Add this to our lists of food-focused gift ideas:

A la Card Chicago has released its second annual deck of $10 gift cards for 52 independent, owner-operated, chef-driven restaurants, each redeemable on any day in 2009 on a minimum tab of $25. The new deck is particularly well curated, featuring new additions like Mado, Mixteco Grill, Hot Doug’s, and Katsu as well as returning restaurants like Lula, Naha, Hot Chocolate, and David Burke’s Primehouse.

That’s $520 worth of eating for $30. It’s a formidable deck for even the most dedicated restaurant-goer to get through, but it would be great to have on hand just to pass out the individual cards to friends and minions.

And if any of those restaurants should sink in the troubled waters ahead, A la Card’s Natasha Liberman will replace it with a card for one that’s still afloat.