The Shopkeep Gift Guide With Bi-Rite’s Liz Martinez

Bi-Rite's market in the Mission
Bi-Rite’s market in the Mission

This holiday season instead of doing a traditional gift guide, I’ve reached out to my favorite local shop owners to learn what they recommend giving. The retailers stock their respective stores with gorgeous clothing, covetable home goods, sensational spirits, and delicious eats, so naturally they have a knack for selecting the perfect gift. I came up with a list of 10 quintessential SF personalities, from the gentleman farmer to the Color Factory girl, and asked the curator what they would give each unique type. Now through Christmas, I’ll be sharing their gift guides.

Liz Martinez
Liz Martinez

Liz Martinez knows a thing or two about good food. She’s the director of product at the Bi-Rite family of businesses—which includes two wildly popular grocery stores, a creamery (that’s credited with creating the strawberry balsamic flavor), and catering company. Sam Mogannam, the owner of the Bi-Rite describes Martinez like so: “Liz Martinez has been a kick-ass member of the Bi-Rite family for the past 15 years. As the director of product, she has her pulse on literally everything that comes into the markets, the creamery and our catering kitchen. Follow her gift giving advice, and you’ll be the most beloved gift giver this season.” Martinez is a firm believer in supporting local purveyors and farmers as well as esteemed producers from all over the globe. Here, in her own words, are Martinez’s gift suggestions—which double as superb hostess gifts.


The Lady Who Launched: Bubbly of course for your fabulous exploits–Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs ($65), real authentic grower champagne for the real and authentic successful lady, and 100% chardonnay to boot—crisp and bracing, just like you.


The Hoodied Tech Bro: Ditch the Kentucky bourbon and go for the Scotch. Don’t be afraid to pay homage to your Dad’s favorite 5 o’clock tradition—limited edition Bi-Rite Single Barrel “Benrinnes” Speyside single malt ($100)—vintage scotch from 1995, aka AOL dial-up era, bro.


The Fabulous Couple: You’re so fabulous, you even nail Christmas brunch—for you a loaf of farm to market Rum Raisin Almond Stollen and a piece of Vella butter from Mr. Ig Vella of course, in Sonoma, hand-cut by our Bi-Rite cheesemongers in beautiful rustic chunks.


The Cool Mom: Oh, you mean me? Excellent. Cool moms need coffee and lots of it. A flight of Sightglass single origin coffee beans to grind and brew before anyone else in the house is awake. Jared and Justin know how to source and roast killer coffee right here in SF.


The Wine Country Escapists: Well if you’re going to sit in the fall-colored vinous bliss of Sonoma or Napa right now, you need some cheese to go with all that vino. A wheel of Rush Creek Reserve ($30) from Uplands Cheese in Wisconsin, two spoons, clothing optional.


The Budding Mixologist: Though at some point you’ll insist on making your own shrubs, to get started the ones from Dafna Kory at Inna Jam ($15) are awesome. She’s got cute little sampler bottles in Santa Rosa Plum, Marsh Ruby Grapefruit, and Quince—the set would be an awesome addition to the bar.


The Restaurant Hound: Time to do some cooking of your own at home—I’d go for a gift basket of my favorite Japanese cooking essentials—Japan Gold Hot Yuzu Sauce, Furikake (Sansho Pepper for sprinkling on everything), and muso cherrywood Smoked Shoyu Soy Sauce.


The Gentleman Farmer: Hmm, this is a tough one. Probably a big basket of cracked, knobbed pomegranates direct from Balakian Farm in Reedly, CA. The darkest, juiciest pomegranates I’ve ever had. Maybe you’ll decide to leave the farming to the pros and enjoy the time in the sun instead.


The Interior Aesthete: I just think our Japanese whiskeys are not only super tasty—lost in some gorgeous no-man’s land between bourbon and scotch—but they’re beautiful. Channel your inner Bill Murray and proudly display a lovely rectangular shaped bottle of Toki from Suntory Whisky. Make it Suntory times.


The Color Factory Girl: Foods with cool colors are super in right now. I’d gift them the fixings for a colorful Bi-Rite Creamery sundae – charcoal gray black sesame ice cream, Bi-Rite Creamery hot fudge sauce, and State Bird Seed puffed quinoa crunch for a colorful and tasty topping.


Check out the other gift guides in this series! Here’s St. Frank’s Christina Bryant’s suggestions.