Looking good deals on holiday culinary gifts? Or, just looking for something unique to give to your foodie friend (in hopes of a fine meal in return) as a gift? Aside from the usual big name department stores, the Kalamazoo/Portage area offer some choices.
W J Upson Wine Merchant
3817 S. Westnedge Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
This retailer prides itself on being unique and quirky. Their tag line is “It’s like a culinary day spa” — which sums it up perfectly. If you drove by it, you wouldn’t notice it. It’s a yellow “house” looking building with a storefront that you would tend to ignore. Once you enter the store, you may be a bit overwhelmed with the clutter, but then you find yourself getting lost in the enormous selection of fine culinary goods. They offer fine wines, delicious cheeses, on site roasted coffees, cookware and kitchen gadgets, and a great, helpful, friendly staff.
Their prices tend to be on the higher end, but you feel so welcomed, that you don’t mind paying a premium.
Cost Plus World Market
6601 South Westnedge Avenue
Portage, MI 49002-3544
Although, it’s technically a chain store, it is great store for finding unique items. They have a great selection of kitchen items — from serving plates, glassware, dishes to unique spices and dry goods. A person can get lost for hours in this store just walking around and looking at the unusual and globally inspired offerings.
Their black friday pricing is within its current ad, but they are offering discount roasters, chargers, decanters and candles. Additionally, you can find brine mixes for your turkey, roasted chestnuts from France, spices from around the world, and unique scones mixes.
12970 Prospect Street
Dearborn, MI 48126-3656
12665 S. Pulaski Road
Alsip, IL 60803
Yes, you will have to travel for these to Restaurant Depot, but it is well worth it. Imagine a big package store, but purely emphasizing on cooks, chefs and restaurants. They claim its “Where Restaurants Shop”, and you do need a member to get in there, but it is truly a culinarian’s dream.