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Gifts from California

We are just back in California after 10 days' stay in paradise. I would like to send back some gifts for the hotel staff who took such fine care of us. What would you suggest I send to our friends in Hawaii? I'm wondering what you would ask for if a friend was sending you something from CA. TIA for any suggestions.

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  1. Here's one recent thread:


    You can find more by Googling "chowhound California gifts."

    That's very nice of you.

    1. If the gifts are meant for hotel personnel at the lowest end of the pay scale, gift certificates from CVS or Macy's would probably be appreciated more than, say, See's Candies.. Otherwise, beef jerky, Molinari dry salami chubs and Ethel M's chocolates are frequently brought back to Hawaii to be given out as gifts.

      1 Reply
      1. re: honu2

        Yeah, but to me anyway, that seems not as special as someone taking the time and making the effort to send gifts themselves.

      2. I would say snacks from Trader Joe's are popular and a nice letter to management would be appreciated.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Jean Lee

          While TJs is a CA based company, I wonder how many of their products are actually made here. But they do certainly have a little wow factor in those places where they haven't moved in.

          1. re: c oliver

            TJ gifts are hugely popular in Hawaii. The cookie butter is a good place to start!

              1. re: Debbie M

                Anything from TJ is likely to. Be greatly welcomed. Nuts, cookies, dried fruit, etc etc etc

          2. I admire you thoughts of sending a gift, we have been in the the same way, but a great tip on your way out might have been easier and appreciated also...but I do like your plan, surprise gifts are wonderful...
            If you were trying to develope a long term relationship for future visits, maybe, but "wait staff" comes and goes....

            1. The BEST gift to send from California......is CASH!!!

              2 Replies
              1. re: UES Mayor

                Definitely planning on sending cash but wanted to send something special from CA as well. Thank you all for your ideas. I didn't realize that TJ's was a sought after item. Never thought about TJ's not being there in the islands.

                1. re: dimsumgirl

                  The chocolate swirl cookie butter. I thought that was a myth till I searched ebay and you can see on instagram #traderjoes all the resellers of the stuff.

              2. Hi, dimsumgirl:

                Since Costco and Wallyworld conquered Hawai'i nei, unless it's truly smallkine artisanal, your friends already have easy local access to most things.

                What about a nice garlic braid from Gilroy, or heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo? There's also wine if they're into that, although gentle, climate-controlled shipment is not very dependable.

                Here's another thread on CA-specific gifts, too: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/538438

                If they are truly your friends, they would rather just see you again.


                1. Thanks to all for your ideas. I have been reading about some honey from local areas. I like the ideas of pistacios and nuts; have friends who grow walnuts on their family owned farms. I'll be putting together some gift boxes so a trip to Trader Joe's is in my plans!

                  5 Replies
                    1. re: honu2

                      lavender as food = bleh.

                      hawaii already has premium honey such as volcano island honey (fave is pearl white kiawe). check website.

                      stuff you can get in cali and the west and can't get here...

                      mexican/latino products (we do have puerto rican, though), i don't know if mexican coca cola is still available here,

                      there is nowhere you can get any fudge here (except for see's which only has so-so choc w/walnuts)

                      certain liquors, there's a thread, maybe a microbrew?

                      anything eastern european, but i don't think you have that in cali...

                      trader joes is a great call, +1 to whoever suggested it

                      costco gift cards would be appreciated, everyone knows someone with a membership (in fact our iwilei store is the busiest costco in the world).

                      1. re: indelibledotink

                        Yes, the Trader Joe's was a great rec. I picked up some food there and baked today. Sent a wallet with some cash and a safe travel talisman from a local temple to our housekeeping staff. Baking for bell and valet staff and will send along with the TJ items this weekend. I like the mexican/ latino products idea-- didn't occur to me before and we have lots of that here. Thank you.

                        1. re: dimsumgirl

                          some trader joe's even have a published list of items that are popular to bring to hawaii

                          1. re: dimsumgirl

                            !! home baked goods is probably the best idea yet!

                    2. A case of good California wine, probably a Sauvignon Blanc as it pairs well with the seafood dishes there.

                      I would suggest you contact Koehler's, a hidden gem in Foxen Valley, Santa Barbara County, and buy a case. Perhaps they could even ship it to Hawaii for you.