Faerie Queene Chocolates, 415 Castro (at Market), 252-5814.
From the land of some enchanted eveningcome gifts from Bali and Indonesia. The exotic pedigree of home furnishings found here could bring back memories of vacations past, or a piece of Bali home, depending on how much you want to spend. For example, a grand four-poster custom-made bed with opium panels and leather insets ($2,850) turns the bedroom into an island paradise. But in conjuring memories, one could find Shiva and Diva statuary, wall sconces and jewelry ($40 and up). Also, wonderful dragon platters, elephant drawer hardware or knockers, shadow puppets, and an assortment of original candle and votive holders. In the stocking range there are little frogs and turtles, Indonesian good luck symbols ($7.50).
The Barking Frog 2215 Market (at Sanchez), 436-9600.
All your friends are moving out of town? Well, show them the best of San Francisco's haute design and check out the second floor of LIMN. For their new home in the rainy North, perhaps a lamp from local designer Pablo. The umbrella lamp has a stem that leans into imagined wind and moves with weighted measure. Light is bounced, spot, or diffused by adjusting the umbrella's canopy ($110).The Allessi line has something kitschy for the souls that move south: sunny pastel colored characters that sit by your sink. One little guy is pregnant with dental floss that's threaded through his mouth into his hand which holds the cutter. A toothpaste guy gets screwed onto the tube and his hand claps over his mouth to hold the goo in. The last stooge caps the toothbrush bristles while traveling. Set of three is $38; also sold individually for $10 to $15.
LIMN, 290 Townsend (at Fourth), 543-5466.
For friends willing to pay a toll to drive their dogs to a quality walking destination, Embellish has the collapsible K-9 bowl. Made of a sturdy Kevlar-like material, the bowl folds down into a pouch when the battens are removed ($18). A vast collection of the Lunares line of serving platters, gift boxes, and utensils, perfect for the one who gravitates to the shiny. Burnished aluminum brilliance with thick soft curves makes Lunares housewares a gift of utility weighted with beauty. Prices range from $15 for small boxes to $100 for the platters and bowls. Embellish provides an abundance of gift choices for the suave urban type, or for children, travelers, readers and collectors. Gift giving here is like dealing a deck of cards--one for you, one for me...
Embellish, 177 Brannan (between Delancey and Embarcadero), 882-7147.
If you have the coveted authority to dress your man--think cashmere. In Isda's new retail store, you'll find a plush boxy sweater with a crew funnel neck ($186). For the ones who can't keep two of anything together there are zipper slippers, soft and silk-padded, with soles that zip together for easy packing or tracking, in sage green ($33). Just in from Paris is the new bath line of Catherine Memmi called Les Basiques ($7-$19), a rare combo--reasonably priced with a French pedigree. Head next door to the outlet store for last season's deals. By seeking out the fabrics first, then implementing her designs, this local couturier lets texture dictate the line. The result is very wearable and durable pieces that survive the seasons and make impressive gifts.
Isda & Co, 19 & 29 South Park, 344-4887.
Do you have one of those fanatical collector-types in your life? You know--the guy who still has ticket stubs from every concert since eighth grade? If so, a trip to Showbiz is in order. Roger Brown's shop is a shrine to celebrity and happens to be the last surviving movie poster shop in S.F. An archive of 8x10 photos features everyone from Harlow to J-Lo (approx. $5 per print), Fillmore posters span the decades and genres from Joan Baez to Sound Tribe Sector 9. You'll also find sheet music and a "Bride of Chuckie" doll, and for 15 bucks you can pick up a pink, aluminum "I Dream of Jeannie" lunchbox. Yes, master.
Showbiz, 1318 Grant (between Green and Vallejo), 989-6744.
Visiting this gorgeous shop is like walking into a gallery, with imports mainly from Bali including furnishings made from recycled teak and other reclaimed woods. Local craftspeople are also represented here. You'll find limited-edition jewelry from Mike Leon--beautiful yet sturdy pieces with his signature ruby near the clasp. Children's gifts are both original and affordable ($20-$50) and range from striking mobiles with colorful wooden animal cutouts to wooden puzzles or Balinese kites. Recycled glass lamps ($155) add subtle color to any room.
Toko Arts, 1314 Grant (between Green and Vallejo), 397-2323.
Part maritime museum, part gift shop, this is a great place to pick up original gifts for dads, kids and the nautically inclined. From commercial gear like sextants, ship clocks, and navigational tools to intricate antique model ships (starting at $165), authentic whaling-period scrimshaw and woolen Greek fisherman's caps ($17.50), there's something here for both seasoned sailor and dilettante. Antiques are fascinating and pricey (a brass Russian Navy diving helmet goes for $1,485), but clothing is reasonably priced and includes Tommy Bahamas Hawaiian shirts, cotton and wool cable-knit sweaters ($52-$83), and Italian flannel shirts. For kids, a miniature spy glass ($9), junior navigator compass ($5.25), or 3 Boats in a Box--a kit that includes all the materials to assemble three tiny boats, including glue, thread for riggings, and flags. ($10.25).