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What NYC foods would you want as a gift?

My foodie friend moved from New York City to San Francisco earlier this year and I am going to visit her next week. I want to surprise her with a gift basket of unique NYC goodies (chocolates, pastries, snacks, etc.). This question goes out to former New Yorkers or those who have visited and eaten in the Big Apple--what NYC foods would you want someone to bring you? Keep in mind that I will be flying, so it must be airline-approved. I was thinking maybe chocolates from Kee's or Jacques Torres, coffee beans from Ninth Street Espresso, something from Zabar's . . .

Thanks so much!

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  1. You know your friend's tastes, but stuff I've brought back for friends (and myself) include chocolate sables from Balthazar, sausage from Sikorski Meat Market in Greenpoint, things from Russ & Daughters, Black & White cookies from Zabars, local artisanal cheese from Murray's, H & H Bagels.

    You won't be going through customs, so there are few limitations other than liquids in your carry-on, and you can get one of those $2 insulated bags from Trader Joe's like I did.

    1. Black and White cookies. Yum.

      1. My New York friends bring me bagels from Zabars. I split them and freeze them to toast later. What a treat! I used to request pickles and hot tomatoes from Gus's pickles, but with the liquid restrictions on the airlines, that's no longer possible.

        2 Replies
        1. re: chadders

          There's no restrictions on liquids in checked bags; just be sure you package the pickle jars well.

          1. re: chadders

            Yeah. A pickled tomato can take out an airliner.

          2. Genuine old-school bagels from the Bagel Hole in Brooklyn. (Good bagels are as nonexistent in Manhattan as they are in SF.)

            A pound or three of sable from Russ & Daughters. Nova we got.

            A few mantou sandwiches from Province.

            A few slices from John's of Bleeker St.

            On our last trip we got food for the plane from Zabar's, compared with what we've got here it was pretty lame.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              "(Good bagels are as nonexistent in Manhattan as they are in SF.)"

              That's not true. Both Murray's and Ess-A-Bagel do excellent bagels in Manhattan.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                If good bagels are nonexistent in NY, they there is no such thing as a good bagel period.

              2. Definitely chocolates from Kee's, I'm getting all teary just thinking about them (so much better than Recchuiti). And even though it's not from new york, some Macarons from La Maison au Chocolat. Maybe some brownies from fat witch, preserves from Sarabeths (in my opinion the only good thing there).

                1 Reply
                1. re: jsgjewels

                  Oh, yes, those brownies from Fat Witch!!! Simply marvelous! I'm still dreaming about a couple of those gems a cousin brought over 3 years ago. And I'd love a sampler of (all, if possible) the smoked salmon varieties available at Zabar's. But we've got so many excellent jams, jellies, compotes, etc. in California that it would probably be more appropriate for the OP to take some back to NY. (Also, I've often seen Sarabeth's preserves being sold at discount outlets like Marshall's, so it may be a waste of precious luggage space.)