For Valentine’s Day this year we created a gift guide pairing our items with items sold by some of our favorite downtown shops in New York. We’ve become friends with most of the shop owners over the years; people who, like us, share a certain obsession for one thing. We are lucky to have gleaned a lot of unique knowledge from them, and wanted to share that knowledge with you all, in the form of a downtown gift guide. We’ve made a map of all our favorite local places so if you’re in lower Manhattan you can easily chart your journey from us to them, and hopefully find yourself a perfectly paired gift for a loved one or explore somewhere special you’ve never been before. Enjoy!
1. Jicon Octagonal Plates + Mochi Rin Gift Box
Mochi Rin is without a doubt our favorite mochi in the city. It’s silky, and squishy, but never too soft. We’ve had Fujiko cater our events before and are forever grateful to her for sharing such delicious desserts. She makes all of the mochi by hand, filling them with fresh seasonal ingredients which is best enjoyed the day of. Be sure to order in advance as you’ll have to pick them up at her and her husband’s photo studio in Tribeca. We’ve eaten a lot of this mochi ourselves, and found it to be most beautifully complimented by the Jicon Octagonal Petal Dish Set.
2. Masanobu Ando Flower Teacup and Saucer + Astor Wines & Spirits Hot Toddy Bourbon
It’s no secret that February in New York can turn anyone into a homebody. Sometimes instead of trekking through the frigid cold to a speakeasy or cocktail bar it feels so much better to stay in and make a warm drink for you and your partner. The Hot Toddy has become our mainstay for these cozy nights at home. Mixing King’s County Straight Bourbon from Astor Wines, a bit of honey, lemon juice, and hot water together in Masanobu Ando’s Chrysanthemum Teacups makes for a beautiful and comforting gift. Naturally the teacups are also great for a cup of coffee the next morning.
3. Kamawanu Tenugui Cloths + Dashwood Books
Sometimes we find ourselves searching for a gift for a new partner, or friend on Valentine’s day, questioning if it’s too personal, or not personal enough. Miwa at Dashwood will pile fantastic rare and out of print photo books by photographers like Saul Leiter in front of you, pouring over image after image until you find the one that’s just right. Our selection of Tenugui Cloths make for unique—and quick— personal furoshiki wrapping, that can later be used as a bandana or handkerchief!
4. Nalata Nalata x Pat Kim Mother of Pearl Caviar Scoop + Russ & Daughters Caviar
Occasionally we all need a little bit of luxury. Admittedly, this sentiment lingered longer than it should have for us when we discovered the caviar from Russ & Daughters. We became so hooked on it that we actually designed this Caviar utensil collection with our friend Pat Kim to eat it with. Add some other fantastic treats—we like the candied orange peels— from around the multi-generational specialty food shop and you and your partner are in for delicious indulgence.
5. Nalata Nalata Wood Cup + Gasoline Alley Coffee Beans
This wooden cup and a bag of Intelligentsia coffee beans from our go-to neighborhood coffee shop, Gasoline Alley Coffee, makes for a beautiful and understated upgrade to anyone’s morning routine. Even morning’s spent at home will have the distinct feeling and taste of a cup of third wave New York coffee.
6. Norio Tanno Tea Case + Té Company Tea
We’ve become obsessed with Té Company over the years. Their West Village storefront is marked only with a small teapot printed on their window. Inside is an extensive selection of tea, and incredibly knowledgeable staff. We discovered the Oriental Beauty Tea there, and cannot recommend it more.
7. Uchino Air Waffle Bathrobe + Great Jones Spa Gift Certificate
Great Jones Spa offers for natural and invigorating full body, and facial treatments. Their body scrubs are a fantastic gift for your partner and will leave their skin feeling silky smooth. The Air Waffle Bathrobe from Uchino is light and cozy, and a great way to extend the relaxation of the spa a little further into your partner’s life.
8. Shotoku Usuhari Glass Sake Set + Sakaya Sake
Our friends Hiroko and Rick at Sakaya have something perfect for everyone. Whether a long-time connoisseur or new enthusiast of sake they’ll guide you towards a perfect match for your partner’s palate.
9. Nalata Nalata x John Medley Shaker Box + Stick With Me Caramels
The sweets from Stick With Me have become a bit of a classic for us. They’re known for their hand painted bon bons but we’re also a fan of their caramels. They’re undoubtedly delicious and not overwhelmingly sweet. This gets a little dangerous for anyone with a sweet tooth, but we think they’re well worth it. They pair beautifully with our Maple Wood Shaker Boxes which can be used and treasured long after the caramels run out.
10. Kohchosai Kosuga Mayu Bamboo Flower Basket + Adore Floral Bouquet
We’ve been fans of Adore ever since we first walked in. Their flowers are so vibrant and their staff so knowledgable that waking out with anything is a sure fire hit. We’ve started getting their bouquets arranged in Mayu Flower Baskets and can’t recommend the combination enough. The basket’s woven frame bring an extra element of texture to any arrangement, and can help elevate even a few stems to a new level of beauty. If you really want to go all out, and your partner is flower obsessed, a class with Junko at Ikebana Evolved is a great way to dive even deeper into flower arranging.
Photography | Owen Smith-Clark
Map Illustration | Derek Zheng
Special thanks to | Mochi Rin, Astor Wines & Spirits, Dashwood Books, Russ & Daughters, Gasoline Alley Coffee, Té Company, Great Jones Spa, Sakaya, Stick With Me and Adore Floral