Retail Therapy


Gift Giving Made Easy

Who's on Your List

    No need to fret over your holiday gift list this year. With a little imagination and some help from some of the East Bay’s finest retailers, you’ll be able to pick up something for each deserving friend and relation.

For the Francophile

Ellington & French
    This posh Claremont spot carries a wealth of French (and otherwise European) paraphernalia for the home. Scoop up some Provençal ceramic dinnerware, inspired by 18th-century French motifs in gold, green and red, or hand-painted cotton Provençal tablecloths ($78). For a little bit of France, consider the French soaps on hand. Or if you’re looking for something with a little more je ne sais quoi, what about a wooden cheeseboard shaped like la France?
2942 Domingo Ave., Berkeley, (510) 548-8188, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Tue.–Fri. and 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Sat.-Sun.,

For the Dreamer

A Great Good Place for Books
    If your niece or nephew can’t seem to get her or his nose out of a book, this charming bookshop in Montclair Village should be your gift-giving destination. A huge selection of fiction for adults and kids awaits the browser, along with general nonfiction, travel books and reference tomes. Let the friendly and knowledgeable staff help you find books by East Bay authors, both established and new, such as Vikram Chandra, Ishmael Reed, Michael Chabon, Gail Tsukiyama and dozens of others.
6120 LaSalle Ave., (510) 339-8210, 9 a.m.–7:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Sat., 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun.,

For the Foodie

Market Hall
    There’s no better place to shop for the true Oakland foodie than Rockridge’s Market Hall. This one location incorporates seven individual gourmet shops: Fish, meat, pasta, wine, veggies, pastries and coffee and tea—all the ingredients for a fabulous feast! At The Pasta Shop, find fresh ravioli (in flavors like porcini and truffle for $9.95 a pound), charcuterie, dozens of olive oils, bulk Italian dried pasta and multiple types of canned tomatoes. At Hapuku Fish, check out the sushi-grade offerings while next door Enzo’s Meat & Poultry carries loads of grass-fed beef, milk-fed veal and pork loin pre-stuffed with such delicacies as apricots, mushrooms and cranberries. Paul Marcus Wines offers California and European tipples, from as little as $6 a bottle to rare vintages at hundreds of dollars a pop. Finally, complete your epicurean gift basket with fruits and vegetables from Market Hall Produce, a scrumptious dessert from Market Hall Bakery and coffee, tea or treats from Peaberry’s Coffe & Tea.
5655 College Ave., (888) 952-4005, open daily; see the Web site,, for individual store hours.

For the Babe Who Has Everything

    When we say “babe,” we mean it literally. This exquisite Rockridge shop carries upmarket European and American clothing and accessories for children and babies, including a little bit of glittery baby bling. Head here to pick up white gold or 22-karat yellow gold charm bracelets—including tiny golden cuff bracelets—by Dinh Van Paris to celebrate a special little one’s first Christmas. The bracelets have either a blue or pink leather cord or a gold chain that all adjust in size for little wrists (or for mama to wear now and for baby later). The shop also carries French sterling silver spoon sets and rattles ($110–$120) from Ovale to make sure little tykes start out well-heeled.
5833 College Ave., (510) 547-6455, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Tue.–Sat. and noon–5 p.m. Sun.,

For the Fanatical Cal Alumni

Bancroft Clothing Company’s Collegiate Department
    Got a brother who’s always first in line to buy season tickets for Cal football? Find him the perfectly fanatical gift in the hundreds and hundreds of square feet of Cal-emblazoned gear at this longstanding clothing emporium. From license-plate frames to Cal logo footballs and soccer balls to zillions of logo caps and T-shirts to Hawaiian shirts with blue “California” script peaking out behind golden hibiscus flowers ($62.50) to Cal umbrellas to … well, you get the idea—this outfit has got it all!
2530 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, (510) 841-0762, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Sat. and 11:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Sun.,

For Fido

Red Hound
    Let red hound Hazel greet you from her spot curled up in a wicker chair next to her pal Priscilla (that’s the one on the dog bed) at this chic doggie boutique in Rockridge. Pick something up for your own canine pal, including chic Crypton dog beds (the fabric is meant to be no-stain and odor free) to let sleeping dogs lie ($120–$180); collars in every hue and style, from studded leather to preppy striped canvas; and canine pastries and pies from Lazy Dog made with such topnotch ingredients as peanut butter and pumpkin. You can even find a cat toy for Mr. Whiskers here.
5523 College Ave., (510) 428-2785, 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sat. and 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun.,
–By Elise Proulx
–Photography by Amy Perl

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