You've seen them: Wide clay pots filled with an array of small catci and other succulents. Putting one of those pots together isn't too difficult a DIY project (Google “planting succulents”). For your giftee who loves hands-on projects, gift him or her a container (another Google suggestion: “planting succulents in re-used containers”), a variety of plants and some potting soil designed for the succulents. Try Exotic Gardens (2212 El Cajon Blvd., North Park), City Farmers Nursery (4832 Home Ave., City Heights), Cedros Gardens (330 South Cedros Ave., Solana Beach) or Pigment (3827 30th St., North Park).
Great News! in Pacific Beach (1788 Garnet Ave.) is the OG of local cooking schools, with space for up to 52 students and classes ranging from “Friday Night Dinner Party Fondue” to pasta basics. They also sell almost every kitchen, cooking and baking product under the sun. For something for intimate, recently opened Hip Cooks (4048 30th St., North Park) holds classes limited to 10 to 14 students and offers an eclectic array of classes from dim sum to tapas to Indian-food basics.Got a pal who's into craft cocktails but doesn't have much of a home bar? Stop by the booze extravaganza that is KnB Wine Cellars (6380 Del Cerro Blvd.), where bottles of liquor fill shelves higher than the eye can see (or, at least, they seem that high). Be silly and grab a bottle of Smirnoff marshmallow-flavored vodka. Or, pick out a range of Bittermens bitters, some Fever Tree ginger beer for perfect Mules and a jar of Ole Smokey Moonshine cherries. For a cocktail set, stop by Pigment in North Park or Progress in South Park. Or go vintage and hit up Antiques on Kettner (2400 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy).
If you've lived in San Diego for any amount of time (and aren't a vegetarian), you've likely ventured over to Iowa Meat Farms (6041 Mission Gorge Road). But have you browsed the aisles? Packed into a space not much larger than most grocery stores' produce sections are shelves and shelves of sauces, spices, vinegars, oils, salsas, rubs and blends. Grab one of the shop's retro-logo'd winebottle carriers ($2) and put together a gift pack with wine, beer and slip some other items into the bag's slots. The insulated re-usable carrier ($3.99) makes for a good, practical gift holder.
Surfboard shaping is a dying art, yet one that still has a foothold in San Diego. The guys as Shaper Studios (6310 Riverdale St., Grantville) want to make sure that foot's firmly planted. They offer rentable space for folks who are handy (or hope to be come handy) in the board-making arts and also teach the basics of surfboard shaping. Spend $600 and your wave-riding recipient will get everything he needs to build his own surfboard, including 10 hours of lessons by a professional shaper. Or, go with a lessons-only package for $300. Gift certificates that can be applied toward shaping lessons are available in smaller amounts, too.