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Gifts from California for New York friends?

denisedang Aug 20, 2013 12:59 PM

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!

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  1. c oliver RE: denisedang Aug 20, 2013 01:08 PM

    Here's a recent thread:


    2 Replies
    1. re: c oliver
      denisedang RE: c oliver Aug 20, 2013 01:14 PM

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

      1. re: denisedang
        c oliver RE: denisedang Aug 20, 2013 01:22 PM

        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. EM23 RE: denisedang Aug 20, 2013 01:28 PM

      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
        denisedang RE: EM23 Aug 20, 2013 01:34 PM

        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
          PuniceaRana RE: EM23 Aug 20, 2013 02:11 PM

          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
            denisedang RE: PuniceaRana Aug 21, 2013 09:47 AM

            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
              treb RE: denisedang Aug 22, 2013 05:04 AM

              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
                Just Visiting RE: denisedang Aug 26, 2013 10:16 AM

                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
                  denisedang RE: Just Visiting Aug 26, 2013 12:15 PM

                  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
                    Just Visiting RE: denisedang Aug 26, 2013 03:46 PM

                    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
                      denisedang RE: Just Visiting Aug 26, 2013 04:17 PM

                      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
                  Just Visiting RE: denisedang Aug 26, 2013 10:24 AM

                  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
                    denisedang RE: Just Visiting Aug 26, 2013 12:17 PM

                    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
                EWSflash RE: EM23 Aug 25, 2013 06:21 PM

                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
                  c oliver RE: EWSflash Aug 25, 2013 06:33 PM

                  But aren't Hass avocados available just about everywhere?

                2. re: EM23
                  foiegras RE: EM23 Aug 26, 2013 12:09 PM

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

                3. PotatoHouse RE: denisedang Aug 20, 2013 04:46 PM

                  California Medjool DATES!!!!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: PotatoHouse
                    Scoutmaster RE: PotatoHouse Aug 20, 2013 08:35 PM

                    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
                      denisedang RE: Scoutmaster Aug 21, 2013 09:48 AM

                      I like this olive oil idea!

                      1. re: Scoutmaster
                        westsidegal RE: Scoutmaster Aug 22, 2013 12:06 AM

                        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. re: PotatoHouse
                        mrbigshotno.1 RE: PotatoHouse Aug 22, 2013 05:53 AM

                        Yep, medjools!

                      3. f
                        ferret RE: denisedang Aug 20, 2013 06:18 PM

                        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
                          denisedang RE: ferret Aug 21, 2013 09:48 AM

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

                        2. Ttrockwood RE: denisedang Aug 20, 2013 07:15 PM

                          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
                            denisedang RE: Ttrockwood Aug 26, 2013 12:19 PM

                            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)

                          2. r
                            ricepad RE: denisedang Aug 20, 2013 09:38 PM

                            Since you're in SF, take some real sourdough and, if you can manage it, as many Dungeness crabs as possible (pack w/ dry ice in a sturdy styrofoam chest).

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: ricepad
                              denisedang RE: ricepad Aug 21, 2013 09:49 AM

                              haha I thought they had better crabs on the East Coast!

                              1. re: denisedang
                                ricepad RE: denisedang Aug 21, 2013 10:47 AM

                                Not in my opinion. Blue crabs and stone crabs are good, but nothing compares to Dungies!

                                1. re: ricepad
                                  Delucacheesemonger RE: ricepad Aug 22, 2013 07:15 AM

                                  Oh boy, do we disagree on this.
                                  If l knew l were dying tomorrow, l would eat blue claws today.

                            2. d
                              denisedang RE: denisedang Aug 21, 2013 09:56 AM

                              I got some great tips that chocolates can pretty much be found anywhere. Best items are CA wine, good olive oil, dried fruits/bread/pretty much anything from the Ferry Building, medjool dates, and Meyer lemons. Cheese is also great!

                              Thank you everyone for the help!!

                              1. f
                                Florida Hound RE: denisedang Aug 21, 2013 04:48 PM

                                If I had a gift-giving friend from California, I would give them hints that I discovered Peets Coffee a year or so ago. (The company started in Berkeley, CA).
                                However, the Peets range of coffees sold in the East is limited, as compared to their home base retail stores out West. Their on-line sales arrangement seems pricey to me. 2 flavors that aren't available here (I am very curious to try) are Peets Blend 101 and Limited Edition Sumatra Blue Batak. The "Limited" part seems to be that it is only sold 3 months a year, so you would not want to send year-old left overs. Not sure when that blend is fresh.
                                Peets may have other regional favorites that all not available nation-wide. For that matter, you may have a different brand altogether that would represent "California" to some good friends in New York.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Florida Hound
                                  c oliver RE: Florida Hound Aug 21, 2013 05:16 PM

                                  A little side note re Peets. They were acquired about a year ago by a German company...for a BILLION $$$$$$$$$$$$ !!!

                                  1. re: c oliver
                                    Florida Hound RE: c oliver Aug 21, 2013 05:33 PM

                                    So I will have to lay hints with my German gift-giving friends to send me hard-to-find Peets blends...

                                  2. re: Florida Hound
                                    denisedang RE: Florida Hound Aug 21, 2013 06:09 PM

                                    Wow. I didn't Peets wasn't a big thing on the East Coast. Growing up here, Peets is almost as common as Starbucks!

                                    1. re: denisedang
                                      Florida Hound RE: denisedang Aug 21, 2013 06:23 PM

                                      The Peets website lists all their retail stores. The only stores in the East are in Massachusetts and there's 5 of them. None in New York, so if your friends are coffee lovers, they might enjoy trying something new. [I am not sure I mentioned this- I buy Peets at Publix supermarket in FL- only a very limited # of flavors available. Glad we can get as many as they will carry, tho.]

                                      1. re: Florida Hound
                                        flavrmeistr RE: Florida Hound Aug 26, 2013 08:07 AM

                                        Hills Brothers Blue Mountain Blend is by far the best coffee I've ever purchased in a grocery store. The Publix in south Florida are the only ones that carry it, as far as I know.

                                  3. trolley RE: denisedang Aug 22, 2013 07:58 PM

                                    Oranges, lemons and avocados. good ones from a tree or the farmers market. maybe too early for meyers lemons but those are good gifts too. i've lived in CA for 23 yrs but was raised in NY before that. I just moved to Colorado and you should see the sad oranges from Whole Foods. sad and tasteless. that's what i always experience in NY too when back to visit. bad oranges. there is a See's in NY so i don't think that may be too original. NY pretty much does everything well that SF has except citrus.

                                    you could also trick them and bring them some bread from Boudin ;)

                                    12 Replies
                                    1. re: trolley
                                      denisedang RE: trolley Aug 23, 2013 12:03 AM

                                      It's weird to see lemons and avocados as suggested items, but it seems popular. Never realized how lucky I am to grow up here!

                                      1. re: denisedang
                                        trolley RE: denisedang Aug 23, 2013 07:29 AM

                                        as the joni mitchell sang, "you don't know what you've got till it's gone..." to be fair NY can do almost anything as good as CA that you can transport on the plane. I think there is great food especially in SF that rival prices and quality with NY but can you bring it on the plane? probably not. I used to bring napa/sonoma wines when you could carry on liquid on the plane. The prices are much better in CA but now I don't trust packing them in the check in. I used to bring meyer lemons for winter break from a tree and everyone was all over it.

                                        1. re: trolley
                                          c oliver RE: trolley Aug 23, 2013 08:24 AM

                                          I've packed countless breakable bottles in checked bags with NO problem. Underwear is a great packing material :)

                                        2. re: denisedang
                                          ferret RE: denisedang Aug 23, 2013 09:27 AM

                                          Unless you're bringing something personal, like fruit from your own tree, schlepping lemons to New York from California makes as much sense in 2013 as bringing pineapple back from Hawaii - it's just not a rarity anymore (unless you have access to varieties that aren't routinely shipped).

                                          1. re: ferret
                                            c oliver RE: ferret Aug 23, 2013 01:36 PM

                                            Agreed. I've seen Meyer lemons at Costco in NYC.

                                            1. re: c oliver
                                              trolley RE: c oliver Aug 23, 2013 03:50 PM

                                              yes, of course you can citrus anywhere but not necessarily good ones. that was my point. my farmers market in pasadena had the best oranges. when friends from the east coast ate them it was like they had an epiphany and not to mention the cost. I also gave away some home grown avocados from my friends tree and people were in awe. you can't really get some See's and get the same kind of response. as I said, NY can do pretty much everything that SF and LA can do and often times better.

                                              1. re: c oliver
                                                EM23 RE: c oliver Aug 23, 2013 06:02 PM

                                                I have found them at Costco only during the winter months in NY. If you brought me 3 or 4 Meyer lemons now, I could make one of my favorite desserts now, instead of having to wait until February.

                                                1. re: EM23
                                                  c oliver RE: EM23 Aug 23, 2013 06:23 PM

                                                  I believe the season is from December for a few months. At least the supplier that I use for Meyer lemon oo doesn't make it til then.

                                                  1. re: c oliver
                                                    trolley RE: c oliver Aug 23, 2013 06:37 PM

                                                    i've seen them early as october and late as may in my farmers markets in LA.

                                                    1. re: trolley
                                                      c oliver RE: trolley Aug 23, 2013 07:19 PM

                                                      Guess that's why it's called "agriculture" :)

                                              2. re: ferret
                                                Florida Hound RE: ferret Aug 25, 2013 03:30 PM

                                                We live in Florida, and when we travel up to see relatives a few states to the north, we get requests, "Bring a bag of oranges!" Which struck me as odd, too, since oranges seem like such a commonplace grocery item. But sometimes Florida road-stand oranges are just a little bit special. Sometimes, depending on the relationship, maybe the gift just includes a lot of "Its the thought that counts."

                                                1. re: ferret
                                                  juliejulez RE: ferret Aug 26, 2013 10:21 AM

                                                  I dunno, I would love it if someone brought me California grapes (thompson seedless) during season to me in Colorado. They are ridiculously delicious and the ones I can get here aren't nearly as good.

                                            2. Tripeler RE: denisedang Aug 25, 2013 05:39 PM

                                              A can or two of Graber Olives. Nothing else like them.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: Tripeler
                                                c oliver RE: Tripeler Aug 25, 2013 06:12 PM

                                                Not heard of before. Will check them out. Thanks.

                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                  Tripeler RE: c oliver Aug 25, 2013 06:38 PM

                                                  If you are going through Sacramento, Corti Bros. carries them.

                                                  1. re: Tripeler
                                                    c oliver RE: Tripeler Aug 25, 2013 06:42 PM

                                                    Corti Bros. is one of those places I keep meaning to check out Thanks, T.

                                                2. re: Tripeler
                                                  liu RE: Tripeler Aug 26, 2013 09:21 PM

                                                  Jon's used to sell Graber Olives in the cans, but does anyone know if they still sell them?

                                                  Who else sells Graber Olives besides the home source in Ontario, CA?

                                                3. tcamp RE: denisedang Aug 26, 2013 07:41 AM

                                                  Baby artichokes. Whenever my mom visits from LA, I beg for dates, fancy raisins, and pluots.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: tcamp
                                                    denisedang RE: tcamp Aug 26, 2013 12:21 PM

                                                    Pluots are in season now and they are delicious. I'll grab some before I leave if I have time.


                                                    1. re: denisedang
                                                      Mike R. RE: denisedang Aug 27, 2013 09:11 AM

                                                      If you get yourself to any respected farmer's market (especially Ferry Bldg./SF or Novato on Tuesdays), I'd get as many about-to-be ripe peaches and exotic thin-skinned, impossible-to-find plums (Late Duarte...yum!) as you can haul in carry-on luggage. Ask the vendor/farmer for expertise on selecting fruits which will ripen well in a couple of days, and definitely sample where allowed.

                                                      Protect them individually in large plastic (Starbuck's or Peet's-like) coffee cups or salad containers, with soft paper wrapping and covers. Do not shake.

                                                  2. Rodzilla RE: denisedang Aug 27, 2013 12:01 AM

                                                    edibles from the local collective?


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