Buy Local Guide
The Real L Word: Spending local means more bang for the buck.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Local spas. Local salons. More local wines than you can pull a cork from, swirl around a glass and drink by this time next year. Local artists and craftspeople. Local theater tickets and museum visits, local encounters with the wilds of the Monterey Bay. Local produce, locally sourced meats at farmers market and local grocers…
The list we put together is not comprehensive, but it’s not random either. We set out to develop a slice-of-life look at great local stuff. Not just something you can buy from a locally owned store, but some of the fun stuff that is conceived here, produced here and sold here. Monterey County has too many wineries to list in this tiny space – same goes for museums and theaters, artists and authors, much less restaurants and recreation opportunities.
So as we invite you to seek out the gift ideas in the following profiles, we do so with the following disclaimer: some of these ideas represent a type of thoughtful present more than a specific gift. For example a Monterey Museum of Art membership shows up in the list, but if you prefer MY Museum or the Steinbeck Center or the PG Museum of Natural History, by all means, get your loved one a membership to your favorite. Similarly if your masseuse is at Aqua Blue or Sano Spa or Vista Blue and you are prompted by the write up of Spa on the Plaza to give the gift of relaxation, then support your favorite body-worker.
The concept here is local. It’s in this newspaper’s DNA: we proclaim ourselves proudly as “Local and Independent” on the front cover of every issue of the paper. The following list is meant to highlight the scope and variety of gift ideas available, should you choose not to spend your money at Walmart or Target, but it’s not meant to be exclusionary.
How do you know truly local when you see it? Trust yourself. Hit up the websites of local merchant organizations, like the Old Monterey Business Association or the Oldtown Salinas Association. Visit your mom-and-pops and ask the proprietors where they shop. Check out the Arts Council for Monterey County to connect with local arts, or the Monterey County Theatre Alliance for the best in local productions. If you’re going to spend money this season, spend it where (in our humble and local opinion) it matters.
– Mary Duan
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Monterey Abalone Co.
Wharf II, Monterey | 646-0350, www.montereyabalone.com | $24-$26/pound
The slow-growing crustaceans are farmed at the end of Monterey’s commercial wharf and make a unique and delicious gift for neighbors, friends and – with easy shipping options – far away family. Co-owners Art Seavey and Trevor Fay believe in keeping the conditions in which the abalone grow as close to natural as possible. Meaning fresh seafood farmed sustainably.
California State Parks Store
(916) 375-8040, www.store.parks.ca.gov | $125
Give the hiker, biker or adventurer a full year of state park recreation. No more rummaging for change or worse, not having cash to pay for single day use passes to California’s beautiful places. This is an all-access pass to good times.
Monterey Museum of Art
559 Pacific St. or 720 Via Mirada, Monterey | 372-5477, www.montereyart.org | $20-40/single, $40-60/family
Give a year’s worth of access to creativity spanning centuries and featuring historic local artists. Membership comes with admission for you and a guest, plus invitations to previews and discounts on lectures and museum schwag.
Wine Club Membership
A Taste of Monterey
700 Cannery Row, Monterey, 646-5446 | 127 Main St., Salinas, 751-1980 | www.tastemonterey.com | $29/month Wine Club; $99/signature series
Think whale watching, only with less throwing up (and more wine). That’s what a visit to A Taste of Monterey’s 5,000-square-foot space can feel like thanks to nearly floor-to-ceiling windows and oceanside Cannery Row location. A $29/month membership includes two tastings there and two bottles from Monterey County growers shipped to a doorstep of choice. (They average at least $35 in value per pair and are curated by season – light and crisp in the summer, for instance, bolder come winter – and to give tasters new labels to try.) December’s shipment is Christopher Paul Chardonnay ($23) and Radog Syrah ($29). Makes a great gift for oenophiles further afield too (maybe you can take the tastings), as does the “signature series,” three two-packs over the course of the year for $99.
Atticus Kodiak, Queen & Country, Whiteout, Checkmate
1287 N. Main St. #D, Salinas, 443-3900 | 400 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey, 333-1085 | www.currentcomics.net | $3.99-$30
Greg Rucka is a prime time writer of comics and graphic novels, regular novels and video games who’s won four Eisner Awards (the comics world equivalent of an Emmy) and has had at least one of his comics adapted into a movie – Whiteout. But he makes our list because he grew up ’round these parts, having graduated from York School and worked at Current Comics in Salinas, where you’ll find much of his creative output.
Baja Chili Toffee and Sea Salt Caramels
2 Harris Court, Suite B6, Monterey | 655-8527, www.lulas.com | $5.95-$54.95
While the 45-piece box of slow-crafted, hand-dipped, exotically seasoned sea salt caramels is a totally justifiable $54.95 expenditure for a gourmet chocolate freak, the family-run operation at Lula’s offers an impressive number of thoughtfully packaged gifts for under $25 too. To start, there are smaller sea salt vessels, like the nine-pack for $12.95. There is also a four-piece favor box that includes a dark chocolate truffle, a buttercreme, a milk-nut cluster and a trademark caramel for $8.95; the pretty peppermint bark bundle retails for $6.50; and packs of Gigi’s caramels or zippy Baja chili toffees start at $5.95.
240-8840 | $80
Like, actual bees? When you call Paul Riggs of Salinas-based P&R Riggs and ask for bees, that’s exactly what you get – about 20,000 of the little hummers he cultivates “out in the country” set in five frames to start your own apiary. Riggs, 76, a Salinas Valley beekeeper like his father before him, says if you set up backyard hives in April, you should be harvesting honey by the end of the fall, with a caveat: “Some years, you’ll get 100 pounds of honey and some years they might not even survive. It all depends how you take care of them.” Note beekeeping legality varies by city: In Marina, you’re allowed up to three backyard hives. Elsewhere? You might need to keep your bees secret.
Benedictine Baked Goods
Hermitage Book, Gift & Gallery Store
62475 Highway 1 in Big Sur | 866-886-0544, www.hermitagebigsur.com | $39/Full size fruit or date-nut cake; $10/1 pound bag Holy Granola
Delectable fruit and date-nut cakes dipped decadently in brandy is about as quintessential a holiday gift there is – but you haven’t tried these cakes. Made from scratch at the Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur by Benedictine monks, there are some powerful forces of flavor at work here. If fruitcakes aren’t your style, the hermitage’s Holy Granola is another great monk-created recipe to consider.
Big Sur Jade
Peninsula Gem and Jewelry Supply
2245 North Fremont Blvd., Monterey | 375-3027, www.peninsulagemandjewelry.com | Prices vary
Our local signature stone can be elusive, with imposters from China comprising much of the jade supply. But bona fide Big Sur jade can be found in nooks like the Old Monterey Farmers Market, Phoenix Shop at Nepenthe, and of course the Big Sur Jade Company (www.bigsurjadeco.com). Deals also abound at the Trekkie Convention of jade slinging: the annual Big Sur Jade Festival in October (www.bigsurjadefest.com). Or, try your luck scoping for it on a South Sur beach. Even if you don’t find the semi-precious, it’ll be an epic journey.
Bonny Doon Soaps
The Cooper Store
Cooper-Molera Adobe, 525 Polk St., Monterey | 649-7111, www.mchsmuseum.com/adobecoopermolera | $3.95 and up
Run by the nonprofit Old Monterey Preservation Society, the Cooper Store is located adjacent to the historic Cooper-Molera Adobe and carries the soaps and salves made the old-fashioned way by Bonny Doon Farms near Santa Cruz. Bonny Doon has been growing real English lavender and making heavenly scented body products since the ’70s. Support a quaint local farm, a nonprofit supporting local history and a friend’s hygiene all in one classy purchase.
Carmel Valley Grapevine Express
150 Del Monte Ave., Monterey | 1-888-678-2871, www.mst.org | $8/day pass
Give the wine lover on your list safe and relaxing passage through the heart of Carmel Valley’s wine country with stops to some of Monterey County’s best tasting rooms including Bernardus, Parsonage and Boekenoogen. The express picks up in downtown Monterey and continues on through Carmel Valley Village with stops at 10 wineries, all on a simple and efficient schedule.
Ceramic Tea Bowl by Kiyoshi Io
Cha-Ya Tea and Things
118 Webster St., Monterey | 646-5486, www.chaya4tea.com | $38-$45
Cha-Ya owner Mitsuko Gammon stocks a small but striking collection of traditional Japanese teaware, including items by Monterey artist Kiyoshi Io. Support this six-year-old local business and a lifelong artist in one transaction while keeping warm this winter.
www.montereycountygives.com | Any amount at all
‘Tis really the season of giving, and a quick and social way of putting your local dollars into local nonprofits is through the Monterey County Gives! campaign. A joint project of the Weekly and The Community Foundation for Monterey County, Monterey County Gives! highlights the big ideas of 95 local nonprofits. Click, give and feel good about helping.
Community Supported Agriculture
455 Canyon Del Rey Blvd. #303, Monterey | 726-9432, www.serendipityorganics.com | $25/week; $99/month
Serendipity’s CSA doesn’t start hitting homes with dinosaur, curly and Russian kale, broccoli, heirloom carrots, beets, strawberries, endless salad greens, torpedo onions, squash of all sorts, fennel, recipes and the good vibes of supporting the farms that feed sustainable communities until spring, but that only makes the waiting more meaningful. Folks like High Ground Organic and Mariquita Farms also do the CSA thing, just beyond county borders, which might make for closer proximity to North County gift givers. For even more community supported agriculture options, check out www.ecovian.com/s/monterey-ca/csa.
Community Supported Fishing
Local Catch Monterey Bay
345-5153, www.localcatchmontereybay.com | $20-$40/week; 4-, 8 – or 12-week delivery options.
Taking a page from local community supported ag, Alan and Oren of Local Catch Monterey Bay are ready to start dishing seafood bounty caught locally to those who sign up for their weekly deliveries. Monterey favorites like squid, cod, salmon and sand dabs can now be snagged before they’re shipped to faraway processing plants. And if that isn’t enough to make a case for CSF, they also adhere to sustainable guidelines. Meaning you can give the gift of goodness from the briny deep and feel good about low environmental impact.
Compost and Mulch
Last Chance Mercantile
14201 Del Monte Blvd., Marina. | 384-5313, www.mrwmd.org | $4/bag for compost and small wood chips
It may not be the most glamorous gift, but the do-it-yourself bags of compost and wood chips are some of the best deals around for your green-thumbed loved ones – and there’s something full-circle about amending local soil with stuff recycled from our own district’s landscapes. Compost and worm bins are available at a discount for locals.
English-style Back Bacon
PO Box 4063, Monterey | 915-0218, www.bakersbacon.com | $9.99-$11.99/pound (about 10 slices)
When one of the better chefs in town happens to use bacon in his recipes in more creatively delicious ways than most everyone else, and then happens to start his own line of bacon, you better believe it’s damn good. Montrio Chef Tony Baker hand-rubs his English-style “back bacon,” double applewood smoked and applewood smoked pork with a blend of sugars, kosher salt and a secret taste equation of spices. Then it’s smoked in a half-century-old smokehouse for 20 hours. If only the joy of eating it lasted as long.
Ocean and Lincoln, Carmel | 383-3392, 277-0056 | $300-$5,000
Rigid geometry comes as a stark contrast to the plein aire style customarily from the Central Coast, but local painter Scott Lawrence Jacobs uses vivid oils and jagged lines to create scenes and figures, from within his Carmel studio.
Fly Fishing Lessons
Central Coast Fly Fishing
7172 Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley | 626-6586, www.centralcoastflyfishing.com
Owner Geoff Malloway has been selling the wares and teaching the skills of fly fishing in Carmel since 1996, and he’s got it all. Quality products, practical knowledge of the craft and a commitment to the natural resources the pasttime relies on – namely water and fish. Offering a multitde of fly-casting and fly-tying classes, as well as guided trips, this shop is an anglers’ wish come true.
Fog’s End Distillery White Dog Whiskey
Bottles ‘n’ Bins
898 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey | 375-5488, www.fogsenddistillery.com | $35
This clear, strong spirit from Craig Pakish’s Fog’s End Distillery in Gonzales is the perfect antidote to the awkward holiday family gathering. Pakish uses an old-school sour-mash whiskey method – we’re talkin’ copper pot stills, y’all – to make White Dog. Pick up a bottle at the best lil’ liquor store on Lighthouse.
Garden Beds and Organic Starts
The Raised Bed
1101 Rosita Road, Del Rey Oaks | 595-4570 | $75 and up/bed; $3 and up/start
The Salad Bowl of the World can feel remote for Peninsula residents up against chard-eating deer, root-sucking gophers and week upon week of summer fog. Expertly crafted raised beds can not only keep eager pests out of your dinner salad, but also support crafty local designers using Bay Area redwood. TRB also stocks lots of organic starts, from dino kale to purple wave mustard greens.
2078 Sunset Drive, Pacific Grove | 372-8867, www.penpots.com | $5-$500
With a talented rotation of local potters cycling through the gallery throughout the year, there are a wide range of styles for every taste. Vases, bowls, plates and any other decorative vessel you can imagine can be procured for that art-appreciating someone that just has to have that original piece.
Historic Monterey Walking Tour
Portola Plaza, Monterey
521-4884, email@example.com | $20
Explore California’s first capital on foot as local history buffs walk you through town and through time, from the first arrival of the Spanish explorers to California statehood. A great way to see Monterey and appreciate those old adobes in a whole new way.
Home-Delivered Raw Food
Patti Jayne’s Raw Cuisine
Food In The Nude
277-6911, www.foodinthenude.wordpress.com. | $80 and up for two-meal portion delivery.
The Peninsula is lucky to have not one, but two raw-food mavens offering to drop prepared raw-food creations in your home refrigerator. Ingredients never taken beyond 105 degrees Fahrenheit retain all their wholesome enzymes and nutrients, but the rich flavors whipped together by Patti Corrigan Stevens and Anna Masteller won’t make you think beyond yum.
Two Girls From Carmel
1015 Cass St. # 11, Carmel | 626-4426
Continual freedom from dust and dirt, or just a “oh no, the in-laws are coming for the holiday” on-the-fly cleaning: The Two Girls from Carmel can do it all. Licensed, bonded and experienced are they, and non-judgmental too. The gift of a living space that sparkles and shines, even if only for a day or two, can’t be underestimated.
Images of America books
600 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey, 375-4208
Museum of Monterey
5 Custom House Plaza, Monterey, 372-2608
Old Monterey Book Co.
136 Bonifacio Place, Monterey, 372-3111
It may look like cheating because this Arcadia Publishing series of photo-intensive books on the histories of various cities and towns spans the nation, but they do it in a fully local method, compiled by local historians and writers, and utilizing locally-sourced archival photos.
Monterey Bay Kayaks
693 Del Monte Ave., Monterey and 2390 Highway 1, Moss Landing
373-5357, www.montereybaykayaks.com | $30/day
It’s easy to spend hours floating among the abundant critters in the Monterey Bay or Elkhorn Slough. Naked-eye views of sea otters, dolphins, sea lions, jellyfish and harbor seals provide a reminder of what makes this region a stand-out.
Kneel and Heal Bundle
Tassajara Hot Springs
39171 Tassajara Road, Carmel Valley | 415-865-1899, www.sfzc.org/tassajara/ | $95/night shared room and up
Good things come to those who wait. And meditate. The “mountain Zen center” closes for the work/study winter, but when it opens to the public again in the spring, you know you have at least one relative that could benefit from the sanctuary provided by the ancient native replenishment center. By the time you make it out here, through the mountains, down the steep dirt roads, and into the healing hot springs and deeply nourishing foods, it won’t feel local, but that’s a very good thing – and well worth the wait. Gift certificates are available. Om my god.
The Hat Shop
Sixth and San Carlos, Carmel | 809-8876, www.lalaoriginals.com | $25-$250
Proprietor Cindy Muscarello’s simple mission is to save the planet, one accessory at a time. And she does it in her Salinas-based workshop by crafting a line of scarves, wraps, capes, hats, fingerless gloves, totes and market bags from repurposed and recycled fabric and used clothing she picks up at local second-hand stores. Keeping it even more local, Muscarello outsources all sewing to local seamstresses.
604 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey. | 375-5454, www.recycledrecords.net
230 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey. | 646-9020, www.vinyl-rev.com | $1-$10
This one’s a bit obvious in a way – we all like listening to music – but to go local is a less obvious route in the rush to hear the latest breaking thing on iTunes or Grooveshark or Pandora. Plus, there’s the communal love of attending a good live show and copping the tunes and maybe a T-shirt.
Winter Drew Design
3348 Paul Davis Dr. Suite 105, Marina | 384-1101, www.winterdrewdesign.com | Price based on size, scope and customization of piece.
Alan Drew brings his years of metal-bending know-how and artistic eye to every project, creating one-of-a-kind pieces of functional art for the home. If unique is what your going for this holiday season, let Drew and partner Lisa Guthrie heat and pound a lasting piece of the household for the homeowner on your gift list.
Monarch Butterfly Clothing
210 1/2 Forest Ave., Pacific Grove. | 373-KIDS, www.sproutbabyboutique.net. | $15-$21
The baby clothes here are made with more than fabric and paint, there’s some creative love at play. Every piece is made using shirts made here in the U.S. by American Apparel and every shirt is direct-pressed with original art, allowing for variations in artwork and ensuring every piece is unique.
Off the Vine Cosmetics
Scheid Vineyards Wine Lounge
751 Cannery Row, Monterey. | 297-3377, www.offthevinecosmetics.com | $8/soap; more for cleansers, serums, moisterizers, etc.
Salinas mom Stephanie Tyndall created her beauty product line to be free of toxic stuff like synthetic chemicals, parabens and sodium laureth sulfate. It’s all harvested in the U.S. and developed without animal testing – but best of all, it taps the power of wild-crafted fruit to rejuvenate and nurture your skin.
Adventures by the Sea
210 Alvarado St. and 299 Cannery Row, Monterey | 372-1807, www.adventuresbythesea.com. | $30-$75
Give the gift of Monterey Bay environmental immersion with a two-hour paddle board lesson. The friendly instructors at Adventures by the Sea will show you how to paddle like a pro all while taking in the sights at locales including Cannery Row, Lovers Point and Stillwater Cove.
Paperoni Holiday Card
Miss Trawick’s Garden Shop
664 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove | 375-4605, www.misstrawicks.com | $1.75
Two reasons Paperoni products are way better than Hallmark cards: 1) They’re made locally by Pebble Beach resident Ginger Essick and other community members. 2) The proceeds from their sales go to Operation Yellow Ribbon – Cards For the Troops. Send a smile, help a soldier. It’s that simple.
Happy Girl Kitchen Co.
173 Central Ave., Pacific Grove | 373-GIRL, www.happygirlkitchen.com | $8
Gift certificates are a great play here, since so many options proliferate, between the cafe fare, house kombuchas, spicy carrots, dry-farmed tomatoes and preservation workshops (marmalades! sauerkrauts! “advanced” pickles!). Happy G also bundles goods into great handmade gift collections like the Marmalade Mixer ($52) and The Happy Girl Picnic ($39), which have already started selling out. But you can’t beat the pickled beets for their zingy, earthy, colorful kick in the tastebud.
Restaurant Gift Certificate
Various local eateries
It’s the ultimate no-brainer of an easy gift. Pop into your favorite locally owned eatery (and a good list of more than 220 can be found in our Wine & Dine Guide, npaper-wehaa.com/monterey-county-weekly#2011/10/19/s1/) hand over some dough and give someone the gift of not having to cook for the night.
Pacific Grove Art Center
568 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. | 375-2208, www.pgartcenter.org
Monterey Museum of Art-Pacific
559 Pacific St., Monterey. | 372-5477, www.montereyart.org
Play the odds with two currently running art shows. Pacific Grove Art Center’s Patrons Show corrals 151 works of art by local artists and collectors and sells 151 “raffle” tickets ($50-$75) and then invites ticketholders to a drawing (Dec. 11) that decides the order by which they choose a painting. The first ticketholder drawn takes first pick of the lot, right on down til there’s one painting for the last ticketholder. The Monterey Museum of Art’s Miniatures show gathers more than 300 works of art, including childrens’ art, each wtih a corresponding box underneath, into which you place as many raffle tickets as you see fit. Tickets ($5/ticket; $30/7 tickets) can be purchased through Dec. 31; the drawing (you don’t have to be there) takes place Jan. 2. Ideal for the art lover (and gambler) in all of us.
Spa on the Plaza
201 Alvarado St., Monterey | 647-9000, www.spaontheplaza.com
Being voted best spa in Monterey County this year by Weekly is reason enough to mosey on over and grab some feel-good gift certificates for a lucky recipient. The myriad spa treatments including facials, body polishing and a massage called the Heaven Express are just a few other relaxing reasons to add this to your gift list this holiday season.
Spirit Arts Jewelry
This… Is… NOW! Performance Salon
980 Fremont St., Dance Studio 102, Monterey | 644-9613, www.deannaross.etsy.com | (7-9pm, second Saturday of each month at Monterey Peninsula College’s Dance Studio 102). | Average $18-$20/pair of earrings
Deanna Ross has been creating Spirit Arts Jewelry from her Monterey home since 1999. Finding inspiration in local materials and local colors, these pieces are one-of-a-kind, inexpensive and elegant.
Various theater companies. | $7 and up
The ideas may come from anywhere in the world, but our local theater companies – actors, stagehands, directors, stages, seats – that materialize those ideas. Plus, a gift of theater tickets carries cultural cache. Plus, after a performance you can talk to the actors and have a drink with them – at a local watering hole. And, since the gift of shared experience doesn’t stop with the dramatic stage, consider passes to Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey Bay Blues Festival, the Steinbeck Festival, Carmel Bach Festival and other endless local engagements.
Whale Watching Tour
7881 Sandholt Road, Sand City. | 917-1042, www.sanctuarycruises.com | $18-$48
Tangible gifts may get re-gifted, sold or thrown away, but this experience may linger fondly with someone their entire lives. Whale watching in the Monterey Bay can be a profound encounter with nature – and as a bonus, you’ll likely spot pods of dolphins and other interesting marine life. Princess Monterey (372-2203), Monterey Bay Whale Watch (375-4658), Chris’ Whale Watch (375-5951) or Monterey Bay Boat Charters (372-0599) also do tours from Fisherman’s Wharf,
3770 The Barnyard, Carmel | 626-5454, www.allegrogourmetpizzeria.com | $40
Few gifts say “You are OK – I like you” as well as pizza. Or wine. Here a gift certificate means both, at high quality, in the proverbial comfort of your recipient’s own casa. Any gourmet 16” take-and-bake pizza on the menu – including Sean’s Thai Pie – (normally $27.59 hot) and a bottle of local small-batch, often estate wine from Gino Abraham’s new wine bar (like Talbott, Bernardus and Paraiso, normally $21-$33) scorch out the door for a clean $40.
Wubeez Lint-free Buffing Cloths
233-9635, www.wubeez.com | $8.95
Not too long ago, Sierra Mar server and Monterey resident Robert Hendrickson set out to discover the best lint-free buffing cloth in the land. He’s done it – and don’t take our word or his for it. Ask the folks at dozens of spots like Rio Grill, Andre’s Bouchee, Pebble Beach Food & Wine or the industry blogger who called it “the perfect balance between weight and absorbency.” Hendrickson does personalized monograms for those who order in bulk. iPads and TVs love the rub as much as wine goblets, too.
Yoga Gift Certificate
Seaside Yoga Sanctuary
1360 Fremont Blvd., Seaside. | 899-YOGA, www.seasideyogasanctuary.com | $14/drop-in, $36/3-class card, $90/month unlimited; discounts for military.
Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or an unsure newbie, the diverse classes at Laura McKinnon’s Seaside Yoga Sanctuary – and new sister studio, Pacific Grove Yoga Sanctuary – will treat you gently, stregthening both your core and your inner awareness.