BEST NEW NECESSITIES
Sure, you can buy anything you want on the Internet, but there's still a certain charm in entering a store whose items have been carefully chosen to delight the eye in three dimensions. That's the idea behind Perch, Zoel Fages's homage to all things charming and cheeky, from gifts to home décor. Do you need a set of bird feet salt-and-pepper shakers? A rhinoceros-head shot glass? A ceramic skull-shaped candleholder that grows "hair" as the wax drips? Of course not. But do you want them? The minute you enter the sunny, sweet Glen Park shop, the obvious answer will be yes. And for those gifty items you do need scented candles and soaps, letterpress greeting cards, handprinted wrapping paper Perch is perfect too. We'd recommend you stop by just to window-shop, but who are we kidding? You can't visit here without taking something home.
654 Chenery, SF. (415) 586-9000, www.perchsf.com
BEST PENNYSAVERS FOR EARTHSAVERS
How many environmentalists does it take to change a light bulb? None: LED light bulbs last longer than environmentalists. If you think that joke's funny or at least get why it's supposed to be you might just be the target market for Green Zebra. Based on the idea that environmentally aware consumers like to save money as much as their Costco-loving neighbors, this book melds the concept of a coupon book with the creed of environmental responsibility. It's a virtual directory of deals at local businesses trying to work outside the world of pesticidal veggies and gas-guzzling SUVs. Anne Vollen and Sheryl Cohen's vision now comes in two volumes one for San Francisco, and one for the Peninsula and Silicon Valley featuring more than 275 exclusive offers from indie bookstores, art museums, coffee houses, organic restaurants, pet food stores, and just about anywhere else you probably already spend your money (and wouldn't mind spending less).
(415) 346-2361, www.thegreenzebra.org
BEST ONE-STOP SHOP
So you need a salad spinner, some kitty litter, a birthday card for your sister, and a skein of yarn, but you don't feel like going to four different stores to check everything off the list? Face it, you're lazy. But, you're also in luck. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Standard 5 and 10, a one-stop wonderland in Laurel Village that caters to just about every imaginable whim, need, and desire of serious shoppers and procrastinators alike. Don't be fooled by the large red Ace sign on the storefront this is not merely a hardware store (although it can fulfill your hardware needs, of course). It's an everything store. Walking the aisles here is a journey through consumerism at its most diverse. Greeting cards and tabletop tchotchkes fade into rice cookers then shower curtains, iron-on patches, Webkinz, motor oil.... It's a dizzying array of stuff you need and stuff you simply want.
3545 California, SF. (415) 751-5767, www.standard5n10.com
BEST PLACE TO SINK A BATTLESHIP
Maybe we don't have flying cars yet, but with video chatting, iPhones, and automated vacuum cleaners, we're pretty close to living in the imaginary future The Jetsons made magical.