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New ideas for NYC food gifts that can travel well.

I'm flying out to Seattle and then road tripping for 17 days through Washington State, Montana and Portland, Oregon visiting four different sets of friends. They know I'm a food girl and they all rely on me to impress with the gift selection. I'm looking for some new ideas for treats to bring--it's got to travel okay since I'll be hauling around quite a bit and two of my visits don't fall until last the five days. Bagels are out except for the half dozen I'll carry on, since I can't fly with too many and they won't keep long enough to be worth the schlep. Katz's, Greenberg's treats, good rugelah, Gus's pickles, Jaques Torres chocolates....all done before. I'm looking for things they can't easily get out there.

Yeah...I realize that I'm a tough customer but hope some of you can inspire me.

Thanks in advance!!

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  1. http://www.despanabrandfoods.com/

    Despana has some great Spanish food items. I carried home some sherry vinegar, olive oil and chorizo. Unfortunately my avatar found the chorizo in the suitcase before I got it put away :( They have lots of dried meats that you can sample. I love that little store.

    408 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

    2 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      In my experience, and I've always wondered why, Seattle has great Spanish wines and food products. I wouldn't necessarily bring that, esp since it is not unique to NYC.

      1. re: chow_gal

        Glad to know that. Next time I run low on Spanish sherry vinegar I'll ask SEA daughter to bring me some.

    2. I'd bring pickles, but some of the more nouveau ones like Rick's Picks, Brooklyn Brine Co., or McClure's.

      Can you get Fox's U-Bet Chocolate Syrup easily on the west coast? You could bring some and make egg creams when you get there.

      Rick's Picks
      195 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002

      1. I think Milk Bar will send stuff? You could try and time it so some cookies etc get to each place right w you... maybe easier than schelpping. I know I know, DC love all over my face. I dont even really like milk bar but it is pretty unique.

        1. Being a transplant from the west living in NYC, I have found that Italian cookies have been a big hit with friends and family in Colorado and Seattle. In particular, they love pine nut cookies, cut up rainbow cake (don’t know the real name for it), oatmeal lace cookies and although not Italian, mini black and whites. I realize it's probably possible to get these in most metropolitan areas, but they are probably harder to come by, people aren't used to seeing them at every deli and bakery. Halvah travels well and is kind of different, although not a NY food per se.

          1 Reply
          1. re: colfaxBee

            I'm not sure that the cookies you mention would still be good after 2 weeks, though.

            1. re: fm1963

              Do they sell any of the Payard signature products at his new chocolate bar? Which ones would you say would survive the trip and still taste good after 2 weeks? I don't think any of Kee's chocolates would and I'm not sure Salumeria Rossi is unique enough to NYC. After all, Seattle does have Armandino Batali's Salumi store.

              1. re: kathryn

                Gotcha re salumi. Maybe I'm misreading the post, but Kee's might be good for the first set of friends (out of four), and therefore doesn't have to last for two weeks. Those chocs need to hand carried, though if Jacques Torres was a previous present, I'm assuming that won't be a problem.

                As for Payard, the hot chocolate packages, jams, caramels, and tea blends would travel well. I've ordered them online. Not sure if they are sold at the new chocolate bar.

                Jacques Torres
                285 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10023

            2. Mari's is a hidden gem in the newly opened Limelight Marketplace on 6th Avenue. Delicious "artisan" brownies in interesting flavors. The have beautiful gift boxes.


              2 Replies
              1. re: Blumie

                They have had a bacon and chocolate one recently which is fantastic-would be a good representation of what has been a craze in NYC over the past year.

                1. re: orthorunner

                  So funny! Last night, I actually decided to bake, box, and bring various brownies using local ingredients, including...candied bacon bourbon brownies, cheesecake brownies, and caramel sea salt brownies. and...I found the Mari's site AFTER I made this decision. While I won't be buying from there, I will be walking by there and and doing a bit of tasting for inspiration. I'm still gonna bring some purchased goodies as well, though. :)

              2. Thanks for all the good ideas!

                I'm thinking I may broaden to my original NJ roots since I'll be down the shore the week before I go, and get some good salt water taffy to bring along. I also really like the halvah idea. More pickles wood be good, but as this trip requires more traipsing around that earlier ones (why chocolates and other perishables aren't as good an idea for this trip as for prior ones), I worry about those glass jars. Pickle juice. Seriously risky. I'm a pretty decent baker, so plan to bake and bring tins of assorted brownies (sea salt, coffee, cheesecake, peanut butter) to bring. Wrapped well, the should hold up okay.

                These generally are people who appreciate good food, but they're not "fancy." Momofuku treats, Payard, etc., while I'd love to get, would likely be just plain pretentious to them. For example, the JT chocolates were my least successful gift thus far. :)

                Feel free to keep the suggestions coming!!

                1. My friends all like Eli's Parmesan Crisps. There are other flavors as well.. but I've never tried them. Recently, I served some with drinks to a friend from LA and told her the rest of the package was hers. I noted the next day it was carefullly stowed in her luggage. I buy them at The Vinegar Factory on 91st st... and I'm sure they're available at Eli's on 3rd and 80th.

                  Eli's Vinegar Factory
                  431 E 91st St, New York, NY 10128

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Gelaine

                    A full edition of the NY Sunday Times and a Fox's U-Bet Egg Cream kit.

                  2. This is the postmortem. Thanks for all the input!

                    I brought.....

                    Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey.

                    3 lbs of Katz's pastrami. Purchased the night before. Sliced and stored in waxed paper, foil, and bagged. Packed in a soft cooler with ice packs and put in my suitcase.

                    1 Moishe's jewish rye.

                    A dozen black and whites (also from Moishe's).

                    A giant basket full of NY-made foods, including among other things, Anarchy in a Jar jams, honey from the greenmarket, and Brooklyn Brine pickles.

                    A dozen NY bagels.

                    Salt water taffy from the Jersey Shore (I'm originally a Jersey girl).

                    Tins of homemade brownies in two flavors: Bourbon candied bacon (SO yum!!!!!) and espresso cream cheese.

                    It was all a big, big hit. BUT. I recommend NOT traveling with B&Ws late summer. They didn't hold up well.