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What's a good San Diego Food Gift To Give Out of Towners?

I'm traveling out of state this week and I wanted to get some family friends of mine something local to San Diego. I thought something food related would be nice since they have a decent sized family. Obviously it will have to be something that keeps well in a day's car ride or something I can put in a cooler at least. Any ideas for something not just good, but screams San Diego?


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  1. first things that come to mind:
    - Julian Pies
    - wine from an SD county vineyard
    - beer from an SD brewery

    1. In addition to goodhealthgourmet:

      Julian Hard Cider
      Local produce - strawberries might work
      carne asada. . .not sure how that would work, but it screams San Diego
      rolled tacos. . .also not sure how to transport it

        1. re: cstr

          I forgot about Julian. Strawberries and pies sound great. The Mexican food would be awesome if I could teleport it over there. =P I wanted something the whole family could enjoy so I'm not sure about wine, although, maybe I can get two things one for the parents and one for the whole family.

          Thanks for the suggestions! More welcome if there are any.

          1. Local San Diego microbrews. There are dozens to choose from,. However, I'm partial to Ballast Point's Victory at Sea (the brewery on Linda Vista should still have some bottles for sale) and anything from Alesmith.

            1. In N Out
              Carne Asada Fries


              1. I would go and get some carnitas, lots of corn & flour tortillas, salsa, beans and rice and transport that bad boy up in a cooler with some local beer..make sure you get the cilantro, onions and limes wrapped up.
                Las Cuatra Milpas or El Porvenir would be my choice..

                1. Chuao Chocolates

                  Chuao Chocolate Cafe
                  1935 Calle Barcelona # 172, Carlsbad, CA

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: DiningDiva

                    Or Eclipse chocolates. . . mmm. . .salted caramel. . .

                      1. re: maestra

                        Nice! I've never been to Chuao...what do you recommend? A lot of people seem to like the spicy maya. For my own selfish conquests, what drinks do you recommend?

                        1. re: darrenw

                          Chuao makes a lot of delicious chocolates. The ChocoPods with banana caramel in them are ones I'd guess to be very kid friendly, plus they are individually wrapped and in a box, so the parents can dole them out over time.

                          My favorite of their chocolates is probable the one w/ panko breadcrumbs and sea salt. I forget the name, but it's great.

                          1. re: Josh

                            Chuao has been running a special on their chocolate bar with the Panko. Buy one and they'll donate a percentage of the price to the Japan Quake aid efforts

                            1. re: DiningDiva

                              another vote for Chuao. The ChocoPods are a great idea. Their hot chocolate mixes are very good. I am partial to the Spicy Maya made w/ whole milk.

                          2. re: darrenw

                            The Maya is nice if you like spicy, slightly oddball chocolate. Their Panko bar is probably the most widely crowd-pleasing (sea salt, panko crumbs -- it's a high class Nestle Crunch and is quite good). The Firecracker is fun and amusing (the pop rocks really pop) but not everyone likes the spicy edge. Honeycomb is more interesting than you might think - a subtle sweet crunch. Caracas is probably their most mainstream bar (good chocolate with nuts).

                            I'd definitely get a Maya, Panko, Honeycomb, and Firecracker for yourself, and decide what you think your friends would like.

                            1. re: darrenw

                              *love* Chuao. i left it off my list of suggestions since you can get it online and in stores outside of San Diego, but it's still great chocolate.

                              i'mthe Chinita Nibs, Spicy Maya, and Coffee & Anise are all delicious. i also have my eye on the Coco, Honeycomb, and Caracas, none of which i've tried yet.

                              you can see all the varieties on their website:

                          3. re: DiningDiva

                            +1 for Chuao and also Eclipse. My favorite chocolate bars from Chuao are the Spicy Maya and the Firecracker (the latter to my surprise I wasn't sure about the pop rocks). I also love their picante caramel which can be had in bonbon or ChocoPod format.

                            From Eclipse, I like the Moroccan Spice and Sea Salt Nib bars.

                          4. Avocados signed by avocado grower and elected county blowhard Bill Horn.

                            3 Replies
                                1. re: Josh


                                  And although I snickered out loud at Encintan's suggestion, bizzwriter's addition of the sad trombone noise made choke on my coffee (luckily, I grabbed a paper towel before it hit the monitor). Well done!

                              1. If I was the out of towner, and you had a really good cooler, I'd want some of that San Diego Gold, aka uni, aka sea urchin. Or, any other shellfish residing in your waters.

                                1. A growler of one of the following IPAs:
                                  Pizza Port Nickel Bag
                                  Port Mongo
                                  Ballast Point Sculpin
                                  Alpine Nelson
                                  Alpine Hoppy Birthday
                                  Alpine Duet
                                  Alesmith IPA
                                  Green Flash West Coast

                                  1. Haha love the responses on this. Thanks everyone for the suggestions!!

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: darrenw

                                      I just thought of something that you might like. Oasis Ice Cream, in Imperial Beach, makes these really great Mexico City-style ice cream and frozen fruit bars. They've told me that many out-of-state visitors will load up a cooler w/ dry ice and their bars to take them back to AZ. On a similar front, there's a place in Normal Heights called Viva Pops that makes unique frozen pops with local ingredients. They are very, very good, with several unique flavors.

                                      Viva Pops
                                      3330 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116

                                      1. re: Josh

                                        Hi Josh, just lurking on the discussion. Thanks for the ice cream and pop suggestions. I will check it out for myself.

                                    2. stone brewery makes really tasty hot sauces and marinades with their beer. i know they have them at the brewery but i think you can also find them at san diego bev mo's.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: tastycakes

                                        They have a 32 oz (I think) jug of Stone BBQ sauce at costco that looks like a growler that could make a nice gift.

                                        1. re: JRSD

                                          Saw that and it's under $10.

                                          1. re: JRSD

                                            Just saw that too this week -- gonna have to give it a try. The Stone bloody mary mix that I found at BevMo is quite good.

                                            1. re: bizzwriter

                                              That reminds me that the Ballast Point Bloody mix is also very good.

                                              1. re: JRSD

                                                OOPS -- just checked and it's NOT Stone bloody mary mix -- it's BALLAST POINT.