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December 2012
Unique Hostess Gifts
by Cocktails and Joints

Forgo the vino. Bag the blossoms. This party season, instead come bearing gifts that spice up your host’s holidays. With goodies like sake sets, skull bracelets and graceful bamboo tote umbrellas, you’ll definitely be on the guest list for next year’s shindigs.

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December 2012
The Coolest Naughty Gifts
of 2012

Go ahead, encourage the naughty. And do it with style! Start here with these ten inspired and (mostly) affordable gift ideas for everyone on your list, from your dorky co-worker to your hipster nephew. Not only will recipients appreciate the token, they’ll enjoy getting a little irreverent.

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December 2012
NYC's The Mark Restaurant's
Truffle Indulgence

The Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges on Madison Avenue in New York City will fulfill your sense of luxurious eating from breakfast to late night dinner with a classic European menu from the renowned chef. Now the fine dining establishment is ready to indulge you with your own private party.

Enjoy truffle season with a private dinner for up to 20 guests. A multi-course menu will be prepared featuring the delicacy. The Mark Restaurant sommelier will select wines for you from their award-winning wine list as you will watch truffles shaved right on to your plate.

To book your private truffle dinner, contact the restaurant’s Special Events Manager at (212) 606-3182.

December 2012
From Boston to Chicago:
Pop-Up Shops to Warm on a Winter’s Day

Pop-up shops in front of hotels and restaurants are becoming a popular way to integrate the seasons without having to completely re-do a menu. In Boston and Chicago, three hotels have found a way to keep customers warm from the outside.

At Boston’s Revere, “Pop it Like it’s Hot,” a hot chocolate venue will be available on Friday afternoons through December 21st. Executive Chef Bader Ali (with chocolate from Somerville’s Taza) has created interesting flavors such as maple bacon, ginger white chocolate and meringue brulee to keep you toasty on the inside. The drinks are free, though it is suggested you donate to The Home for Little Wonderers.

Also in Beantown, the Mandarin Oriental has The Parlor from 2:00-6:00 pm daily, where you can get Oralia’s Homemade Real Hot Chocolate and Old Fashioned New England Hot Cider, along with pastries and tea sandwiches. For those who wish to imbibe, try the Scotch Toddy with Johnny Walker Black and Domaine de Canton.

At the entrance to J Bar in The James Hotel in Chicago you can warm up with a different hot chocolate each week thanks to Executive Pastry Chef Jove Hubbard. Treats such as Hot Milk Chocolate with Pumpkin and Spiced Marshmallows are available Fridays (from 3:00 to 5:00).

December 2012
St. Lucia | Chocolate Filled
Luxury in Paradise

The luxurious Jade Mountain Resort in St. Lucia will be holding their 4th Annual Chocolate Festival December 14-18. The four day event will include chocolate themed dinners, massages, cooking classes and picnics.

This is not the only chance guests have for a chocolate experience at Jade Mountain. The resort now has its own estate-grown chocolate. They are growing cacao trees (over 1,000) at the Anse Mamin Plantation and Emerald Estate. Consulting Chef Allen Susser and Executive Chef Jonathan Dearden are ready to use the first produced cacao in everything from fondues to truffles.

In addition to a huge supply of chocolate, the 600-acre Jade Mountain estate includes private infinity pools and breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea.

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