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Modern Eating

Create a sparkling holiday table for a smaller celebration

There’s no getting around it; our holidays will look different this year. Celebrations will be smaller and gatherings more intimate — if they happen at all. But regardless of whether you’re planning a dinner for two or for a few more, there’s no reason why it can’t be special. Maybe this year you’ll add a few extra flourishes to make your holiday table shine, because now more than ever, we could use some good cheer. 

While the larger grocery store chains offer plenty in the way of holiday fare and decor, the smaller neighborhood shops are where you’ll find unique items from centerpieces to special wines, cheeses, desserts, and more to jazz up your celebration.

SAY IT WITH FLOWERS

Flowers, either a simple bouquet or an elegant centerpiece, are the perfect way to dress up your table. Fiori (2314 Chestnut Street, 415-346-1100, fiori.com) offers beautiful fresh, seasonal, and tasteful wrapped flowers that you can order online for curbside pickup, and if desired, work directly with their personal design consultant to develop an original floral arrangement to suit your tastes. 

The Bud Stop (2200 Union Street, 415-931-1835, thebudstoponline.com), reminiscent of a Parisian sidewalk stand, sells fresh, premium flowers at affordable prices. Its florists will help you select or create a bouquet or centerpiece that you’ll be proud to display as part of our holiday decor.

SAY CHEESE

If you plan to serve cheese, some of the city’s finest specialty cheese purveyors are nearby. Cheese Plus (2001 Polk Street, 415-921-2001, cheeseplus.com) has expert cheesemongers to help you create a cheese or charcuterie platter with a complement of smoked and cured meats. You’ll also find specialty items including Tuscan extra-virgin olive, local honey, culinary condiments and spices, imported truffles, fruit preserves, and craft beers. A wine specialist can help navigate their impressive selection of wines.

The Cheese School of San Francisco (900 North Point Street, 415-346-7530, thecheeseschool.com) is another great resource for the best domestic and imported cheeses as well as fine wine and cheese and charcuterie platters. To really jazz up your table, order a multitiered cheese “cake” made from whole wheels of handmade, artisan cheese stacked to resemble a traditional layer cake. Set up, delivery, and decoration are also available. 

GOURMAND GO-TOS

If you are planning to cook, local choices abound for meat, fish, produce, and other treats. Marina Meats (2395 Chestnut Street, 415-673-6700) is a reliable source of high-end meat, chicken, and fresh fish. Its expert butchers are happy to explain different cuts of meat and to offer preparation tips.

At Luke’s Local (2190 Union Street, [email protected], lukeslocal.com), you’ll also find a personal touch for sweets like Baci Perugina chocolates or entrées like fresh or smoked turkeys, prepared foods, and seasonal produce. On Luke’s app, you can choose from any of the market’s products including complete prepared meals and pick them up or have them delivered. 

Real Food Company (2140 Polk Street, 415-673-7420, realfoodco.com), another full-service market, is stocked with specialty foods, fresh meat and fish, organic, seasonal produce, natural health and wellness products, and more, many sourced from local farmers and producers. Place your holiday special orders in advance. 

The iconic Little City Market (1400 Stockton Street, 415-986-2601) is an old-school butcher shop run by father-and-son Mike and Ron Spinali. You’ll find more than 30 types of sausage, a full meat case, house-made meatballs, and other Italian specialties.

For unique artisan products, look to The Epicurean Trader (1909 Union Street, 888-504-8118, theepicureantrader.com). Devoted entirely to small-batch products with natural ingredients like craft spirits, organic and sustainable wines, farmstead cheeses and charcuterie, unique chocolates, coffees, and teas, you’ll also find unusual spices and oils.

DELECTABLE DESSERTS

When it comes to dessert, round out your meal without a lot of fuss. Le Marais Bakery (2066 Chestnut Street, 415-359-9801, lemaraisbakery.com) crafts luscious pastries and desserts with both local and French butters and other organic, locally sourced ingredients. Special holiday desserts include Parisian vanilla flan, apple tarte Normande, and more. 

For cupcakes, cookies, holiday cakes, and other sweets, check out SusieCakes (2109 Chestnut Street, 415-474-2253, susiecakes.com) or Kara’s Cupcakes (3249 Scott Street, 415-563-2253, karascupcakes.com). Colorful treats will definitely please the younger members of your crew and lend just the right touch of color and whimsy to your feast.

The year is almost over, and everyone is eagerly looking forward to a better 2021. But for now, stay close to home, mask up, and take advantage of convenient neighborhood shops to provide everything you need to make this holiday season both savory and sweet.

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