Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Finance Foodie Holiday Gift Guide, Pt. 1: The Five Best NYC Places To Buy Last Minute Gifts 'N Gourmet Goodies!

By: Anne M. Raso

This is the time of year when you want to avoid long lines at all costs, whether you are buying a holiday gift or just trying to bring some nice "eats" over to a friend's house to help celebrate the holidays! Here are FF's Top Picks for easy, breezy holiday buying! All are open late seven days a week!
GUERLAIN POP UP SHOP--in the front of the Waldorf Astoria at the corner of 50th and Park Avenue. This sexy little shop popped up just last week and will be in operation until December 28th. You not only get great mini makeovers (with each makeup artist writing down everything they used on you), but there are numerous Guerlain skincare, cosmetic and fragrance gift sets that will save you tons of money. They are real bargains and the packaging is fantastic! You'll pick up some cool samples with your purchase as well and get special discounts on certain days!
BIRCHBOX MEN'S POP UP SHOP--this is on the northwest corner of Prince Street and Bowery and has the easy-to-remember address of 1 Prince Street. The store will be there through January 4th and not only does it have great men's toiletries as expected, but you can pick up colorful sock sets from Jonathan Adler for only 30 bucks (for three pairs) as well as cashmere sweaters, backpacks and more. If you sign up for a year of Birchbox sampling (12 boxes for $110), you will be given a bonus box in the store! You can also make up your own boxes of five sample products in the front for $10, and some of the samples are quite large!
Paul Frank (photo: red light PR)
PAUL FRANK POP UP STORE--at the Paramount Hotel, 235 West 46th between Broadway and Eighth, through January 30th, 2015. This not only features 100s of Paul Frank items that kids (and adults alike) love but there are constant festivities in the store including do it yourself events. When I went there last week, everyone was invited to put colorful bath salted in Mason Jars (for free). You'll find everything from hoodies to clocks to pencil sets featuring the face of adorable Julius The Monkey and I suggest that in order to find out store events, you check out this page: (all events through the store's tenure in the Paramount are downloadable). Prices are quite reasonable here--most items are $5 to $100 and there are Julius items you cannot get anywhere else.
Grace's Marketplace
GRACE'S MARKETPLACE--northwest corner of 68th and Second--FF was lucky enough to attend their Grand Opening party which gave us time to check out all the Christmas goodies. This store has plenty of checkout counters and you never even have to wait five minutes to check out. It is the definitive "go to" store for gourmand delights. There are plenty of high end chocolate Santas including Neuhaus and Godiva) and Italian pastries worth taking to the relatives' or friends' house over the holidays. Their cannoli and sfogiatelle are only rivaled by those on Arthur Avenue in The Bronx, and you can buy them chocolate-covered or in mini sizes if you prefer!
CORRADO BREAD AND PASTRY--so you are near Bloomingdale's and want a tray of fresh sandwiches or breakfast treats to take to a meeting or a holiday party...Corrado's at 62nd and Lex (960 Lexington) never has a line and they have a huge variety of not only the American classics, but to-die-for croissants and mini-Danish that taste like they were made ten minutes ago. As for their coffees, they are the best in the neighborhood, especially the lattes. You can pick up loaves of homemade bread that are unforgettable--everything from ciabatta to Kalamata olive loaf! If you want a big treat before your New Year diet begins, try the Creme Brulee and Baklava for your finals sugar rush of 2014! My favorite sandwich here is the Ham & Brie--really top notch quality meats and cheeses are used at The Big C!

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