There is a mid-range Italian place that I enjoy dining at -- about once a month or so, sometimes more, sometimes less. Over the course of the last year or so, I have made a casual acquaintance with the chef (the dining room is semi open to the kitchen). We say hello, have a short, friendly conversation, etc. He has a thick Italian accent, so half the time, I don't think we understand each other - but I enjoy our brief chats and he is a lovely person. The last couple times I've been in, he's sent over a complementary appetizer, which has been a very nice gesture.
He got married at the end of August. Ever since he told me he was getting married, I've wanted to get him a gift and have been completely stumped as to what. Every time I go in, I kick myself because I still want to get him some sort of wedding gift (even though it's very much after the fact) and haven't!
The best I could come up with was a nice bottle of champagne - although, the last time I gave someone I didn't know well a gift of wine, I found out they had been sober for 10 years! I suppose the solution to this would be to ask if he drinks the next time I go in... however, I'm SURE 'hounds out there have a gift suggestion for me that I'm missing.
I'd like to keep it somewhat affordable ($25-50 would be ideal). I've thought of chocolates (??) or even a gift certificate - but would prefer not to go the gift cert. route, as I find it impersonal. I also thought about asking if he was registered anywhere, but concluded that it wasn't appropriate for an uninvited wedding guest to buy something off the registry -- and I just felt odd about asking him and would rather just show up with something.
This is in Los Angeles, if it makes any difference to your suggestion.
Thanks so much, in advance!