Holiday Shopping on San Francisco’s Fillmore Street

Photo courtesy of Fillmore Merchants Association

Last week, I shared a “12 Days of Small Holiday Shopping” guide, which gave SnapTwice readers some ideas for original, often handmade gifts from small retailers from all over the world. That post caught the attention of a friend, who is a design expert and small business owner in San Francisco, who talked with me about how valuable a hyper-local shopping guide would be for one of her favorite neighborhoods in the city — Fillmore Street.

Located between Pacific Heights to the north, Western Addition / Japantown to the south, and Van Ness Avenue, the main artery of the city, to the east, Fillmore Street is treelined and friendly, upscale but not stuffy, full of small shops, cafes and even several Michelin star-awarded restaurants, and is a draw to brand-new, small businesses as well as larger retailers. As you can tell, it’s one of my favorite neighborhoods too, so I enthusiastically agreed.

To do justice to a holiday stroll down Fillmore, however, I am including a few before & after pairs that round out a shopping experience — with some eating, drinking and primping. I hope you enjoy this list and are able to take in the sights, sounds and smells of this wonderful San Francisco neighborhood. Happy Holidays!

  1. Hot Cocoa & S’mores by Jane
Before & After: hot cocoa & cookie gift set and s’mores ready to eat by Jane

Amanda Michael is the founder and owner of Jane, a beloved cafe and bakery with 3 locations in San Francisco. The first spot she opened was on Fillmore Street. This is Jane’s ready-to-give hot cocoa and cookies gift set, which includes “house-made marshmallows and cocoa mix with graham crackers and a Jane mug.” Your lucky gift recipient can have hot cocoa with marshmallows and dip a graham and / or have a hot cocoa with a s’more on the side. Either way — it’s a handmade, local, delicious San Francisco treat.

2. Customized Kicks by Superga SF & Thinkdos

Before & After: 2224 design and customized by Thinkdos

Claudia Volpi runs Superga San Francisco, a shop on Fillmore Street that is dedicated to the classic — and nearly 100 year old — Italian brand of Superga sneakers. Volpi’s shop sells a wide range of colors, fabrics and even brings in artists to customize the sneakers for women, men and children.

For these cute kicks, Superga collaborated with designer and artist, Thinkdos to create a colorful and playful customized version of the “2224” design for one lucky customer. Cupcakes, unicorns, emojis and more — so fun!

3. Hand-Painted South Pole Bandana by 45R

Before & After: paint & fabric in Japan and a finished scarf featuring penguins

45R is a Japanese clothing brand with locations in San Francisco, New York and Hawaii. The San Francisco location is run by Ryo Mizuno. The team at 45R includes highly-trained artists and an atelier (workshop) with tremendous skill and experience working with traditional Japanese wood block prints, hand-painting, and Ai-dyed & indigo-dyed fabrics.

This bandana is part of a holiday series, 45R called “Cruise Christmas Picture Book Bandana,” ($88). The 4 cities included in the series are: Antarctica (South Pole), a French port town, Japan and London. I love the penguins in this South Pole image. The colors and darkness of December at the South Pole balance the sweet, playfulness of the animals.

4. Firehouse Pantry Gift Set by Spice Ace

Before & After: Guajillo Chiles and 9 Jars of Yummy Potential

Olivia and Ben Dillon run the Spice Ace shop. They source spices from all over the world, and prep individual spices, blends and gift sets, like this one. The firehouse pantry gift set ($48) is ideal for the family members in my life who adore spicy food, bbq and trying out new twists on flavor-forward recipes.

I also appreciate that this gift set pays homage to the men and women who keep us safe. In the Spice Ace’s own words, “Firehouses all over the United States are known for great cooking and delicious food, in addition to their outstanding service to our communities. This set of 9 blends will easily help you make delicious meals for your family worthy of any Firehouse. Our heartfelt thanks to all our firefighters who risk their lives for ours.”

But wait, there’s more. For each Firehouse Pantry Gift Set they sell, Spice Ace will donate $3 to the charity SFFCPF — San Francisco Firefighter’s Cancer Prevention Foundation www.sffcpf.org. “This charity is dedicated to providing medically approved cancer screenings for the early detection of cancer in active & retired firefighters… Please give the gift of spice which will make your cooking delicious and help our firefighters.”

5. Silver & Gold Necklace by Agnes Seebass at Hi Ho Silver

Before & After: Agnes in her Austin studio and one of her stunning pendant necklaces

Hi Ho Silver is run by Victoria Dunham and specializes in Mexican silver jewelry made by craftsmen and women. This beautiful pendant necklace is made with sterling silver and 24k gold leaf by Agnes Seebass. (Silver and gold, silver and gold … reminds me of one of my favorite songs from the animated holiday classic movie, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer).

In Victoria’s words, “for the last 18 years, I have built relationships with the most talented designers and skilled silversmiths working in Taxco and Cuernavaca. These relationships enable me to provide my clients with handpicked sterling silver jewelry that is interesting, unique, and the utmost in craftsmanship. From the talleres of silversmiths still creating the work of past masters, I offer a collection of classic traditional designs. From the studios of many award-winning artists, I offer contemporary new designs that are destined to become classics.”

6. Indian Chai by the Boba Guys

Before & After: spice ingredients and warm chai

When it’s time to take a break from shopping, it’s time to visit Boba Guys, where you can get a hot tea, like this chai, or a cold classic milk tea and a snack. You could even pull double duty and browse fun, playful merchandise for people on your list. The Boba Guys use premium, loose-leaf teas (not powder), housemade syrups (not artificial), and pride themselves on their organic milk partners and “grade A balls.” Don’t worry, they’re tapioca.

6. Gypsy Pepper Pie by Pizzeria Delfina

Before & After: Fresh, local ingredients and hot, bubbling goodness

Getting hungry yet? It would be a good idea to warm up at the lively, local favorite Pizzeria Delfina. This is their Gypsy Pepper Pie, made with anchovies, mozzarella, panna (cream), and capers — yum!

Annie and Craig Stoll had been running their James Beard Award-winning restaurant, Delfina, when they decided to take over the space next door and bring “Neapolitan-inspired pizzas to San Francisco.” That was 2005, and today Pizza Delfina serves happy customers in two San Francisco locations as well as two more on the Peninsula (Burlingame and Palo Alto).

Pizza Delfina is a farmer-to-table restaurant that complements its pizza menu with “seasonal antipasti, piatti (small entrees), beer, wine and more.”

7. Jacob’s Spicy Bloody Mary by The Snug SF

Before & After: Secret Spicy Sauce & the Lucky Cocktail that gets it

A drink at a brand-new, local bar might be just what you need to power through the shopping you have left to do. Try out The Snug for a hand-crafted cocktail. This Bloody Mary caught my attention, partly because of the awesome, secret hot sauce they use, a recipe that comes straight from one of the founder’s dads!

The Snug was opened by four friends — Jacob Racusin, Zack Schwab, Shane Matthews, and Brian Shin — less than a month ago (end of November 2017). They serve bar snacks, small plates and full dinners as well as a creative cocktail menu.

8. Leather Shoulder Bag by Zinc Details

Before & After: small Italian leather shop and Vas & Susan with “the bag”

When you’re ready to start shopping again, you might want to visit the store run by the “unofficial mayor of Fillmore Street,” Vasilios “Vas” Kiniris, and his wife Wendy. Zinc Details is a large retail space that curates home goods, furniture, lighting, art and more from all over the world. They can help you get your modern and mid-century style on.

9. Café Tuberosa Cologne Absolue by Atelier Cologne

Before & After: coffee & citrus and some of my favorite scents

Know someone who needs a new scent? I can think of a few folks on my list who could use an update. Café Tuberosa Cologne Absolue by French perfumerie Atelier Cologne combines Indian tuberose with Sicilian tangerine, coffee, cardamom and more. I love the smell of tuberose and coffee, so I was intrigued by this combination. Atelier Cologne has shops around the world, including one at 2105 Fillmore Street.

10. Cut & Color by Renaissance Salon San Francisco

Before & After: Long Brunette to Blunt Blonde Bob

And finally, after taking care of everyone else’s wish list all day, are you feeling like taking care of yourself? Totally get it. How about some attention to your tresses? Whether you need a scalp massage or a whole new look, trusted locals say that Renaissance Salon is the place to go. For over 20 years, Christine Coppola has run Renaissance in the Fillmore neighboorhood, where she is also part of her team of stylists. In this before and after pair, client Ariana had her hair cut by Francisco Martinez and colored by Maryanne Garcia. We think Ariana is stunning in both pictures, but the blonde, blunt cut with bangs makes such a striking difference, that we imagine she is having fun turning heads on Fillmore Street as well as wowing her friends and family with an entirely new look.