This holiday season, here’s how to give the gift of food and simultaneously support a small New York City-based food business.
It’s finally happening: 2020 is almost over. But first we have the holidays before us and, if you’re shopping for gifts, one simple fact to remember: There has never, ever been a better time to support a small business—restaurants and food shops included.
Gift cards to your favorite local restaurant (or coffee shop, cheese store, specialty market, wine shop) make a brilliant gift. Here in New York City, there’s no shortage of places that need our support. But for friends and family farther afield, how about sending New York City to them?
For this year’s holiday gift guide, we present 10 places that can ship a taste of New York around the country. Bagels to babka, dumplings to pizza—some of New York’s most iconic, memorable meals are available to ship, ready to transport your giftee to the city that never sleeps. After all, what says happy holidays better than a pound of sliced pastrami?
Residents of the U.S. and Canada are in luck—Katz’s famous pastrami, corned beef, matzoh ball soup and more are shippable directly through the iconic deli’s website. Sour pickles are $9.95 and pastrami starts at $25 per pound, or you can go big with a full Hanukkah dinner package ($160) or a full Taste of New York ($150), which includes pastrami, corned beef, salami, seedless rye, mustard, sour pickles, frankfurters, buns, sauerkraut, and bagels. Oy gevalt—where to start?!
There’s free shipping on all orders over $100. New Yorkers, there’s a separate local pickup/delivery menu for you. It’s the best way to “have what she’s having” from the comfort of home—even across the country.
Read more about Katz’s pastrami here.
Hand-rolled New York bagels, anywhere in the U.S.? You got it. Thanks to Goldbelly, you can ship them nationwide from Manhattan’s storied, family-owned Ess-a-Bagel. Twenty-four bagels go for $59.95 (remember, you can freeze them!), or get a New York Bagel Brunch kit ($89.95), or add cream cheese, lox, whitefish salad, black-and-white cookies—you name it. Free shipping is available on all items. Goldbelly also offers shipping for Baz Bagels, a younger woman-owned bagel shop on the Lower East Side celebrated for its malty, hand-rolled specimens (also: rainbow bagels!).
Read more about NYC bagels here.
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Nom Wah Tea Parlor
Chinatown dim sum treasure Nom Wah Tea Parlor, in addition to a beautiful new cookbook, tees, and other swag in its online shop, offers no-fee delivery of its frozen dumplings to Manhattan and Brooklyn as well as meal kits for DIY rice rolls, make-your-own dumplings, and more. For nationwide shipping of dumplings, from shrimp siu mai to xiao long bao, you’ll have to order through Goldbelly. 39 dumplings for Christmas dinner, anyone?
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The popular Israeli-Danish bakery off Union Square has the city’s best babka, that traditional Jewish loaf bread laced with chocolate. Here the flaky, buttery bread is braided with dark chocolate and Nutella, and I salivate just thinking of it! Via Goldbelly, you can order for nationwide shipping three babka for $49.95, or pair the babka with chocolate rugelach or cookies. Gift it to three different friends! They’ll love you forever.
Russ & Daughters
The legendary appetizing shop and smoked fish specialists offer nationwide shipping via Goldbelly, sending its silky Nova salmon, sturgeon and sable, herring, bagels and babka, and even beloved schmears across the country. The lengthy offerings include, like Katz’s, a number of packages, all of which ship for free: Chanukkah Essentials package ($145), New York Nostalgia ($205), New York Brunch ($179), even a Super Heebster At Home kit ($145)—for the uninitiated, that pairs bagels (6, in this case) with R&D’s whitefish and baked salmon salad, wasabi-infused flying fish roe, and hand-whipped horseradish dill cream cheese. We love it, and you (or your giftee) will too.
From the website, you can access the local menu, the shipping menu, and the gift (packages) menu.
Xi’an Famous Foods
Much-adored Xi’an Famous Foods—the family-owned Flushing basement eatery turned NYC chain, specializing in the spicy, cuminy dishes of Xi’an, China—has some great gift options on its website. First off, there’s a shop with XFF’s brand-new (and long-awaited) cookbook, plus sampler packets (sold in bundles of 5 or 10) of the restaurant’s handmade small-batch chili oil. Then there are meal kits: Yes, you can make your own (beef, pork, or vegan) hand-ripped “biang biang” noodles, seared in hot oil, at home. You get the sauces, spices, fresh aromatics and vegetables, even ready-to-pull pieces of noodle dough. How cool is that?
Shipping is available in select states through the website, or nationwide via Goldbelly. Currently, you can score free next-day delivery on meal kits (use code FREESHIP), and 50% off a second kit when you buy one. (You can also pick up frozen dumplings in Queens, if you’re in the area.)
Iconic Chelsea Market has long carried lots of New York-themed and –made gift baskets, many of which feature small local producers. They average about $79 each, but you can get a beautiful box of caramels for $24. Besides the edible stuff, you may choose to send NYC memorabilia like tote bags, storage boxes, floor puzzles, baby books, or even a Manhattan-shaped cutting board. Whatever scratches that New York itch!
Joe’s Pizza is a Greenwich Village legend (and local chain) for its quintessential New York slices, and now they can enjoyed around the country when you ship through Goldbelly (are you noticing a trend?). The 14-inch thin-crust pies (cheese, pepperoni, or Sicilian) are shipped frozen. All your loved one has to do is pop it in the oven for 10-13 minutes, slice it, and eat standing up in the kitchen, folded into one hand, surrounded by greasy napkins.
Goldbelly also ships for Brooklyn icons Roberta’s Pizza and DiFara, among others.
Read more about Joe’s Pizza here.
While locals can order/gift Hanukkah or Christmas catering, or even a beautiful New Year’s Eve cheese and meat board (pickup only) from this popular artisanal deli, national shipping is available for lots more, including some fine-looking gift baskets. We like the looks of the Christmas bourbon and ginger gift, or the Born in Brooklyn baskets (available in small or large). Brooklyn Larder also has Hanukkah chocolate sets, goat milk cheese and chocolate samplers, spicy samplers, NYC-themed temporary tattoos—truly something for everyone.
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Sal, Kris & Charlie’s
Direct from Astoria, Queens, “The Bomb” is a sandwich few could soon forget: thin-sliced salami, ham, turkey, pepperoni, mortadella, provolone cheese and American cheese, topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, hot and sweet peppers, plus a schmear of mayo and mustard. Goldbelly ships this ultimate Italian sub nationwide from 70-year-old Sal, Kris & Charlie’s, enough to feed 4-6 or 8-10. Even better, the reviews all attest to the sandwich’s deliciousness on arrival.
Bonus! Gift a Food Tour
Arthur Avenue Food Tours offers gift certificates that don’t expire ($75), as well as a Shopping & Tasting app ($9.99) that takes you through a dozen shops (and tells you what to taste, buy, and cook with) in the Bronx’s famed Little Italy.
We have Jackson Heights food tour gift certificates too! Give the gift of an around-the-world tasting tour in Queens just as soon as they resume (next summer, we hope). These likewise don’t expire.
For the more immediate future, we also offer gift certificates for customized self-guided Jackson Heights food tours so you (or your giftee) can tour our incredible neighborhood safely on your own time. The gift certificate recipient can email us directly upon receipt, and we’ll get the customization process going by asking questions about dietary preferences (whether that means vegetarian, gluten-free, or, say, “food trucks only”). Every customized tour will reflect the current state of the neighborhood’s offerings as well as public health guidelines.
Eds’ note: Partnerships between restaurants and Goldbelly.com are the only reason why nationwide shipping is possible for some of these New York icons. This post is not affiliated with Goldbelly in any way. From what we’ve read, Goldbelly has been a major lifeline for many small restaurants around the U.S. since the start of the pandemic. You are still supporting the restaurant!