Best scandal, surf spot, place to eavesdrop and more.
Best clubs, bartenders, local artist, band and more.
Best restaurants by city, cheap eats and best restaurant of the county!
Best coffee shop, best bakery and more.
Best places to shop, best plumber and more.
Our picks for the sometimes less obvious winners.
Best Toy Store (2012)
Seventh and San Carlos, Carmel, 624-0441
480 Del Monte Center, Monterey, 643-0907
These two toy stores stand apart and above for the nostalgia value of their simply and creatively built throwback toys, puzzles, books and games. The fun stuff here might remind parents of the days when toys were sturdy, made in the USA of natural materials, handcrafted, more ingenious than engineered. The names alone can trigger that “I want!” response in the most stoic of persons, young or old: Rocket Balloon, Make Your Own Monster Puppet, Pretty Purse Fill and Spill, Electro Wizard Inventions, Disgusting Science Kit. There are puzzles that depict dinosaurs, farm animals and fractals. There are kites, dollhouses and building blocks. You’ll find board games galore and action figures for sure. Indulge in that certain special little one’s playful sense of learning. It’s the mission of these two classic stores.