Visiting the House of Rice in Scottsdale is a pleasure any time of year -- the place is packed to the rafters with Japanese knick knacks -- but it's especially fun right about now, when every mall starts to look the same and your Christmas shopping budget is starting to dwindle.
The book section here is a pleasure to peruse. I found myself eyeing up the newer Nobu book, and this Vietnamese cooking tome looks tempting, too.
(Wait, who am I shopping for? Oh yeah -- not myself. But I have a bunch of friends who are just as adventurous in the kitchen as they are dining out at restaurants.)
House of Rice is jam-packed with Asian ingredients, too, and there's a whole wall of tea and tea accoutrements. Shelves of pretty patterned bowls and cups and sake sets would be great Christmas gifts as well, and there were at least half a dozen kinds of bento boxes on my last visit.