Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Aug 20, 2013 12:59 PM

Gifts from California for New York friends?

I wanted to surprise my friend with gifts unique to California, but I haven't been able to think of much. I'm in San Francsico, but being born and raised here, I'm not sure what is completely unique to California or the area. Any suggestions?

So far, I was thinking either chocolates from Ghirardelli or See's or Jelly Bellies. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: c oliver

      Thanks so much! I've been searching for about an hour.

      1. re: denisedang

        I KNEW I remembered this and googled and still couldn't find. Finally I thought I remembered that OP was traveling to Japan and that was the key word :)

    2. I can get See’s and Ghirardelli in NY, not sure about Jelly Bellies though. A bottle of wine, olive oil, Cowgirl Creamery cheese or meyer lemons would all make my day. Here are gift discussions from the SF board.

      13 Replies
      1. re: EM23

        Thanks for the tips! I didn't know See's could be found on the East Coast. Glad I posted just to check.

        1. re: EM23

          You can find Jelly Bellies in quite a number of places in NYC as well. Heavenly Delights, Dylan's Candy Bar, Economy Candy, The Sugar Shop, The Sweet Life, Candiworks, It'Sugar, etc. Heck even all the Whole food locations has them. You can also find meyer lemons, and even great artisanal cheese, though they are a bit harder to find. (Bobolink has a stall at both the Union Sq green market on Fri, as well as the green market at Lincoln Sq on Thursdays. Valley Shepard Creamery from Long Valley NJ has a shop in Park Slope selling its award winning cheeses.) I think it is wonderful that you wish to bring a bit of SF to your NYC friends/hosts. Certainly, if I had a visitor coming from the SF area, I'd love it if they brought me a nice baguette of sourdough bread, some good artisan cheese and bottle of nice Cali wine. It would make for a nice snack while we get you settled in and unpacked, and while we have a wonderful catching up chat.

          1. re: PuniceaRana

            I like this idea so I'm going to grab some wine instead, but I'm worried cheese won't hold up well in a 5 hour flight.

            1. re: denisedang

              Most hard and semi-hard will do fine in checked baggage as it's very cool in the belly of the plane.

              1. re: denisedang

                California wine is not exactly rare in NYC and aren't you worried about the bottle breaking in your luggage? You can't carry it on board.

                1. re: Just Visiting

                  Not too worried about it breaking in my suitcase. I've traveled with bottles before and have never had a problem. I wouldn't think there would be that many "rare" things that SF has that NYC might not, at least not anything that's non-perishable. I might bring olive oil instead since I found out they love to cook.

                  1. re: denisedang

                    Recommendation: WHITE wine. My in-laws brought us a botte of a South African liqueur that is hard to find in the U.S. They were super-careful about wrapping it. It broke anyway and everything in the suitcase was soaked. Fortunately, it was a nearly clear liquid and washing did the trick. That wouldn't be the case with red wine.

                    1. re: Just Visiting

                      Very wise idea! I usually have the bottles individually placed in ziplock bags, placed as close to the enter of the suitcase as possible. The only issue I've ever had was with a champagne that I brought back from Europe. Not a good idea to open that too soon after the trip....

                2. re: denisedang

                  It is hard to imagine in this era of globalization (we ship apples to New Zealand; New Zealand ships apples to us) that there is anything that can't be purchased in NYC.

                  It seems to me that your admirable concern about bringing a wonderful, thoughtful gift is looking down the wrong end of the telescope. Instead of focusing on what you can find in California but not NYC, why not focus on your friends' interests, preferences, etc. Suppose item X is unique to California but your friends don't care for item X? But suppose they enjoy See's chocolates? So what if you can get See's in NYC. They'll still enjoy it, and after all, it is the thought that counts.

                  1. re: Just Visiting

                    Very true. Unfortunately, I've only met them a couple of times in life so I don't know too much about what they like. I figured olive oil and wine would be safe bets.

              2. re: EM23

                California avocados! The Florida ones aren't as good. Hard to transport, though. Meyer lemons, too, if they're in season, California artisanal olive oil, those would be my dream gifts.

                Although many years ago I went to visit a friend in Alaska- I asked her what I could bring, she said avocados! So I packed some up and took them, but when we went to the f=grocery store, the avocados were not only much bigger, they were cheaper than what I'd paid in AZ. Oh well.

                1. re: EWSflash

                  But aren't Hass avocados available just about everywhere?

                2. re: EM23

                  I can get See's, Ghirardelli, and Jelly Bellies in Texas ... but maybe not the whole line? Agree that cheese sounds great ...

                  1. re: PotatoHouse

                    I second the Medjool dates. They are wonderful stuffed with some goat cheese. Local olive oil - great choice. Local boutique wine always welcome. New York has many wonderful artisan cheeses, so unless it's something special and unique, I'd pass. Forget the chocolate; it's widely distributed everywhere. The best lemons I've ever had were some not so pretty ones freshly picked from someone's backyard.

                      1. re: Scoutmaster

                        scoutmaster: if you like veined cheese, try stuffing the medjool dates with some creamed veined cheese (just whip it up with a little water to make it a little sotter) and then topping them with a sprinkling of chopped, roasted, marcona almonds.

                      2. As pointed out Jelly Bellies are everywhere (Walgreen's included). I'm a big fan of Bella Viva's dried fruits (at the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market). They have varieties you can't find elsewhere in teh country and the quality is top-notch.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ferret

                          Thanks! I think I'm going to switch and do a bottle of CA wine, some good olive oil, and some dried fruit.

                        2. As someone who grew up in cali and now lives in nyc i would suggest to pick up a few things from the farmers market in the ferry building- a local olive oil, unique loaf of bread, granola, etc. previous cheese and wine sounds great too!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Ttrockwood

                            I like this idea. I went this weekend and pick up some olive oil and wine. I really want to do cheese, but worried about storage and pressure changes, etc. (not to mention worrying about all my clothes smelling like cheese...haha)