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The 2021 L.A. TACO Holiday Gift Guide: 23 Present Ideas For Proud Locals

What with all the supply chain issues, inflation, and shit literally “falling off the back of a train,” L.A. TACO is especially concerned this year with taking some of the stress off the consumptionist nightmare known as “the holidays.”

Which is why we’ve combed the city, nay, the very western hemisphere, to find some cool stuff that the people in your life are sure to adore.

We mean everyone. The buddha-heads, the sharp-dressers, the home-cooks, the book-worms, the un-en-hyphenated… everyone.

So take a look at what we’ve found for your consideration in The 2021 L.A. TACO Holiday Gift Guide.

It’s a tin tree ornament that resembles Downtown’s La Plaza de Cultura y Artes. Look close enough and maybe you’ll see the Carlos Almaraz exhibit through the window.

These are beautifully embroidered, Chiapas-made face masks offered by Folk Project, which donates one to someone in need for every purchase. Making all parties feel better about still needing to wear them in the first place.

L.A. hip-hop phenomenon B Real hooked up with G Pen to make this micro vape pen under B’s Dr. Greenthumbs brand. He apparently knows a thing or two about cannabis.

Don’t Fake the Funk” is the autobiography of Zackey Force Funk. It’s just your average tale about a teenager who grows up in a Tucson barrio, gets locked up in maximum-security prison,  goes on to rob drug dealers, sell thousands of records, and then build historic rockets for Space X.

It’s the “Pachuca Journal,” a blank book for your artist, writer, and poet friends with a cover featuring Chicana artist Judy Baca’s “Pachuca” performance piece. Who knows what your generosity may inspire here.

 

How about a shirt from history’s favorite Dodger, Vin Scully, who recently came out with his own brand of merchandise? A 93-year-old ginger has never looked so cool.

Don Chilio makes Sichuan-style chile crisp, only with Mexican flavor profiles. There’s a gift pack with all three flavors: jalapeno, habanero, and serrano. Which they’ll proceed to be put onto anything and everything.

Jewelry from Lagrimas de Oro, handmade “con amor” by an East L.A. local, and including this gold-wrapped, yellow apatite pendant, which offers various healing properties, making it a gift that keeps giving.

Santa Ana’s Alta Baja Market has holiday gift baskets this year. Like this Best of Baja Vino collection, featuring one sparkling, three red, and two white wines from Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe, along with tasting notes and pairing suggestions. That should cover lunch.

We wish Pati Jinich was our mom. She’s the best. Plus, how good would the food be? Until then, we have her brand-new cookbook, Treasures of the Mexican Table, releasing Nov. 23 with recipes from her travels across Mexico. We also have our own moms.

The L.A. Meekly Podcast’s “365 Days of Los Angeles History” calendar will make you aware of important dates from our city’s past, such as the day the Watts Towers were deemed a national historic landmark or the day The Doors released “L.A. Woman.” Which is important to some of us.

JCoco’s Cayenne Veracruz Orange in white chocolate is a 30% West African cacao chocolate bar that sees a portion of proceeds going to fight hunger in the U.S. In other words… it’s a stocking stuffer with a win-win resolution.

Farm-direct, single-origin Latin American coffee beans from El Cielito Cafe in South Gate. Go ahead and grab a bag for yourself while you’re at it.

Help the woke wake-up in the morning with this Knock Out Racism” mug, which comes from anti-racist personal trainer and two-time National Endowment for the Humanities award-winning educator, comedian, and consultant Kanene Holder. Now they’ll have no excuse for not knocking out racism.

Marcela Gomez’s Downey-made “Oh Comadre” candles” come in scents like champurrado, concha, Vick’s VapoRub, Chocolate “Abuelito” and other familiar aromas that may remind you of your childhood. So even if you can’t physically be with your family this year, it’ll still smell like they’re around.

 

It’s a pool float modeled after Bruce, the mechanical shark model used to make Jaws, and it comes from the new Academy Museum’s gift shop. Just think how many “we’re going to need a bigger X” jokes it will inspire.

Secure them a first-edition of “Park View,” by L.A. TACO photojournalist and reporter Lexis-Olivier Ray, featuring three years of his full-color 35mm photography shot in MacArthur Park. His online shop also has dope “Shot on 35mm” hoodies for your favorite shutterbug.

We all love Danny Trejo’s beautiful mug. But the The Trejo’s Tacos Holiday Bundle, with a signed copy of the Trejo’s Tacos Cookbook, hot sauce, house blend whole bean coffee, canvas tote bag, and $50 gift card to Trejo’s Tacos, just screams “perfect for Dad” to us.

MXXN is a cannabis cocktail mixer. It’s booze-free but loaded with THC, in flavors that mimic tequila, whiskey, and gin, so you can make cocktails that taste familiar, but pack a whole different kind of buzz.

The Buddy is a stylish one-hitter from WOC-owned Budwell. It can be personalized with laser etching, is unbreakable, and comes in a brand-new Buddy Gold edition with a tumbled brass tip, airtight, odor-proof carrying case, an ash cap, and cleaning wand. Wait, we want one.

Handmade hats by Gilberto Marquez’s Pachuco Supply Co. For something really special, get them a “custom hat gift box” including palo santo, a measuring kit, and a consultation with Marquez that results in their own personalized hat.

Tanteo Navidad is a new añejo from the only tequila distillery “owned by its co-op of agave farmers.” It comes hand-infused with nutmeg, ginger, clove, cocoa beans, pequin chiles, and cinnamon, so it already sounds better than eggynog. Also, 10% of all sales profits go to Un Salto Con Destino, which provides essential medical services to Jalisco’s El Salto community. Seriously though, what the fuck is eggnog?

And don’t forget to buy merchandise and gift cards from our local taqueros and restaurants. They make great gifts. We don’t know anybody who wouldn’t smile wide upon unwrapping a Birria Nochistlán hat or shirt from Evil Cooks or Balam.

And we’d never want to, now that we think about it.

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