Sip your way to exotic lands with the aid of the Tea Traveler, assembled by Harney & Sons. The box contains three packets of loose Asian tea: Assam black, traditional Chinese green and Chinese green blended with citrus and orange blossoms. The box lid provides brewing instructions for each, along with a map of the Asian tea-growing regions. Then you leap to Europe for a non-tea tea from Vienna. This one is composed of dried fruits, rose hips and other non-caffeine components.
The Tea Traveler is $25; available at Williams Sonoma until Christmas.
Paging Dr. Fraiser Crane
These wooden cubes with food words on them would make a great present for a precocious foodie child--or for a playful foodie grown-up.
Words Cubed is $28 at the Los Angeles Central Library Gift Shop, downtown Los Angeles.
The Dinner Party Game
Decipher, the company that invented the How to Host a Murder party game, has a new one that is basically how to host a dinner party without having to do any of the cooking yourself. You invite 6 to 12 guests who are willing to play (this may be the hard part) and buy the ingredients on the provided shopping list. Then the guests form two teams, which get assigned ingredients at random. Their assignment is to produce a credible meal out of them--without any recipes--then vote on the best (and worst) efforts. Comes with invitations, aprons, chef's hats and tapes of ethnic music; in Mexican, Chinese and Italian cuisine versions.
Stir Crazy! is $30 at the Game Keeper in Santa Monica or Game Trends in Pasadena; or call (800) 654-3939 for a store near you.