I'm visiting a foodie friend and I want to bring them something unique from New York that's a bit more interesting than coffee or bagels.
It doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate, but needs to be something that can easily be brought on a plane, either in checked baggage or carry-on.
It also doesn't have to be from a recognizable name store or something that New York is known for, but it should be some kind of gourmet treat that you're not likely to find in many places outside of New York.
How long is your travel day, approx? Non stop or do you have a layover?
Recently, I went to California to visit my parents, and I brought them a bunch of cheeses from Artisanal. I kept the cheese in the fridge right up to the minute that I left for the airport - carried it on on the plane - and it was perfectly fine! And the flight time is about 5-6 hours. They LOVED the variety and we enjoyed the cheeses all week.
For NYC-specific stuff, I recommend:
Black and White cookies (Junior's are my choice)
Fox's U-Bet syrup.... this is essential to making a good egg cream. Found in many grocery stores.
Potholders or dishtowels from Zabar's... you can also ask the staff for recommendations of items that travel well, they are pretty nice about that.
Levain chocolate chip cookies
I say just go look around Chelsea Market:
All sorts of interesting Italian goods at Buon Italia
Some ideas for both checked & carry on:
- Bialys instead of bagels?
- Green's babka (sold at Zabar's and at Russ & Daughters)
- A jar of pickles from Brooklyn Brine Co., Rick's Picks, or McClure's Pickles - all available at Murray's Cheeses and other stores around town
- Buttercrunch from Roni-Sue's
- Salsa from the Brooklyn Salsa Company
- A bar or two of chocolates from Mast Brothers - they have a shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
and are sold at Whole Foods as well as Murray's, I like the olive oil/sea salt ones as well as the black truffle (!) ones
- Handmade candy bars from Liddabit
- NYC honey from Andrew's Local Honey, which is grown on various rooftop hives throughout the city - available at various Greenmarkets
- Also at the Greenmarket:
Oak Grove for grains (and I think they have some interesting flours and pancake mix, as well as corn for popping)
Catskill Merino for hand-dyed yarn
3 Corner Field for wool, milk soap, hats, sweaters, sheepskins, etc.
Jams from Berkshire Berries (he has unusual ones like garlic jam and pepper jam) or Beth's
Deep Mountain's maple syrups
Wines from Anthony Road, Buzzard Crest
Hawthorne Valley Farm for granola
Some farmers may still have apple butter, and/or kimchi. Check GrowNYC for who'll be at the Union Square Greenmarket on what days. I like Fridays.
- William J. Greenberg Black and White cookies - very New York-y!
- A bottle of Fox's U-Bet with instructions on how to make an egg cream
- Some jams from Sarabeth's bakery
- Hot chocolate mix from Jacques Torres or MarieBelle
- A pound of coffee beans from Gimme! Coffee, Ninth Street Espresso, Abraco
- Breuckelen Distilling Company's gin, Fire Island Beer Company or Brooklyn Brewery beer, or some local NY State or Long Island wines
- Kings County Distillery bourbon
- I think some of the vendors at the Brooklyn Flea & Smorgasburg have items that are prepackaged
- Momofuku Milk Bar cookies and/or cookie mix
- A copy of Edible Manhattan, Brooklyn, and/or Queens
- Macarons from Laduree if you're careful with them
I'd probably do a selection of items: pickles, chocolate babka, black and white cookies, honey, maple syrup, maybe some locally made candies/chocolates (assuming you are checking the liquids in your luggage and not carrying them on).
The babka will probably keep for a little bit, like the black and white cookies, but not for too long. Bagels and bialys will probably not last longer than the day of the flight. If you do bring them, put them into a ziploc bag, try to remove all the air, and freeze immediately upon arrival. And don't get the stinkier ones!
+1 for deep mountain maple and Andrew's honey. I'd recommend the dark grade B amber maple syrup and maple candies- I get the latter for my father in law who loves them. Andrew's honey is very good.
Also veniero's pignoli cookies are very portable. I've been recommending Veniero's a lot as of late :)
I knew you'd have great suggestions! Thanks.
Pickles are a really good ID, but I'm nervous about the jar breaking in my checked bag (it breaks the 3oz rules for carry on).
I think I'm going to go with Breuckelen Distilling Company's gin. The bottle should be stronger and I can box it.
For other people's reference, I've done babka many times at it can easily last about 5 days if sealed.
I'll still swing by Chelsea Market just to see if anything there catches my eye.