Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are over but Christmas and New Year’s loom ahead. While New Yorkers love to explore the restaurant offerings of the city, these holidays, in particular, represent times to stay at home away from the crowds. And that means creating the perfect dinner or party for friends and family. Fortunately, if you’re not as talented at the Iron Chef or you just don’t have the space or desire to cook up yet another mega-meal, you can pretty much have anything you’d like delivered to you from around the corner or around the globe. From Manhattan dessert treats and traditional ethnic dishes to the finest Alaskan seafood to Spanish wines and oils, you’ll enjoy global treats that will make your Christmas and New Year’s galas a “meal to remember.”
Here are some of my favorites:
For all your champagne and other alcoholic beverage needs, the super-knowledgeable folks at Premier Cru will help you decide on the best pairings for your meal. Buy a case and get a discount. Can’t decide between red and white wines? No worries — you can create a mixed case that will satisfy everyone. Champagnes, cavas, proseccos and other bubblys are also available. 1163 Madison Avenue, 212.534.6709. www.premiercruwine.com
Lovely Yura has been cooking up a storm ever since I can remember at her wonderful takeout food and coffee shop on the Upper East Side. The good news is that her prepared foods can be ordered in advance and delivered directly to your door to create a fine dining meal from soup to dessert. The kids will love the turkey pinwheels, finger food that makes eating turkey fun, and the mini cupcakes that come in a variety of flavors. Personally, I am addicted to Yura’s butternut squash soup, her chicken soup with matzoh balls, her brisket and roast chicken, and her many side dishes. Try the Brussels sprouts with chipped garlic, or the French green beans prepared with slivered almonds. Forget about calories and order a pile of the richest mashed potatoes you’ll find anywhere. Add a delicious cake or a pile of black and white cookies for dessert, and you have a classic New York City meal to warm your soul. 1292 Madison Avenue, 212.860.1707, www.yuraonmadison.com.
Anyone who visits Manhattan knows that Zabar’s is a must-visit, one-stop shop for all deli items. And now’s the perfect time to order goodies for Christmas, from main courses like roasted turkeys and sides such as honey roasted yams, to typical Zabar’s treats like rugelach, herring in sour cream, smoked salmon and bagels (for your post-Christmas brunch), or their famous coffee beans. For New Year’s Eve, you’ll find a wonderful selection of caviar as well. You can pore through their many holiday baskets at their site at www.zabars.com, visit at 2245 Broadway, or call 800-697-6301 for help in selecting the perfect individualized menu.
For sweeter treats to indulge yourself or your friends & family, Cookie Panache is a solid go-to. Its bestsellers include the likes of Dulce de Leche and Red Velvet Vanilla chewy cookies, as well as Brownie and Blondie bites. Perfect for special occasion planning, the website filters results based on the event theme. From birthday gifts, to thank you acknowledgements, to get-well-soon packages, a wide range of sweet snacks are available. Located in Manhattan, this gourmet bakery hits all the right sweet-tooth chords. Order at www.cookiepanache.com.
If you salivate over tapas from Barcelona or olive oils that are some of the freshest in the world (my favorite is the very grassy Arbequina), you’ll want to know about DeliShop. This Spanish food shop features everything from the finest of Spanish cooking oils to essential pastas, sauces, spices and more. Not only does Delishop deliver to your door after just a few online clicks, but it also has an extensive list of traditional recipes for make-it-yourself world cuisine. Some Spanish favorites include a classic paella entrée, típico cocktails and the ever-delicious tres leche cake. Although not limited to those found in Spanish meals, selections largely draw upon an Iberian-based diet of oil, seafood, starch and more oil. DeliShop also offers cooking classes at its four Barcelona locations, a potential vacation activity for the foodies and cravers of a bit of onsite Spanish culture. Check out recipes, locations and food order options at www.delishop.es.
There are no false promises when it comes to Wisconsin’s delivering as the Dairy State, especially when it comes to its selections of meat and cheeses. Figi’s has specialized in this combination of smokehouse favorites since 1944. The variety packs are a definite win if you’re looking for a mix of new and old tastes, combining the best of all flavors into an assortment of snack-sized cuts of Colby-Jack and Cheddar cheeses, Smokehouse Summer Sausages, and buttery Cashew and Mixed Nut Add-ins among others. Try the salami- or bacon-flavored cheese if you’re feeling daring. Order at www.figis.com.
Sick of the grocery store’s mediocre seafood section of same-old, sad hunks of fish? Alaska wants to change all that. From Halibut to King Crab, Snow Crab, Shrimp, Scallops, Smoked Salmon, Rockfish, Sablefish, Black Cod and more, you’ll love the choices Coal Point Seafood offers. Fare is purchased directly from Alaskan fishermen and shipped to your door. Coal Point even has a same-day-caught-blast-frozen policy! You can choose from individual samplers to variety packs, and different ounce options are available. Halibut is the Alaskan fish of choice, so that is always a good start if you’re not sure what to buy. Order at www.welovefish.com or call 1-800-325-3877 to order direct.