Specialty Shops, San Francisco
If you're looking for a unique piece of jewelry, you've come to the right place. Gallery of Jewels has semi-precious and costume jewelry by many Bay area (and other) designers. Prices are inexpensive to moderate for most pieces; the selection is huge.
The most recent outpost of Cowgirl Creamery is located in the newly-renovated Ferry Building. The store is bustling with activity as customers line up, particularly during the lunch hour. They are open seven days a week, and also ship cheeses. If you wish to sample any of their cheeses, they are most accommodating.
What to buy: Not only do they sell artisan cheeses (goat, cow, and sheep), but figs in Barolo, fig cake with almonds, Laguiole cheese knives, and honey, to name a few of their other offerings. Try the Humboldt Fog -- it's divine!
What to pay: Prices vary.
This is a great place to find a ton of beat books and much more. This bookstore has atmosphere and charm. With its creaky floors and little nooks to sit and read, this is a great place to spend a few hours.
What to buy: large selection of beat books
Chinatown has plenty of shops, filled with plenty of the usual tacky tourist items, and as my eyes glazed over wandering the streets, this particular shop suddenly caught my eye.
Old Shanghai is filled with beautiful home decor items and chinese fashion items as well. The selection here is marvelous and very tasteful, and as the name suggests, is reminiscent of genteel Chinese times gone by. The items I looked at were, I thought, quite inexpensive for what you were getting.
Beautiful beaded purses can be had at about $30.00 or less, and the unusual shell
shell purses caught my eye too - the purses are covered with small squares of mother of pearl, all individually stitched, and I thought a bargain at approx $40.00. There was a large selection of traditional chinese dresses (cheongsams) in beautiful non-traditional modern colors, such as pale blush pink and beige brocade.
The home decor items ranged from hand-carved boxes, to Chinese antiques and the most wonderful silk lanterns and pillow covers in contemporary colors such as aubergine, olive, and taupe.
Even if you aren't buying, this place is totally worth a browse.
Anthropolie is a chain store with locations throughout the country. They sell everything here, from clothing, house goods, candles (my favorite), books, shoes, home furnishings, kitchen cabinet door knobs (some of the most interesting I have seen), as well as an assortment of bags and other accessories.
I'm not a big fan of their clothing this just looked cheaply made and too "shabby chick" for my liking, but I totally love their home furnishings and of course their candles. My favorite is the Aloha Orchid which makes our bedroom smell wonderful and reminds us of our trip to Hawaii!!
What to buy: I picked up some of my favorite candles, I also bought an interesting book for a present.
What to pay: About average
The Ten Ren Tea shop is a little oasis for those walking through Chinatown. Stop in and order one of the magnificent teas or a different refreshing beverage.
They sell tea by the box or loose and also sell various tea related items. Take the time to try some tea before you buy it and smell the dried tea leaves.
What to buy: I love their green oolong tea although they sell a dozen or so various types of loose tea.
What to pay: Their teas are sold by grading (from 1 to 5). A grade 1 tea can cost as much as $120/lb!!! I stick with the grade 3 teas and spend around $17 for a quarter pound. Expensive, yes. But once you taste it, it is well worth it.
This shop is PACKED with feather boas, stockings, sparkles, sunglasses, funky sequin outfits, wigs, costumes, etc. They had so many different kinds of stockings that they had them on hangers that lined an entire wall. You choose the design you want and they get you your size. It was a bit overwhelming after shopping all day.
What to buy: I was too overwhelmed to buy anything.
This is the place to go if you're in the mood to change your look, whether it be a trim, a drastically different cut, a perm, or a new haircolor. This ultra-trendy salon in Hayes Valley gives you more bang for your buck! I highly recommend Brian; he transformed my black waist-length hair with a bad perm to a layered above-the-shoulder cut in chocolate brown!
What to buy: Fudge dyes are their specialty.
What to pay: Haircuts start at $40, color at $50, and perms at $75.
Lush sells bath bombs, block soaps, shampoos, perfumes, made with natural ingredients (like bath bombs full of flower petals) and not tested on animals. I have been mail-ordering from them for awhile and I was excited to finally visit their store. The staff was really nice and threw in a free soap :)
What to buy: Lush has some really unique items like bubble bars (bubble bath in block form, just break off a piece and throw it in your bath), massage bars, and scented waters that are great to mist on your face on a hot day.
What to pay: $6-10 for blocks of soap, $5 for bath bombs, $15+ for bottles of shampoo or lotion. Pricy, but you can make them last a long time.
One of a number of places at the San Francisco Flower Mart.
What to buy: Fresh flowers at wholesale prices to woo your special someone, of course!!
What to pay: They were selling sunflowers for $3/bunch, peonies for $8/bunch, dahlias for $6/bunch, cornflowers for $3/bunch, and (slightly older) white lilies for $3/bunch.
I am into natural remedies and supplements and this tip is about one of them - Indian honey/jam called Chyawanprash.
I wrote 'honey/jam' cause I do not have a word for that dark, rich, spicy spread made with 43 ingredients (like clove, cinnamon, asparagus, cherry, liquorice, sandalwood, chestnut.., etc).
It`s a few thousand years old recipe, popular in India and among my Russian friends. :-)
What does it do?
Strengthens immune system, helps with mood swings, fights depression/stress/asthma and low libido, lowers cholesterol, reduces the risk of heart attack/stroke, improves memory/brain function/attention, rejuvenates skin.
But, hey, do not take my word for it. Read more here.
How do you eat it?
15-20 minutes before food.
1/2 to 2 teaspoons twice daily for adults with milk, green tea or just water. It is advised to eat it slowly, taking your time.
Kids older than 4 can eat 1/4 to 1 teaspoon twice daily.
It is recommended to take it for 3 months a year.
If interested, I payed $8 for a 17.65 oz (500g) jar at Bombay Bazaar. This place is located right next to a well-known Bombay Ice Creamery selling very tasty ice-creams ($2.5 for a scoop, 0.50 for a cone). My favorite is definitely a Pistachio.
What to buy: Chyawanprash.
What to pay: $8 for a jar.
Really cool shop with lots of stuff. If you like Lip Service and Tripp clothing, this is the place for you. They also have independent label clothing for men and women.
What to buy: funky postcards,
denim skirt with red-stitched flames on the back pockets,
hand-crafted leather purse that looks like a vinyl record,
pink/black skull & crossbones wristband
What to pay: $106
In my humble opinion, this is THE best bookstore anywhere -- a terrific selection of new and used books, funky but friendly atmosphere, long hours, knowledgeable staff, and extremely cool customers (heh!).
Lark In the Morning
2801 Leavenworth Street
San Francisco, CA 94133
Category: Musical Instruments & Teachers
Neighborhood: Fisherman's Wharf
Love this place. Located on the ground floow within the Del Monte Square cannery it's got everything from guitars, to bozoukis, to drums and dulcimers and so much more. I love to just stroll in there and check out all the different instruments from various parts of the world. Bought a pair of bongo drums in there just because I liked them. Great place to hang out if you like any kind of music.
You are allowed to test the instruments. It is fun even if you are not musically inclined you will enjoy this shop.
I knew there was a Sees chocolate store in San Francisco as I received a box of them from an exchange pal a couple of years ago.
When we took an open bus ride of San Francisco, we passed it, and I was excited to see it was down market Street, and walkable from my hotel (oh ooh!!). We then came across a smaller version on Union Square, which sold mainly the already boxed chocolates,, this was on a sunday so when I asked if the other shop sold individual chocolates, I was told that it did but it was closed that day. We went the next day and filled a box with different chocolates. The shop on Market st also does the already boxed chocolates.
While you are browsing, sales people come along and give you samples of the chocolates, very nice touch!
(photo to come)
What to buy: Peanut brittle is especially good, and you can buy individual bars of these as well as a box of them.
I love chewy toffees and chocolate with nuts in them, and anything chewy, within reason, so I got my fill here!
We actually ate the whole box on the next leg of our honeymoon, in Aruba.
What to pay: You can buy individual chocolates, I think, but I didn't get the prices of them.
Small boxes start from about $5-6 and there are other things like lolly pops also