Food & Drink

7 Iconic California Foods You Can Ship to a Friend Right Now

You could use some comfort food right now.

Now that we're all sheltering in place, folks who want a break from cooking are generally limited to the takeout and delivery options nearby. Those of us in cities like LA and San Francisco have tons of amazing options – both longstanding take-out favorites and acclaimed eateries just getting in on the to-go game for the first time. 

For native Californians (or anyone else) stuck somewhere else during this seriously stressful time, a taste of the West Coast probably can’t hurt. While you’ve got to be here in person to get many of the Golden State’s most iconic foods, there are a bunch of quintessential options that are easy to ship to anyone around the country. And as they say, there’s no feeling quite like finding a package of breakfast burritos on your doorstep during a quarantine. (Note additional shipping charges usually apply.)

French Dip from Philippe The Original

Los Angeles 
Anyone who’s ever indulged in a French Dip sandwich can thank LA, the birthplace of the classic creation. There’s debate about which Downtown restaurant actually invented it: Cole’s or Philippe’s. Owner Philippe Mathieu claims to have discovered it via happy accident more than a century ago when he inadvertently dropped a roll into a roasting pan filled with juice still hot from the oven. And those on team Philippe’s are in luck, as you can send a meal kit that makes six of the iconic sandwiches, plus potato salad, pickles, and the place’s proprietary mustard shipped right to your (now rarely used) front door.
How to get it: Order through Goldbelly, $139 for a six-pack.

Hog Island Sweetwater Oysters from Hog Island Oyster Co.

There was a time when you could reserve a picnic table and charcoal grill at this Northern California oyster farm overlooking the stunning Tomales Bay, enjoying bottles of rosé and oysters by the dozen along with a complimentary shucking lesson. That time was pre-March 2020; the farm is currently closed to the public but still doing both to-go and online orders, so you can get a box of Hog Island’s specialty Sweetwater oysters (which live up to their name and are small, sweet, and deep-cupped) shipped overnight on ice. You can even order a glove and shucking knife... but will have to turn to YouTube for that lesson. 
How to get it: Order through Hog Island Oyster Company, $75 for 36 (currently offering a 15%-off promotion with code THANKYOU15.)

Breakfast Burritos from Cofax

Los Angeles
This six-year-old Dodger-themed cafe has become a magnet for breakfast burrito lovers, who show up for a variety of styles that all come super-stuffed with scrambled eggs, slow-smoked potatoes, peppers and onion, jack cheese, and the genius addition of crunchy tortilla chips. From there, you can choose between add-ons like veggies, pastrami, bacon, chorizo, or even hot link sausages from LA’s big-deal BBQ joint Bludso’s. In addition to the burritos (which come frozen on ice packs), each shipment includes housemade salsa verde and salsa roja for home diners’ dipping pleasure. 
How to get it: Order through Goldbelly, $99 for six burritos and two salsas.

Langer’s Original #19 from Langer’s Deli

Los Angeles
One of LA’s most beloved sandwiches comes from this 73-year-old pastrami palace. While there are plenty of fine combos at the Downtown deli, none is more famous than good old #19: a combo of smoky pastrami, coleslaw, and Swiss cheese, topped with Russian dressing and served hot on a local, Jewish-style rye alongside some impressive pickles. And for those clueless in the kitchen, the shipment comes with instructions for how to heat it to perfection.
How to get it:Order through Goldbelly, $109 for 2 to 4 servings.

Chocolate from Dandelion Small Batch Chocolate

San Francisco
The small-batch chocolate maker has become a favorite with purists since it started selling its house-roasted, single-origin offerings a decade ago. While its gleaming flagship factory, swanky cafes, and retail shops are currently closed, as always, Dandelion is offering its bean-to-bar craft chocolate via its online store. While you can order up stuff like chocolate-covered espresso beans, black sesame toffee brittle, and hot cocoa mix, you can’t go wrong with Dandelion’s classic hand-molded-and-wrapped chocolate bars, made with cane sugar and cacao sourced around the globe, from Ecuador to India. 
How to get it:Order through Dandelion, $8.50 and up.

Clam Chowder and Bread Bowls from Boudin

San Francisco 
Creamy clam chowder is good; creamy clam chowder served in a big sourdough bread bowl is even better. This classic SF combo traces its roots back to Boudin’s original location at seafood haven Fisherman’s Wharf. That San Francisco sourdough bread has quite the legacy, too: it’s still made with a piece of the original mother dough with roots dating back to 1849. If you want to make a carb-fiend’s day, you can also send just a few loaves of bread minus the soup.
How to get it: Order through Goldbelly, $55 for four servings of soup and four bread bowls; $49 for sourdough sampler.

Jam from Sqirl

Los Angeles
Eastside hot spot Sqirl has been a media darling with a cult following since chef-owner Jessica Koslow opened the brunch-focused cafe in 2012. Still, it’s Koslow’s famed ricotta toast that remains one her greatest hits thanks in part to her renowned housemade jams–she isn’t known as the “Jam Queen” for nothing. While the restaurant is closed, the online store is open and selling a variety of her jarred seasonal jams and marmalades, including the Seascape Strawberry and Rose Geranium variety made with berries from Oxnard’s renowned Gutierrez Farms, the tart Kumquat-Rhubarb, or the inky Black-and-Blue, showcasing blackberries and blueberries from San Luis Obispo County’s Pudwill Farms. So we can all officially jam on from home. 
How to get it: Order through the Sqirl website, $14 each.

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Lizbeth Scordo is a food and lifestyle writer who used to go out all the time. Follow her doing the opposite on Instagram @modlizbeth and Twitter @lalizbeth.