Shopping local is a triple triumph: in addition to delighting your loved ones with thoughtful and creative selections from the wealth of artisan goods, gourmet treats and stellar services the Toluca Lake area has to offer, you’re also giving much-needed support to the one-of-a-kind businesses that help our community thrive — not to mention giving yourself the gift of convenience by sticking close to home! Read on for our list of favorite finds from local vendors.
When it comes to gifting, Pergolina’s Paulanna Cucinello advises, opt for timeless pieces that will be cherished and passed down for generations. Her picks for the season include an elegant martini gift set featuring a pair of crystal glasses and an Italian pewter shaker, and a Danielle Welmond 14K gold-chain necklace with a crocheted gold-thread pendant of garnet and cultured pearls. These treasures and more can be found among Pergolina’s meticulously curated selection of modern, European-inspired goods. “You never know what you’ll find,” Cucinello says. “We believe in supporting local artisans and women-owned vendors, as well as offering a selection of gifts that allow you to give back.” The shop also makes holiday shopping a breeze with its renowned gift-wrapping services, complimentary with purchases made in store or online.
B The Enchanted FloristTop
Make the holidays memorable for your loved ones with festive bouquets and planters from The Enchanted Florist. The shop’s “Designer’s Choice” mix is a popular gifting option for those who want to create an arrangement with their choice of colors and textures. Owner Kim Williams will work with you to craft unique and unexpected designs based on your preferences. “Flowers that are interesting or a little more difficult to come by tend to be more fun for us to design with,” she says, noting that she uses high-quality blooms from all over the world or grown on the coast by third- and fourth-generation families. “It’s a treat to have something fresh and live, colorful and beautiful to look at in your home or office,” she says. “Many people won’t indulge in or treat themselves to the luxury of fresh flowers — that’s why we think they make great gifts!”
Verse’s collaboration with Astrea Caviar is the perfect accompaniment to any of your favorite dishes. The proprietary caviar is aged for two months and served with umeboshi (salted plum) crème fraîche and fried Kennebec potato chips. Chef Oscar Torres recommends spreading the crème fraîche on the chips and topping it with caviar for the right balance of flavors. “The experience of caviar while listening to first-in-class entertainment is a ‘dinner and a show’ unlike any other,” Torres says. “Our gift certificates are an opportunity to present your loved ones with something truly special, a night in a perfect acoustic environment with live music showcasing the foremost in Angeleno cuisine and libations. Memories of aged caviar, A5 Wagyu, dry-aged fish, oysters and everything else that blends the Los Angeles culture are everlasting. And all this in the heart of Toluca Lake.”
D Generales & GeneralesTop
Delight your nearest and dearest this season with a dazzling piece of jewelry or elegant timepiece. Generales & Generales has everything from sparkling stocking stuffers to customizable keepsakes and timeless investment pieces, so you’re sure to find the perfect gift at the perfect price. “The best holiday gift is one you can truly make your own,” co-owner Sylvia Generales says. “Build a one-of-a-kind pendant, bracelet or pair of earrings with our interchangeable gemstones and personalized name charms. You can also add sentiment with your loved one’s birthstone or a special charm to mark a milestone.” The store also has an in-house jewelry collection with unique designs to choose from, as well as a fine selection of watches and vintage and estate jewelry.
E Just Gorgeous FlowersTop
A floral arrangement from Just Gorgeous Flowers is a perfect gift for colleagues, friends and loved ones, providing a fresh seasonal reminder of your affection and the spirit of the holiday season. “This year, our clients are requesting holiday-themed arrangements in a multitude of styles with an emphasis on bespoke and personalized gifting,” owner Philip Nicolas says. “As a special bonus, Just Gorgeous Flowers is offering our Toluca Lake neighbors complimentary delivery as a thank-you for over a decade of continuous support.”
F The Family RoomTop
Give the gift of connection and community this holiday season! Experiences — rather than stuff — are a great choice for babies and their parents, and The Family Room conveniently offers gift certificates online for all the young families in your life. Parents and kids love coming to The Family Room each week for Parent & Me, Toddler & Me and music classes to see their friends and learn. “Socialization for little ones, connection and friendship for parents, and research-based information, plus lots of laughs and hugs are all things you can find at The Family Room,” owner and founder Karen Stoteraux says.
G Prosecco TrattoriaTop
Treat your loved ones at one of Toluca Lake’s most popular eateries, Prosecco Trattoria — whether you savor a special holiday meal together or give a gift card so they can enjoy the welcoming ambiance, top-notch wine list and authentic Italian cuisine whenever the mood strikes. Popular dishes this time of year include the grass-fed New Zealand lamb chops with a zesty balsamic horseradish reduction, and Black Angus beef tenderloin medallions with a Gorgonzola Barolo wine sauce and crumbles of Gorgonzola cheese. Noting that regulars call it the place “where everyone knows your name,” general manager Eric Avallone says the restaurant is the perfect way to celebrate the season because “Prosecco Trattoria is where the heart is. We are a true family here — your family becomes our family.”
H Restrained WhimsyTop
Restrained Whimsy is beloved by locals for a reason. The Studio City–based boutique offers a distinctive, curated selection of goods for all ages and occasions as well as personalized advice on all your gifting needs. “We embrace all the fun, cool and laughter while understanding your gift needs to be unique and individualized for the person you have in mind,” Chief Creative Officer Scott Marshall-Miller says. This season, he recommends Lynn & Liana cheese boards for the hosts on your list. They come in a variety of sizes and styles, are made from acacia wood and feature hand-painted resin designs. Add to that Niven Morgan and Four Points Trading Company candles, which are popular for scents that can create a cozy holiday atmosphere in any home. Choose from classic scents like frosted pine and aspen, or inventive ones like candy cane and roasted marshmallow.
I Random Acts of BreadnessTop
Whether you’re looking for a delicious holiday gift or the perfect accompaniment to a special meal, you’ll find it at Random Acts of Breadness. “I know of no other bakery that makes organic, gluten-neutral, lectin-free sourdough like we do, and has the selection of gourmet, handcrafted accoutrements that pair so nicely with our breads,” baker and owner Randall Michael Tobin says. Pick up a loaf of Traditional Artisan Country Sourdough or Cinnamon Raisin Maple Pecan Sourdough, choose from a curated collection of artisanal spreads and toppings, shop the custom-designed cutting boards and bread knives, give a gift card or assemble multiple items into a gift-packaged Breadness Bundle. Around the holidays, watch for the limited-edition GingerBreadness Sourdough, plus a thick-sliced version of the traditional sourdough designed for making stuffing.
J Milt & Edie’s DrycleaningTop
A Milt & Edie’s Drycleaners and Tailoring Center gift card is a perfect way to give busy friends and family some extra time during the holiday season and beyond. A neighborhood favorite for more than 70 years, Milt & Edie’s offers an array of time-saving services including dry cleaning, tailoring, fluff-and-fold laundry and household linen cleaning. “This year, gift someone a fresh start, some free time and service with a smile,” co-owner Michael Shader says. “We wish everyone a happy holiday season, and we hope to see you soon!”
K Aldik HomeTop
“If you’re looking to gift yourself the everlasting beauty of an artificial Christmas tree, take it from us: there’s nothing online that compares to Aldik Home’s line of AH Gold Label Christmas Trees — they are simply stunning!” Bryan Gold says. Whether you’re decking the halls in your own home or want to spread holiday magic to a loved one, you’ll find more than 60 trees on their full-size artificial Christmas tree lot and another 50-plus fully decorated trees, not to mention lights, ornaments and trimmings galore. With spectacular seasonal displays featuring different themes each year, Aldik’s winter wonderland has been a must-visit local holiday tradition for more than seven decades.
L The Perfect ParrotTop
The Perfect Parrot is the community’s premier pet store specializing in parrots, offering everything from cages, treats and toys to grooming, care tips and boarding services. During the holidays, owner Kim Everett says many flock to the store for special handcrafted bird holiday ornaments, which come in 50 different varieties and can be custom-ordered. “We’ve been selling these since our store first opened nearly 15 years ago, and they are always so popular,” she shares. Area bird owners who travel during the season can also take advantage of the store’s expert boarding services, which Everett takes great pride in providing. She notes that people who wish to board their birds need to ensure their pet’s vaccinations are up to date beforehand.
M The Strength CodeTop
Free fitness videos and tips are everywhere online, but they can often be more overwhelming than helpful. Having a certified, experienced trainer who can design a safe, sustainable exercise program that fits your lifestyle is the gift that keeps on giving year-round — and that’s just what The Strength Code offers clients of all ages and fitness levels. Invest in wellness for a loved one or yourself by purchasing a gift card this season. “Our $50 Intro Offer makes a great stocking stuffer and includes a consultation with a certified strength specialist, medical body composition analysis and two one-on-one sessions,” owner Sheila Melody says. “We truly love what we do and our Toluca Lake community spirit inspires us every day!”
Shop Local. Don’t Forget the Gift Cards!
In addition to patronizing retail stores this season, shop outside the box by purchasing gift cards for favorite restaurants, health and beauty services, fitness classes and other activities. They don’t take up space, are easy to ship, offer enough flexibility to please even the toughest customers on your list, and are a great way to support different kinds of local businesses while giving loved ones the chance to enjoy a memorable experience — something that’s more precious than ever these days.
Gifts That Help Others
As we make our shopping lists this year, it’s important to remember those who are homeless, hungry, alone and vulnerable. Whether you donate on your own behalf or in another’s name — a great gift choice for those who have no space or desire for any more stuff — consider supporting a charity close to your heart. There are a wealth of worthy causes in the world, but here are a few local nonprofit options.
Supports the fight against cancer through the sale of high-quality, gently used, donated merchandise.
Helps the poor, working poor and homeless meet short-term needs for food and basic services to live with dignity and become as self-sufficient as possible.
Fights hunger and prevents food waste by rescuing fresh surplus produce and donating it to hunger relief agencies across Southern California.
Helps people transition out of homelessness and poverty through a continuum of housing enriched with supportive services.
Mobilizes community resources to alleviate hunger in L.A. County.
Offers shelter, life necessities and a bridge to self-sufficiency for people experiencing homelessness.
Keeps music alive in our schools by providing vital support services and new instruments to underfunded programs nationwide.
A coalition of diverse religious institutions and individuals working together to address food insecurity in the community.
A nonprofit, no-kill organization dedicated to eliminating animal suffering, shelter intervention and euthanasia through hands-on rescue.