HOLIDAY GUIDE 2011: 27 local presents for $10 and under to kickstart your holiday shopping spree
HOLIDAY GUIDE 2011 We know. Between the blasts of pepper gas you sustained at the last Cal protest and all those "support needed" texts you've been receiving from Occupy Everything, Everywhere, All the Time you've barely had a spare moment to think about your holiday shopping list. Easy now, no need to get your bandanna in a twist. We've been trekking around the city (and that hella occupied burg on the other end of the Bay Bridge) for the very best in affordable presents this holiday season — and we found them all at locally-owned businesses. So don't break the bank — occupy its lobby instead, conquered shopping list in hand.
There is perhaps nothing more happy than a man with soul in his heart, as anyone who watches the YouTube video entitled "Dick Vivian cuttin' the rug at Rooky's!" can attest. Vivian is the owner and spiritual embodiment of the venerable Lower Haight record store, which he stocks with real-cheap 45s, vintage camera equipment, and a passel of witty lapel pins and magnets.
For real holiday majick, however, one must turn to Vivian's lovingly-crafted mix CDs. There they sit, 10 bucks a pop with witty, retro-recreation packaging, a wonderland of '60s soul, girl bands, and more. Many of the tracks, Vivian will attest, have never been captured in CD form before. Do you have a dad who still digs on the funky sounds of his youth? A buddy who is never more happy than when she's doing the twist? You friend, have struck shopping list gold.
448 Haight, SF. (415) 864-7526, www.rookyricardos.com 
Half the battle of holiday shopping is remaining positive. You will find the perfect token of your affection for each and every coworker, friend, family member, and postal worker. The secret to undying enthusiasm this season is patronizing shops where retailing can make you happy — which is why a visit to Clothes Contact is essential. The Mission vintage shop is a carnival of colors and patterns, and sells most of its items by the pound ($10 per!)
Some of the shop's most attractive items are the individually-priced accessories like its bowties and fedoras, which combine for a package that'll make even the most sartorially uninspired chappie stoked for the office holiday party. The real steal, however, is in the shoe section, where you will find women's kicks for a pittance. $8 gets you this pair of jewel-toned slippers, whose sexy-comfy flat heels have the power to traipse with you through much more than eight crazy nights.
473 Valencia, SF. (415) 621-3212
The average behind-the-bar adventurer knows bitters to be highly concentrated blends of herbs, spices, rinds, and roots sure to add zing to a standard cocktail. This non-alcoholic blood orange bottle lends a deep, pumpkin-y hue to your drinks — as well as a slightly sweet taste.
5620 Geary, SF. (415) 386-9463, www.blackwellswines.com 
Mission Loc@l's guidebook lives up to the neighborhood news site's name: their pocket-sized collection of various Missionites' (from grade-schoolers to aging boho poets) favorite places in the 'hood could open the eyes of the most seasoned South Van Ness dweller to hidden gems amidst the murals and taco shops.
Available in various SF locations. Order online at www.missionlocal.org  (search term: guidebook)
Paul's Hat Shop has been around since 1918 — and the same goes for many of its hat styles. Check out the silky old bowties that sit seductively on a countertop. They come in patterns that haven't seen the light of day for decades, guaranteeing that vintage fans recipients will wear them with care.
6128 Geary, SF. (415) 221-5332, www.hatworksbypaul.com 
Open the door to the best kind of trouble with these dangling pasties, made from the same chalky rainbow sweets as traditional candy necklaces. Swing by Good Vibe's newest store at 899 Mission to check out the sex toy vanguard's downtown flavor.
Various Bay Area locations. www.goodvibes.com 
Unless your recipient's feet fall outside the size four to thirteen range, they can rest easy in the soft silken threads of Sakura's house slippers. A jam-packed and family-run Japanese discount store, this spot stocks hundreds of the kicks, which are perfect for padding around the house or slipping on for a last-minute car-moving operation since yes, street sweeping is this morning.
936 Irving Street, SF. (415) 665-5064, www.sakurasf.com 
A sweet present for a secretive soul: choose a book from your shelves that you're done with (hardcover tends to work best), glue the pages together with super glue or epoxy leaving one cover free, and use an Exacto knife to cut out a square in the middle of the pages, creating a nook worthy of a Sherlock Holmes novel. Stick in a note that declares your end-of-2011 love and give to the super sleuth you fancy the most.
For more DIY present ideas, check out www.instructables.com 
Slow Food adherent Laura Forst makes the perfect housewarming present for nutters: candied floral cashews that steer clear of holiday-heavy saccharine.
An online Etsy toybox of vintage toys and kitschy coffee cups, SF Mission Finds clearly subscribes to that old Playskool truism: "Mr. Potato Head's other parts might get mixed up, but his heart is always in the right place." Cop the shop's 1985 Mr. Potato Head for the beloved misfit toy on your list.
Could Time-Life Books have imagined that their series on the paranormal — which was published between 1987 and 1991 and broke sales records for the publishing house — would find new popularity on the shelves of a Mission District vintage clothing store? Surely not, but the occult fan in your life will certainly appreciate the resurrection of such titles as Cosmic Duality and Spirit Summonings.
1360 Valencia, SF. (415) 401-7027, www.paintedbird.org 
For the holidays, this cozy little shop in Potrero Hill is selling felted ornaments made by two women who live right in the neighborhood. No need to truck out to the Christmas superstore this year (sorry, Target)!
1331 18th St., Potrero Hill, SF. (415) 624-3736
Of course, you can always give them something that will, without fail, ensure that sharp intake of breath that marks the happy receipt of a caloric holiday gift-bomb. This holiday sweet from Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero's Vegan Pie in the Sky (DaCapo Press, 233pp, $17) should do just the trick — and will win the heart of gentle vegans and fierce omnivores alike.
Makes one nine-inch pie or one 11-inch pie
1 nine-inch pie crust
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup pure maple sugar
¼ cup nonhydrogenated margarine
6 ounces extra-firm silken tofu
¼ cup cold unsweetened plain nondairy milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups pecan halves
First, we're going to make a caramel. In a two quart saucepan, mix together the sugars and the maple syrup. Heat over medium heat, stirring often with a whisk. Once small bubbles start rapidly forming, stir pretty constantly for about 10 minutes. The mixture should become thick and syrupy. It shouldn't be boiling too fiercely; if big bubbles start climbing the walls of the pan then lower the heat a bit.
Add the margarine and stir to melt. Turn the heat off, transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl, and let it cool for a bit. In the meantime, prepare the rest of the filling.
Crumble the tofu into a blender or food processor, along with the milk, cornstarch, and salt. Puree until completely smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender to make sure you get everything.
Transfer the filling to the prepared pie crust and bake for 40 minutes. When done, the pie is going to be somewhat jiggly, but it should appear to be set. Let cool, slice, and serve! No cheating and pulling pecans off the pie.
Variation: Sprinkle ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt over the cooled pie.
For more vegan recipes from Isa Chandra Moskowitz, check out www.theppk.com 
There's just something that works about Italian feasts over the holidays. Maybe it's the decadence of the cuisine, or perhaps the vivid hues of marinara, eggplant, and basil — wherever the allure lies, you can get your buddy rolling on a meal to remember with this cheap but classy gift: a pound or two of Lucca Foods' housemade spinach pasta.
1100 Valencia, SF. (415) 647-5581, www.luccaravioli.com 
Few might initially elect to smell like Union Square, but Roman Ruby's handmade soaps ($10) and bath salts are redolent in the postcard-pleasure of San Francisco's most beloved areas. Ocean Beach (coconut and sea salt), Golden Gate Park (grass and rose), Potrero Hill (goat milk and lemon verbena), and Bernal Heights (fig and brown sugar) are all represented.
1371 Ninth Ave., SF. (415) 664-4422, www.urbanbazaarsf.com 
This sweet Etsy page is run by a self-proclaimed misanthrope right here in the city, and stocks a passel of darling, uber-affordable earrings. Made of polymer clay, ice cream cone earrings can be ordered in a variety of "flavors" — the mint is a lovely light green and bubblegum is a pretty pink dotted with green and blue sprinkles.
We all know the adage about quantity and quality, but what about when you can get a lot of something that also happens to be really good? Buddhism Feng Shui Supply's incense is high quality (meant for use in shrines) and comes in a wide variety of scents. Unless your giftee is a real burner, it's pretty much bound to last a lifetime.
907 Clement, SF. (415) 831-1987
How very adorable will it be when you take your baby to this well-loved local video store for one of its cheap-as-heck movie nights? Like, very very. Grab two of the seats near the front of the store and bring their fave candy for maximum points. Film buffs rejoice: Lost Weekend's projection screen productions tend to involve flicks not available on Netflix (in fact, in September it hosted a film festival called just that).
1034 Valencia, SF. (415) 643-3375, www.lostweekendvideo.com 
One touch and you'll be touching: this handy little number from Oak-Town's hottest new feminist-queer sex shop promises that it "puts the lube between your cheeks, not on the sheets." That means the only unwanted friction between you and your lover over the holidays will be about whose family is more bizarre.
1703 Telegraph, Oakl. (510) 891-0199, www.feelmore510.com 
Along one wall of this super-fly supplier of 1990s and aught-era Starter jackets, ball caps, and occasional fanny packs is the $6 t-shirt rack. Browse its hangers for tees from your giftee's alma mater, fave sports team, or artistic nemesis: a recent trip to the store uncovered a Takashi-Murakami-designed number from Kanye West's "Glow in the Dark" tour.
299 Guerrero, SF. (415) 624-3751, newjackcity.blogspot.com
Snag a treat from the city's most educational chocolate factory for your holiday honey — if they're really into the fine chocolate bathing these succulent pieces of fruit you can bring them back for one of TCHO's Wonka-fied tours of its factory floor.
Pier 17, SF. (415) 981-0189, www.tcho.com 
In our experience, all it takes to restore confidence in a would-be gardener with a track record of failed ferns is a salad green seedling. Rainbow's got the goods in this department: stock up on a sixer of Asian mizuna greens, lemongrass, chives, and more for your budding grower.
1745 Folsom, SF. (415) 863-0620, www.rainbow.coop 
What started out as an interior design studio has since evolved into a great resource for handpicked vintage goods, but hints of Room 4's roots are visible in its selection of playing cards, which features a deck printed with the Prairie School architectural school progenitor's greatest hits. Your giftee's Solitaire game has never been this well-constructed.
904 Valencia, SF (415) 647-2764, www.room4.com 
Candlemaking is a craft pretty much anyone can conquer — and a fragrant one at that. Hobby Co.'s beeswax comes in a variety of colors, including the standard yellow. With wicks retailing for less than fifty cents a yard, expect your giftee's electric bill to significantly drop.
5150 Geary, SF. (415) 386-2802, www.hobbycosf.com 
One of the three owners of this well-turned-out Mission boutique crafts these "air plants" in bulbous aquarium bowls. Rocks, sand, moss, and greenery coexist peacefully within the bowels of the terrariums – the perfect window sill companion for your buddy who longs for more nature in their life.
3458 18th St., SF (415) 244-7457, www.missionstatementsf.com