A fresh look at holiday-shopping opportunities in a favorite Issaquah shopping area: Gilman Village.

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The hot spot

On Gilman Boulevard near downtown Issaquah, off Interstate 90 at Exit 17

When Marvin and Ruth Mohl snapped up a neglected cluster of Issaquah buildings back in 1972, they wanted to create a retail park that was a little prettier than a typical suburban mall. The result? Gilman Village, a cutesy, brick-and-wooded shopping plaza with 40 independent, locally owned businesses.

Hot shops

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• You won’t find any Silly Bandz at White Horse Toys, 317 N.W. Gilman Blvd., Suite 13. This 3,000-square-foot kiddie mecca sells novelties that stay out of the mass market. Experiment with the Ecosystem Future Farm ($36), a garden where budding scientists can invent liquid nutrients and grow their own sandwich fillings. Bargain find: Mini magic tricks, including squirt rings and magic ink ($2.95 and up). See www.whitehorsetoys.com.

Aubrey’s Clock Gallery, Suite 12. Yes, they’re known for their exquisite selection of antique clocks, but they’re also one of the few regional dealers of San Francisco Music Box Company music boxes. The dainty, charming gifts come with scenes of Christmas, “Phantom of the Opera,” Harry Potter and more ($30 and up). Bargain find: A practical three-in-one timer, stopwatch and alarm ($2.95) would make a great stocking stuffer.

Revolution Gallery, Suite 26, is a colorful shop with crafts by local artists. Hot this season are melted glass bottles ($10 and up). Lovely as decorations, they’re also stylish as serving trays. Bargain find: Scrabble-tile pins and rings ($5), with retro images of food, animals and cities.

Hot lunch

Warm up with a generous plate from Bamiyan Afghani Restaurant, Suite 31B (www. bamiyanrestaurant.com). Try the badenjan borani ($7.99), spiced eggplant in a tomato-yogurt sauce, served with rice and a wedge of Afghani bread.

Hot chocolate

The trendy Issaquah Coffee Company, Suite 46, opened on Halloween and serves Portland’s Stumptown coffee. You can slurp rich, hot cocoa for $3. There also are treats, like gluten-free cakes and muffins.

— Rachel Solomon, Seattle Times staff reporter

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