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Best of Shopping 2008

The Very Best Places...

This year there is a bit of something for everyone. From cheap finds to drool-worthy luxury items, from books to jeans to bike parts - shopping has never been easier!

Best Place to Get Lost on a Rainy Day: Green Apple Books
Not only the best place to spend hours looking through used books ($2 bargain bin with worthy finds!), Green Apple Books is also really good about buying or accepting your old books, music and movies for trade. A pleasurably easy way to lose a few hours exploring.

Best Place to Find Cute Kitchenwares and Miscellaneous Sundries on the Cheap: Kamei Restaurant Supply
While it’s true you might want to think twice before eating off of some of the cute dishes and bowls found here (lead scare), there are plenty of pretty ceramic dishes and bowls to use as candle, jewelry or knick-knack holders/organizers. Also great for eye-pleasing sushi dishes, teapots, and necessities like veggie peelers and sink strainers.

Best Place to Pick Up a Last Minute Party/Potluck Treat: Bombay Ice Creamery
Okay, so the main draw here is definitely the ice creams, not because they’re spectacularly rich, but the flavors are exotic, delicious and always a conversation starter. Ginger, saffron rose, lychee and chai are a few standouts. If you’re looking for “normal” flavors like chocolate or cookies ‘n’ cream, seek elsewhere.

Best Specialty Denim Boutique: Self Edge
Any store that hosts science fiction superstar William Gibson is f-ing awesome in my book. Self Edge, which specializes in non-mass-production selvedge jeans, hosted Gibson for a party in November celebrating his collaborative line of high-fashion Porter laptop bags and Buzz Rickson sneakers.

Best Place to Find Awesome @?$% at Convenient Hours and Amazing Prices: Guruguru
Open from 4pmish to 10pmish in a lively neighborhood, Guruguru offers artfully designed time pieces at affordable prices, custom perfumes, elegant and cheeky housewares, computer accessories and more.

Best Newish Addition to Mission Indie Shops & Place to Spend an Afternoon Learning How to Make Something Cool: The Curiosity Shoppe
Derek and Lauren of the Curiosity Shoppe curate artwork from interesting artists who often teach classes in their art. But even if you’re just there to find cutesy stuff you’ll find plenty to adore: origami hamburger sets, raccoon pillow stitching kits, pinhole camera kits are just a few.

Best Place to Find Bike Parts On the Cheap: Box Dog Bikes
The guys at Box Dog Bikes are happy to assist you on your quest for economical bike parts or track bike accessories. This worker-owned collective carries used and new frames and completes, but their used parts selection is where you can score big. New stuff is economically priced too and you can find locally made Freight and (US-made) R.E.Load bags here as well.

Best Place to Shop for Pirate Supplies While Contributing to a Noble Cause: 826 Valencia
100% proceeds from “San Francisco’s only independent pirate supply store” go to the 826 Valencia Writing Center, which helps 6-18 year-olds with writing skills. What, you can get glass eyes, wax letter seals, mermaid bait/repellant, SF literary maps, writing compilations books and more while supporting education? Say no more.

Best Place to Get Your Doodle Professionally Executed Into Wearables: My Trick Pony
Turn your original design or one remixed from something else into a one-off (or heck, a handful for your buds to celebrate some momentous occasion) piece of clothing. The possibilities are endless and fun to explore with the knowledgeable and friendly staff.

Best Shopping Experience to Justify Large Spending: John Varvatos
If you’ve got a couple thou to spend on classy threads with a bit of edge and you’d like to be pampered while doing it, look no further than John Varvatos. Sure the clothing and accessories are a bit pricey, but while shopping you’ll find yourself admiring the amazing furnishings and sipping on beer or a mimosa.

Best Themed Bookstores
Kayo Books for vintage (pulp!) paperbacks with awesomely trampy cover artwork from the 60s and 70s. Borderlands Books for science fiction, fantasy, and horror books. Get Lost Travel Books for travelers and those with wanderlust. Babylon Falling for anything with a revolutionary theme, from history books to music books, art and toys. Omnivore Books on Food for (duh,) the foodies and gastronomically inclined.