It’s a Wrap: Our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

Where to pick up some nifty gifts from around the East Bay.


Dave Strauss

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Finding the perfect gift has never been easier, because the East Bay is full of awesome shopping opportunities. This year’s annual gift guide tempts with expensive and inexpensive items that range from practical to extravagant in categories as diverse as cosmetics and the outdoors. Just follow these leads for a little happy holiday hunting.


Food & Drink


A Little Dust Up

Give the gift of chili, brown sugar, rosemary, and citrus this holiday season with a pack of Oakland Dust. Created by Oakland resident Lloyd Ross, Oakland Dust is a collection of zesty, handcrafted barbecue seasonings inspired by the city’s great grilled-meat venues. Ross traces his barbecue love to childhood visits to Flint’s—sitting shotgun in his dad’s ’75 Cutlass, double-parked on Shattuck while listening to Bill King on the radio. Treat your loved ones to a four-pack for $32, an Oakland Dust cap (in A’s colors, of course) for $12.95, or a T-shirt for $19.50. Oakland Dust is available in six flavors. Sold at most local Safeways, Farmer Joe’s, Piedmont Grocery, Berkeley Bowl, and other stores, and online at



Bottoms Up

For the locavore on your list, try something from Oakland Spirits, a new venture from the owners of Two Mile Wines. Glasshouse Brandy ($33) is flavored with lemongrass, shiso, and cucumber giving it an umami flavor perfect for pairing with Japanese food. The three varieties of gin are Gin No. 5 ($30), an aromatic “Sunday gin” perfect with tonic; Sea-Gin ($32), a briny drink flavored with nori hand-foraged in Mendocino; and Uptown Dry Gin ($33), which features ingredients sourced from another Oakland original, Oaktown Spice Shop. Sea-Gin and Gin No. 5 are available at Cask on College, 3185 College Ave., Berkeley, 510-788-6228, and Glasshouse Brandy and Uptown Dry Gin  are available at Wine on Piedmont, 4183 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, 510-595-9463.



A Shrub Is Shrub

Handcrafted shrubs from Berkeley’s Shrub & Co. are sure to appeal to any foodie. A mix of vinegar and sugar, shrubs were originally used to preserve fresh fruit, and they have made a comeback. Updated to suit modern palates, shrubs come in a range of tempting flavors, such as blood orange, cranberry, and Douglas fir. Bartenders have embraced the shrub to enhance mixology, but it’s not just for cocktails. Shrubs add flavor to sparkling water and even work well in salad dressings and other savory dishes. Go for individual 16-ounce bottles ($21.99) or gift sets such as the Summer Expressions,  a four-pack of 4-ounce bottles ($27.99), and the Summer & Winter Expressions, two four-packs of 4-ounce bottles ($55). Purchase online at, which also lists local East Bay outlets.




Lovely Leather

This holiday season, appeal to your favorite leather-lover with a handcrafted piece from Martine USA. Lovingly constructed in Oakland, designer Sarah Atkins (“Martine” is an homage to her maternal grandmother)produces a range of bags, backpacks, clutches, and wallets. Using high-quality leather from Napa and Chicago, Atkins is dedicated to creating simple yet timeless designs. Moderately priced at $50 for a wallet, $140 for a clutch, and $280 for her popular Adeline convertible backpack, these gifts will never go out of style. Shop online  at or  set up an appointment to  visit Sarah Atkins’ workshop  by contacting



In the Bag

Comfort, lightness, and a sense of humor—these are the words Ali Golden uses to describe her design aesthetic. Her flagship clothing store has anchored Oakland’s Temescal Alley since 2011, and in that time, her company has grown across the globe. Her Navy + Chambray bag ($185) is a perfect marriage of style and function, fashion and utility. It is reversible with blue chambray on one side and navy on the other, with a removable leather cross body strap and short hand straps as well. This timeless bag, handmade with love in Oakland, is sure to be a favorite with any woman who likes to look good and feel good at the same time. Ali Golden, 482 49th St., Oakland,  510-904-4556,



Turning Flips

Flip & tumble’s lightweight and compactable backpack ($34) is the perfect eco-friendly gift for friends or family on the go. Made with a durable, recycled material in colors to fit every style (red, green, blue, gray, and black), the backpack folds up and stores in a zippered pouch when not in use. Created by Berkeley designers Hetal Jariwala and Eva Bauer, the backpack is the latest in line of fun and clever reusable bags, which includes shopping bags, totes, purses,  and pouches, too. Find them at The Gardener, 1836 Fourth St., Berkeley, 510-548-4545,; Oaklandish, 1444 Broadway,  510-251-9500, and 3419 Fruitvale, 510-482-2020, in Oakland,; and other local retailers. Or shop online at

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