10 Exceptional Made-in-SF Presents From Local Retailers

Amazon Prime is for corporatists; this is better

December 11, 2020 2:20 pm
park life sf
The colorful, delightfully cramped interior of Park Life
Park Life

This holiday season, we have a choice: Firm up Jeff Bezos’s membership in the Three Comma Club or help our neighbors put their kids through college. Here, a selection of only-in-S.F. (and Oakland, and Berkeley) presents made by Californians for Californians. (Noting that sometimes Californians need Italian-made kicks.)

Trust: This is better than what’s on Amazon, and better for us, too. 

Boudin Sourdough (or a Tartine Gift Set

Have you even lived in San Francisco if you haven’t sat in the basement at Macy’s and eaten your New England clam chowder out of a sourdough bread bowl as tourists line up behind the Jamba Juice? Send this to your beloved — two cans of chowder included! — and it’s like S.F. in a box. 

The more, uh, refined among them might prefer the choose-two pack from Tartine, with your choice of the Country Loaf (“a super-wet, long-fermented bread inspired by pre-industrial French methods and techniques”; the Whole Wheat Sesame Loaf “the darker, earthier, nuttier cousin of country bread, made with stone-ground, single-origin whole wheat from a fourth generation family-run farm and mill in Oregon”); the Multigrain Porridge Loaf (“Tartine’s country dough with the addition of cooked whole oats, which adds a creaminess and sweetness”); or the “Kids Bread Loaf.”

french laundry
Artisan Books

Thomas Keller’s Signed French Laundry, Per Se at Green Apple

The best bookstore in the world — sorry, Powell’s! — has a limited assortment of signed books on the premises, including Thomas Keller’s latest, French Laundry, Per Se, a mix of recipes, reminisces, and some extremely aspirational photography. If you’d prefer a more accessible yet equally local take on what to make for dinner, Green Apple also has some Ayesha Curry-signed copies of her home cook bible, Full Plate. 

Marisa Mason
Temescal Alley

If you’re shopping for a woman who loves jewelry, make Marisa Mason’s Temescal boutique your first shop, and pay particularly close attention to the opal pieces. The whole store is the Platonic ideal of that worthy space between super-pricey fine jewelry and the cheap stuff: hammered gold-fill hoops, miniature dragonfly earrings, and an ever-evolving vintage collection (check in the store for the latest), like an Indian 18K gold signet ring. 


Sex toys are better when they’re well selected — for you and your partner. (And your other partners? You do you, bub.) Step into Feelmore — or give owner Nenna Joiner a call — and they’ll sort you out with top-quality products specific to your budget, needs, preferences and desires. To prep, take a look at what’s available online, with categories ranging from “crops and floggers” to “Bluetooth and app-based vibrators.” If Nenna doesn’t have it, you probably don’t need it. 

Sui Generis
Upper Market

The men’s side of vintage shop Sui Generis carries highly covetable kicks, many limited edition and one-off collabs, like Converse X Missoni and Puma X Jahnkoy, as well as garden-variety designer picks from Lanvin, Dolce & Gabbana, Maison Margiela and more. The online selection is great, but stop by for the best selection. 


DSPTCH’s Craft Collection

Part of the collections celebrating the brand’s 10th anniversary, DSPTCH’s Craft pieces are exceptionally good looking, made in an 18-oz. waxed twill canvas fabric with high-quality hardware. Give it to whoever needs a serious upgrade to their workday wear. (Maybe give it to yourself.) Our pick: the canvas tote, which looks durable enough to last several generations. 

Case for Making

Supreme is to sneakerheads as Case for Making is to watercolorists. There’s no shop like Case for Making anywhere in the world, and their half-pan watercolor sets are exceptionally covetable. The artsy types on your shopping list will love a sample of CfM’s paint, like an eight-piece fluorescent travel set or the 12-color All the Feels set — now including the formerly sold-out Pacific (“our impression of our beloved Pacific Ocean neighbor and source of so much inspiration and therapy”). 


Our happy place is 705 Divis (at least in non-locked-down times): the home of 4505 Burgers & BBQ. While they (tragically) can’t ship the garlic fries, the Presidential Smoked Meat Sampler includes brisket, chicken, ribs, pulled pork and sausage, plus there’s coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans and three(!) bottles of barbecue sauce. 

Park Life
Inner Richmond

Park Life has a terrific selection of art, design and photography books and an even better roster of artists for its small gallery. Take a look at their recent shows for entry-level artwork, mostly by local and emerging talents — often inexpensive and exceptional, like Esther Elia’s paintings showcasing her Assyrian heritage.

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