Cleveland Independents, the organization for locally owned restaurants, has the perfect gift for the foodie on your list. The Deck is a collection of $10 gift certificates for 52 different Northeast Ohio restaurants, each the size and shape of a playing card. Participants include Bistro 185, fire food & drink, Luxe Kitchen, One Walnut, Tremont Tap House, Vue and the Woods. The entire deck — packaged in a cool little box to complete the effect — is just $29.95. For details and ordering, visit CI's web site, clevelandindependents.com, and click the "CI Deck" link on the left side.
Fear not, local food fans: Some farmers markets will carry on through the winter. The North Union Farmers Market at Shaker Square (Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon) continues through December 12. The indoor market will begin on January 9, in the same location as last year, on the Square's northeast quadrant, just west of the CVS. Hors: 9 a.m.-noon. Visit shakersquare.net/farmersmarket-indoors.htm for more info. And for tips on what will be in season, check northunionfarmersmarket.org/season.html. The Tremont Farmers Market (Tuesdays, 4-7 p.m.) has already moved indoors to Pilgrim Church, 2592 W. 14th St. For details call 216.575.0920. Local Food Cleveland (localfoodcleveland.org), "an online social network for everyone who is passionate about growing a thriving local food economy and culture around Cleveland," lists retailers who stock local produce year-round.
Sad news for fans of Christopher's Aurora Bistro, from chef Christopher Shydlowski: "I wish this letter could be just about how I love serving the people that come to Christopher's, but I regret to inform you that as of Nov. 30, 2009 we will be forced to close our doors. I will be working at a new restaurant opening in early- to mid-December in Hudson called Gusto de Italiano [in the Acme plaza on Route 303]. ... The menu will consist of pasta and classic Italian dishes, of course, with a touch of Christopher. We will also have steaks and lots of seafood. There will be a full bar, separate from the main dining room, and two small private dining rooms .... I am pleased to inform you that my future employer has graciously agreed to honor any gift cards that you or your friends and family have purchased from us. We will honor all outstanding gift cards until the end of June, 2010. It has been a wonderful experience and was our pleasure having you dine with us. I look forward to cooking for you again in my new restaurant."