Naoko Moore of Echo Park brings in Japanese clay pots from the 180-year-old producer Nagatani-en in Iga, Japan. They're made of heavy clay and have a double lid that captures the steam. Rice cooked in this pot comes out perfect, each grain absolutely distinct, the way it is in a great risotto.
$120 to $325 at Toiro at http://www.toirokitchen.com
AQUARIUM OF THE PACIFIC MEMBERSHIP
If you care about the state of seafood, this is a way to make a difference. The Long Beach aquarium's Seafood for the Future program encourages restaurants to make the right choices. And you can use your membership to go watch the anchovies swimming in circles.
From $55, http://www.aquariumofpacific.org
SUBSCRIPTION TO CANAL HOUSE COOKING
Having trouble finding a food magazine that fits just the way you want to cook? Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton produce three cookbooks a year, full of thoughtfully chosen, absolutely delicious-sounding dishes. And there's no better food photographer than Hirsheimer anywhere.
VEGAN COOKING CLASSES FROM SPORK FOODS
Encourage your friends to eat vegan now and again by giving them a certificate for a vegan cooking class from Spork Foods. Jenny and Heather Goldberg, the sisters who run Spork Foods, know how to keep the lifestyle choice light and accessible for full vegans and dabblers alike.
$65 per person per class, http://www.sporkfoods.com