Shop Talk : Guess what's coming for dinner
Your friend calls and says she is having a small impromptu dinner, or maybe people you don't know well have included you on their party list. What to bring to the hosts when you want to be original and appropriate and don't have a lot of time to bake bread or whip up some homemade candy, or when you want to be more creative than just bringing a bottle of wine wrapped in ribbons and tin foil?
We aren't all Martha Stewarts who can pull off the ultimate gift in less than 30 minutes. So for those of us that want to show we care, or show we're clever, yet don't have time to invest, here are a few sure bets.
Recent visits to Rainy Day, Bowl & Board, and LeRoux on Main Street in Vineyard Haven, have so many smart, practical and reasonably priced items to fit the occasion.
Bowl & Board has more choices than you can shake a bottle of Chianti at: candleholders, Eco Twine coasters (a set of four, $12), colorful ceramic colanders ($15), even World Music CDs ($16) - perfect for contributing to the party atmosphere.
Whether its decorative cocktail napkins, wine glass charms, smartly designed utensils, or glassware, the hostess gifts from Rainy Day practically guarantee you'll be invited back. And if you're too rushed to think about it, the store has a table stacked with perfect choices. There's a wine tote ($15), a decorative cheese board ($17. 95), and custom designed Vineyard wine stoppers ($29.95), in addition to candles, serving dishes, and scented soaps.
Recently, when I was doing a little last-minute shopping for something to bring to a cocktail party the following evening, I came across beautiful set of glasses that had images of the Vineyard etched into the glass - classy yet with personal meaning.
LeRoux is the perfect stop for a small something for the house. There are shelves of gourmet salts, spices, and honey-toasted nuts ($5.99), oven mitts that look like hand puppets ($7.99), decorative cocktail napkins ($4.99), fanciful magnets (some for $6.99) and serving dishes with nautical themes. Aha - a great, practical gift: a red wine stain remover (two sizes, $5.99 and $8.99).
Well, now that I have spent my last few minutes of spare time writing this, I am off to Your Market to grab a bottle of wine to bring to a dinner party - after all we can still mix it up.
Email Katie Brewer at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions.