Just the word “Montecito” conveys an image of posh, privilege, and pricey, but the village isn’t all gilded in gold. Tucked between San Ysidro Ranch’s $120 Montecito Margarita and the endless multimillion-dollar home sales, there are some gift items in the Village that would force even the most discerning discount-Grinch to grin.
To prove the point, Montage pranced out last weekend like a tight-fisted Scrooge on a value-driven quest. Our mission: To find gifts in Montecito that return a better-than-average bang for the average guy’s buck. With a $100-per-gift max, we thought it would be a tough assignment. But in no time, our sacks were brimming with good values galore. Here are the Montage Fab Finds, limited only by the size of our sack, space in our column, and the stamina of our legs.
FOR THE HOME
Get Artistic: Mir³ would be at home using these colorfully artistic yet functional serving pieces. The cream scoop ($25), cake server ($25), or salad serving set ($55) can be used to dish up a creative meal or just rest on the counter like the true pieces of art they are. Objects, 1187 Coast Village Rd.
Get Earthy: A black clay soup tureen called Chamba ($72) will keep the holidays hot. These traditional Colombian earthenware pieces are natural, food-safe, and suitable for the microwave, oven, and stovetop. Pierre Lafond-Wendy Foster, 516 San Ysidro Rd.
Budding Success: Mercury glass bud vases will bring glowing pleasure all year long. Use as a set or individual; smalls are $14, mediums $18, and larges $24. Lily, 1131 Coast Village Rd.
Order Takeout: Give the woman in your life this silk purse fashioned like a Chinese takeout box and you are sure to find good fortune. $39. William Laman, 1469 E. Valley Rd.
Stuck on You: Colored enamel and sparkling stones combine to make these antique-style cloisonne pins attractively unique. A variety of shapes and colors are just the thing to keep most gals held together. Prices vary between $42 and $54. Lewis & Clark, 1286 Coast Village Rd.
Give Her Gold: What woman wouldn’t feel rich in a sparkling gold lame? A pullover is perfect for the holidays and also light enough to bring out her year-round brightness. $60. Lana Marme, The Last Resort, 1485 E. Valley Rd.
Cuddle Up: Create plane envy with this tiny package that becomes an inflatable pillow and plush velour travel blanket. Perfect for snoozing while the other passengers joust over remnants of the overused airline amenities. $30. La Vie Bohme, 1150 Coast Village Rd.
Contemplate Proust: If he were not he, who would he be? For the thinking man on your shopping list, this and other thought-provoking questions are provided by the French essayist Marcel Proust in a book called The Proust Questionnaire. $30. Circa, 1155 Coast Village Rd.
Cheers! What better way to toast the gent in your life than to give him a gift to end his holiday in style? Package up a fresh Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur cigar ($9.99) and an individual Martell VSOP brandy ($4.95) and let him retire to taste the life of a millionaire. The Bottle Shop, 1200 Coast Village Rd.
It’s All on Your Head: If he’s crazy about the Village, how about a cap that says “Montecito”? $18-$25. Montecito Sports, 1046 Coast Village Rd.; Montecito Tennis Shop, 1187 Coast Village Rd.
FOR HOLIDAY DELIGHT
Tell Them How You Feel: These sparkling, snowy white ornaments will shout how you feel about the holidays in bold letters. Hang them at home or take them along to a holiday party to spread “Joy” ($20), “Wish” ($22), “Dream” ($25), and “Believe” ($34). La Vie Bohme, 1150 Coast Village Rd.
Mac and Cheese: If it’s good enough for Ty Warner, why not you? The San Ysidro Ranch’s Plow and Angel restaurant offers its famed Macaroni and Cheese for $14, and we hear Warner orders it often. Add a glass of Tantara Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir ($17) and a tiny tip and you’ll be living the life of a Montecito billionaire for about $35. San Ysidro Ranch, 900 San Ysidro Ln., after 5 p.m.
For more Montecito Montage, which comes out every Wednesday online, see independent.com/montecito.