Second Street and Fourth Street, between Candelaria and Osuna
Acequia Booksellers’ innards
4019 Fourth Street NW • 890-5365
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 10:30 p.m.-5 p.m.
Closed Sun. and Mon.
This high-ceilinged adobe is flanked by tall windows and has the feel of a church. Acequia Booksellers' approach to the printed word is indeed reverential, but it's not inaccessible (cued by comfy, crackling jazz piped in from iTunes). The store specializes in rare and out-of-print works, Southwest and Native American subjects, and the humanities, with a large number of French selections. "It's called Acequia because bookstores feed people's minds like an acequia feeds farms," explains owner Gary Wilke. "And it starts with A."
Acequia Booksellers is owned by Gary Wilke
4200 Fourth Street NW • 344-3538
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Operating continuously since 1959 (though it was called Blank's back then), Partyline endures as a full-service, family-owned flower shop that delivers worldwide. Impeccable care is given to all the flowers and indoor plants here, so the arrangements—designed by award-winning florists—last for weeks, not days. If flowers aren't right for the occasion, there are plenty of darling gifts to chose from, or the doting staff will create a custom gift basket of anything else your heart desires.
French Riviera Bakery
4208 Fourth Street NW • 343-0112
Hours: Tue.-Fri. 7 a.m.-3 p.m., Sat. 7 a.m.-1 p.m.
Closed Sun. and Mon.
The only thing more traditional for Christmas than a bûche de noël is one made by a fifth-generation French baker. For 15 years, boulangère Daniel Reymonenq has turned out more than 100 yule log cakes at his North Valley bakery each holiday season. (The meringue "mushrooms" are almost too adorable to eat—almost. Prices start at $18.50 for a 6-inch cake.) There are also galettes du roi for the new year, napoleons for birthdays and croissants just because.
China Phoenix 2
4210 Fourth Street NW • 884-8217
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
When asked how owner Nancy Yashimoto describes a "stamper" (a person who uses rubber stamps for artistic and crafting pursuits), someone’s voice from within the store's workshop area crops up: "Obsessed?" A small galaxy of stamps, along with inks, cardstock and papers, and a stream of project-oriented classes run by "fabulous" teachers, is the calling card of this spotless stamp and embossing supply.
Abundant and unique are two words that sum up this home haven. Oversized architectural accents (Victorian wrought-iron fences and fountains in the sculpture yard), furniture (Oriental settees, mink-upholstered armchairs) and period minutia (crazy cookie jars from the ’60s) overflow with irreverent sass everywhere in sight. "We only get the strange things," says owner Andy Sorette. "That's what we like." Best of all, the prices are well below their actual market value.