We’re surrounded by one-of-a-kind gifts right here at the beach

December 17, 2021

Y’never know what’ll hit a nerve. Even after 11 years of scribbling on these pages, I still can’t predict with any certainty what will create a buzz, and … well, what won’t. A few weeks ago I suggested that (local!) restaurant gift cards would make wonderful holiday gifts. By midday on that fateful Friday, I was flooded with responses from readers telling me how they loved the idea. In fact, a number of Cape Region businesses even bought multiple cards from multiple restaurants to create one-of-a-kind dining experience gift baskets for clients. Now that’s what I call a buzz.

This week it’s all about “regular” gifts you can buy locally to wow your preferred giftees. Note the use of the word “locally.” Life has been difficult for all small businesses, so why not keep your money in town by supporting our entrepreneurial friends and neighbors? So here goes:

Think (waaayyy!) off the beaten path with a gift for your comic enthusiast who also likes to eat. Ogre’s Grove in Milton has access to a surprising selection of food-themed comic books. Collectibles include a series written by late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. Titillating titles include “Hungry Ghosts” and “Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi.” There are lots of surprises waiting at the tiny, yet enchanting Ogre’s Grove.

Just east of Indigo Indian Restaurant in downtown Rehoboth is the Spice & Tea Exchange. I love that you can buy as little or as much as you want. Rehoboth Foodie pick hits include the Steakhouse Spice Blend, the Pirate’s Bite mix and the Kahuna Garlic Salt Spice Blend.

Kitchen & Company near Lewes is a home cook’s Disneyland. Make him or her smile with a half-dozen quarter-sheet aluminum pans (oh, they’ll find a use for them!). Just up the road a bit, caffeine lovers will be stimulated by an assortment of La Colombe coffees from Kaisy’s Delights. Make your gift the best part of waking up.

Personal experiences make great gifts. Snag your beloved a fun local tour! You can gift five local restaurants with an restaurant tour, or perhaps stroll through Lewes’ Beach Time Distilling (next door to Keith Irwin’s Old World Breads). Just up the road in Milton is the Dogfish Head Brewery/Distillery with a variety of tours that can be booked online. Speaking of unique experiences, treat your favorite foodie to a reservations-only Paella Feast at Café Azafrán on Baltimore Avenue. They happen weekly in the summer, but pop up from time to time in the off-season. I announce them at

Is the target of your affections a BBQ lover? Present a potpourri of smoky tastes with custom-made sauces and rubs available at Bethany Blues. Throw in some of Blues’ cleverly designed apparel. Speaking of spice, if your significant fresser likes it hot, then is the place to be. Chip Hearn (never without his sense of humor) has come up with, shall we say … adult-themed … gift packs of selected hot sauces. Simply log on to, click “gift ideas” and “gift sets.” They’ll do the work for you.

Mauria Stein is downsizing at Stuart Kingston Gallery on the Boardwalk, and she’s in a dealin’ mood! From beautiful carpets to unusual furniture to jewelry, you never know what you’ll find. Move quickly before she reopens at her new location! Speaking of distinctive gifts, Tideline Gallery on Rehoboth Avenue sparkles with original artwork in all sorts of media. I’ve still got original pieces around the house that I bought long before I even thought of moving here.

Aladdin Market in downtown Rehoboth is packed with uncommon bites for the internationally inclined. My pick hits are the Beirut brand tahini (the best around for good hummus, trust me!) and the Sultan brand stuffed grape leaves (dolmas to the Greeks, warak enab to our Lebanese friends).

Gift-giving this year should be all about shopping local. Hardships continue to be foisted upon our friends and neighbors who own small businesses, so let’s chip in to help the ones who have managed to keep the lights on. Your reward will be a treasure trove of distinctive goodies that you won’t find in box stores. What better way to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

  • So many restaurants, so little time! Food writer Bob Yesbek gives readers a sneak peek behind the scenes, exposing the inner workings of the local culinary industry, from the farm to the table and everything in between. He can be reached at

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