations; visit kitchenkaboodle.com for addresses and hours)
Oregon’s cannabis shops are quickly being gobbled up by big, homogenous conglomerates, but La Mota maintains its status as a locally owned chain with a Latinx woman CEO at the helm. And look, it may not be the fanciest pot shop in town—but damnit, it is the most convenient, the friendliest, and the one that will give you the most bang for your buck. Whether you’re looking to buy a shit ton of cheap joints for all your buddies, some top-shelf craft nugs for your favorite cannabis connoisseur, or gummies to help you get through a trip home for the holidays, the folks at La Mota will hook you up, and do it with a smile. (Multiple locations; visit lamota.com for addresses and hours)