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Best Bets

Leather stacking trays; festive gift wraps for wine; a duct-tape wallet


Vintage Fashion

Bringing a bottle to a party can be a matter of etiquette -- or it can be fabulous. To make your offerings sparkle, dress them as festively as you would yourself. SouthSide Greetings has created kits of wrap-dress-like outfits for wine bottles. Each includes paper (there are dozens of styles to choose from), coordinating tissue, and raffia ribbon ($4–$6).
Broadway Panhandler
477 Broome Street
Homefront Hardware
202 East 29th Street
202 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Chef Special

In her new book, The Chef, the Story & the Dish: Behind the Scenes With America's Favorite Chefs ($24.95; Stewart, Tabori & Chang), spunky Food Network producer Rochelle Brown gives the scoop on some of the country's best chefs. Did you know that Daniel Boulud loves Krispy Kreme doughnuts? That tomato juice makes Rick Bayliss (Frontera Grill and Topolobampo) gag? That Marcus Samuelsson (Aquavit) was born in Ethiopia and adopted by a Swedish couple at the age of 3? All this plus 25 recipes and 30 photos make for a great read.
Manhattan Fruit Exchange
75 Ninth Avenue, at 15th Street

Get Stuck

The recent discovery of duct tape's dermatological benefits may seem a bit icky, but the sturdy silver stuff can also be made surprisingly chic -- just check out this "barhopper" wallet. It's one of many duct-tape products (mostly wallets) from the aptly named Ducti company. All are handmade using a special kind of duct tape that won't lift, peel, or get sticky ($14.50–$16).
Exit 9
64 Avenue A
The Loft
89 Christopher Street

Nesting Instinct

After 70 years in the furniture business, Maurice Villency has just introduced its first home-accessories collection. The line includes everything from pillows, throws, and 1,000-thread-count sheets to tabletop items and beautiful objets, all showcased in a massive new showroom. Standouts include these leather trays in small ($35), medium ($45), and large ($55).
Maurice Villency
200 East 57th Street

Sing-Along Squid

The perfect antidote to baby boredom, this cute octopus has musical tentacles -- each one emits a different note when you squeeze it. With it, you get a songbook geared toward preliterate players, with color-coded notes for favorites like "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." Recommended for kids up to age 2 ($24.99).
The Scholastic Store
557 Broadway, near Prince Street