With just days left until the Christmas holiday, it’s time to check over your list as many times as it takes to make sure you will have everything you need in place. Santa checks twice, but it’s a good idea to give it at least a few more glances after you think you’re really done. If you’re anything like me, there’s always something you’re forgetting.
It’s old news that more Americans will shop online this month than ever before for gifts, with the majority of their holiday money to be spent with Amazon. If you are looking for something more personal, and to make a day of your shopping, there are several small towns with cute shops where you can find fun and interesting items to gift this holiday season. Here are three stops to make for some out-of-the-box local shopping in the next two weeks, with places to catch a bite to eat while you’re there. Make an entire day of it and knock all of your shopping out at once.
Central Perc European Cafe
2315 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood
937-299-5282 or www.facebook.com/Central-Perc-European-Cafe-111553675548171/
Grab a homemade scone or pastry with some jam and butter and get ready to go. If you get a late start, there’s always an afternoon tea option from 2 to 4 p.m. consisting of finger sandwiches, small pastries, cream, scones and a pot of tea for $14 a person. And tropical Smoothie is right next door if you need a refreshment to go.
My favorite places to shop: Little Exchange, Blue Turtle Toys, Dorothy Lane Market, Madame Delluc Artisan Chocolatier, Wild Poppy, Get Dressed!, The Flower Shoppe.
Canal Street Arcade and Deli
308 E. 1st St., Dayton
937-220-9333 or https://canalstreetarcadeanddeli.weebly.com
The downtown restaurant scene continues to get better and better and there’s no shortage of choices including Basil’s on Market, Lock 27, Mudlick Tap House, Table 33 and all of the wonderful spots in the Oregon District. But if you are spending time walking around and looking for interesting gifts, a cool beer, an over stuffed deli sandwich and a few free video game plays will provide a great break in the day. Canal Street Arcade and Deli has some of the best sandwiches in town in a casual setting for a great price. And the sandwiches aren’t just for those who enjoy animal protein; they also serve some nice options for those who prefer a vegetarian diet. The Champ made with grilled roast beef, corned beef, baby Swiss, horseradish cheddar, sauteed red onion, banana peppers and thousand island dressing on toasted white bread is a favorite ($6.25 for a half sandwich, $8.25 for a full sandwich and $9.25 for a sandwich with more meat). The Hari Curry ($8.75) made with a grilled black bean burger with roasted tomato, red onion, red pepper, goat cheese and curry powder pressed on a garlic Tandoori Naan bread is probably my favorite vegetarian option.
My favorite places to shop: There are great spots to find gifts, but The Contemporary Dayton, Agnes and Orson, Heart Mercantile and Luna Gifts and Botanicals are a few of my favorites.
Bullwinkles Top Hat Bistro
19 N. Main St., Miamisburg
937-859-7677 or http://bullwinklestophatbistro.com
Tender baby-back ribs cooked in Q-Sauce is a great way to cap off a day of shopping. Or you can just go for one of their fantastic fried potato dishes and carb load. The Hash-puppies ($6.99) made from shredded potatoes, cheddar cheese and bacon mixed together are hand scooped and fried to a golden brown served with a spicy ranch dipping sauce. The loaded “Moosetaters” ($8.99) take it a step further with thick slices of potato deep fried to a golden brown, then topped with melted cheddar and Jack cheeses, bacon pieces, chives and house-made ranch sauce for dipping. Top if off with pulled pork for an additional $3.
My favorite places to shop: Great Miami Outfitters, Christmas on Main Street, Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop, m&co.