Los Angeles

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

You could use some comfort food right now.

Philippe the Original *Official Page
Philippe the Original *Official Page
Philippe the Original *Official Page

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.)

Philippe the Original *Official Page
Philippe the Original *Official Page
Philippe the Original *Official Page

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 Oyster Co.
Hog Island Oyster Co.
Hog Island Oyster Co.

Hog Island Sweetwater Oysters from Hog Island Oyster Co.

Marshall
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 Delicatessen-Restaurant
Langer’s Delicatessen-Restaurant
Langer’s Delicatessen-Restaurant

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.

Dandelion Chocolate
Dandelion Chocolate
Dandelion Chocolate

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.

Boudin
Boudin
Boudin

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.

Sqirl
Sqirl
Sqirl

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.Sign up here for our daily LA email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun Los Angeles has to offer.

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.

Los Angeles

How to Spend a Weekend in Topanga Canyon

Nature and the arts collide in this beloved canyon community.

Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images
Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images
Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images

Situated in the Santa Monica Mountains and known for its vibrant creative community, Topanga is one of Los Angeles’s most prized destinations for art and outdoor enthusiasts alike. And while LA boasts its own sprawling landscape of fun to tap into, you’d be remiss to miss a chance to explore this tucked-away collection of state parks, and cafes, and restaurants-especially when it all rests just 20 minutes away from the city. From a quaint caf√© with dazzling canyon views to a world-renowned, open-air theatre, here are the best ways to pass some time in Topanga now.

Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray
Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray
Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray

Friday

Book dinner at Inn of the Seventh Ray
Owner Lucille Yaney opened this iconic restaurant in 1975 after spotting the property on a drive through the canyon with her late husband Ralph, and it’s safe to say she had a good eye. The land perfectly fits into Yaney’s vision of a romantic, alfresco dining space with tables tucked into cozy nooks and gazebos, all beneath canapes and fairy lights. Today, Yaney co-owns the venue with executive chef consultant Brad Miller. Together, they continue to fulfil the restaurant’s original mission to serve pure, natural foods reflective of the season’s best. That approach appears in dishes like 8-Hour Black Vinegar Braised Short Rib with creamy rosemary polenta, duck bacon Brussels sprouts, and caramelized onion and fig jam; Roasted Mushroom Toast with oyster mushrooms and sherry tarragon cream; and Beets & Whipped Black Pepper Creme Fraiche. Consider the carbs here. Pastas and sauces are made in-house and from scratch, as is the bread (available regular or gluten-free), an order of which you won’t want to miss. Check out the wine list, too, which offers a robust organic and biodynamic selection that has helped the restaurant garner some impressive accolades in recent years.

Check into Topanga Canyon Inn
In addition to plenty of excellent Airbnbs available to rent in the Canyon, there’s Topanga Canyon Inn, a charming bed and breakfast comprised of two Mediterranean-style buildings-Casa Blanca and Casa Rosa-both built by the owners. Guests can enjoy bespoke design details in each room, along with gorgeous mountain views from their own private balcony. Come morning, join other travellers for breakfast, served daily at Casa Rosa.

Saturday

Get coffee at Café on 27
Ready your camera for a coffee date at this AM eatery and caf√©, where ample (and busy) outdoor seating offers some of the Canyon’s best views. A full breakfast and lunch menu is available (complete with hearty orders like eggs Benedicts, soups, and club sandwiches), but for lighter morning fare, spring for a pastry and any of their specialty drinks, such as the turmeric latte or Moroccan mocha.

Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock
Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock
Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock

Hike Topanga State Park
Spanning 11,000 acres and 36 miles of trails, Topanga State Park is the largest state park within the Santa Monica Mountains and one of the world’s largest parks within city limits. Visitors can access the grounds via more than 60 entrances. Once on the trails, enjoy sweeping vistas while exploring the region’s range of plants, habitats, and wildlife, including several resident bird species.

Grab lunch at Topanga Living Café
Guided by their Topanga upbringing and need for a community gathering spot with great eats, sibling team Agustina Ferguson and Bayu Suryawan opened this daytime eatery in 2016. Ever since, locals and visitors have found refuge in the caf√©’s warm, airy space and nourishing, hyper-fresh fare-all California-inspired with global influences. Check it out in plates like the Island Style, a breakfast salad with Balinese corn fritters, a poached egg, and house-made chilli jam, or the tacos (Baja Fish or Baja Shrimp, Carne Asada, or Kabocha Squash), made-to-order and served on handmade tortillas. If you’re seeking something shareable, try the Farmers Market Crudite, a seemingly humble order whose bright beet hummus reminds us that eating your vegetables is, indeed, very cool. And take a drink to-go. The team here takes great pride in their coffee (organic espresso, courtesy of their iconic pink La Marzocco machine) and a lineup of made-to-order smoothies, juices, and teas. Shop your way through town
Visitors can stroll through the town centre’s most popular shops for various fun finds, including Moona Star, Pebbles, and Topanga Homegrown. Be sure to stock up on specialty, local snacks at Canyon Gourmet and satiate your sweet tooth while you’re at it. The organic soft-serve there is a must. Pro tip: Top it with any of their artisanal syrups for a winning combo, namely, the vanilla with cardamom.

Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum

Catch a show at The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
This beloved open-air theatre has hosted productions for decades and is recognized worldwide for its Shakespeare interpretations. In addition to its annual summer season, which includes works like Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the venue hosts concerts, rehearsals, and classes throughout the year for budding actors and playwrights of all ages.

Snag a slice at Endless Colour
This family-run pizza joint specializes in from-scratch pies with clever topping combinations (think purple potatoes, fontina, and truffle oil in the Purple Molly Potato or spinach, leeks, and goat cheese in the Super Greens). Bring some friends, order a pie or two, and check out the drinks list, which includes offbeat options like orange wines and hard kombucha.

Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery
Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery
Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery

Sunday

Check out The Canyon Bakery’s “Sunday Funday”
Situated on the grounds of the aforementioned Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, this bakery specializes in naturally leavened breads, pastries, cakes, and cookies using locally sourced, whole grain flours. There’s a takeout window on Sundays, from 9:30 am until the bakery sells out. A strong following lines up for favourites, such as whole grain croissants and gluten-free pizza, so be sure to arrive early to get your fill.

Try tacos to-go at La Chingona
On your way out of town, grab some tacos at La Chingona, where a team puts forth fresh, organic, gluten- and dairy-free tacos. Orders range to include options like grass-fed beef (carne asada), shrimp (wild-caught), and soy chorizo and can be fashioned into plates beyond tacos, too (think tostadas, salads, and bowls). Open only on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays; this taco stand sees good demand. Plan accordingly, pending your travels, especially to savour an order or two of the churros.

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Nicole Schnitzler is a contributor for Thrillist.

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