Prices are serious, but not stratospheric. Designer Darbury Stenderu loves rich fabrics: handpainted velvets and silks she makes into stunning dresses, shirts, capes, tapestries, scarves, and pillows, priced from $50 to $2,000. Custom leather jackets at Lava 9 take about two weeks to make and cost around $550; others are priced lower. Nomads sells its own make of men's overshirts of soft sueded cotton or wool, while Vintage Boutique has retro-'70s Levi's cords and bell-bottoms for $38 to $44. Try Buu, a tiny and eclectic shop, for Vietnamese silk-blend toiletry kits, bottles of sea salt, and Japanese ceramics, or Pomp for simple Japanese-style table napkins.

When you're ready to give your credit card a rest and sip some tea-in-a-glass, stop by Frjtz, an Amsterdam-style cafe offering 15 types of tea and gourmet Belgian-style French fries.

THE RICHMOND
San Franciscans living in other parts of town think of The Richmond district the way Manhattanites think of Staten Island - they don't. Quiet, less crowded, more spacious than the rest of the city, The Richmond is the only neighborhood really suited to exploring by car. Go there for an afternoon to recharge your urban batteries with green spaces, sea breezes, and wild beaches.

The Richmond reminds a visitor that San Francisco is an ocean city. You'll find a majestic, salt-sprayed view of the Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Point in the Presidio - not precisely in The Richmond, but on the way there, and close enough.

Sip jasmine brew at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. Then try some of the city's best Asian cooking along Clement Street between 4th and 23rd. Fountain Court features Shanghai-style items like smoked fish and Shanghai Juicy Steamed Buns (pork dumplings stuffed with ginger). The menu at Bai Som - grilled meat, toasted rice powder, very hot sauces - comes from Issahn in northern Thailand. Traditional Thai cuisine is served at Khan Toke, and Burmese and Mandarin dishes at Burma Super Star.