Admitted: September 9, 1850 (31st State)

State Bird: California Valley Quail

State Tree: California Redwood

State Gemstone: Benitoite

State Flower: Golden Poppy

State Capital: Sacramento – See Our “Visiting Sacramento” Travelogue – Scroll Down

Made in California Gifts and Specialty California Products

Business Owners: Want To See Your Made In California Products On This Page? Click Here …

StateGiftsUSA.com/made-in-california

Pintxo Sauce – Made From Piquillo Peppers

Pintxo Sauce – Mediterranean Magic: We love featuring unique and flavorful pepper sauces here at State Gifts USA. Their versatility and complex flavor profiles add to any cuisine you’re preparing …

Recently, we learned of a Lodi, CA based small business creating a new roasted red pepper sauce made from sweet and smokey locally grown piquillo peppers. Incredibly versatile, it’s called Pintxo Sauce Mediterranean Magic and it offers the flavors of the Mediterranean cuisine culture in your own home …

Pronouced “Peen-cho”, Pintxo Sauce Mediterranean Magic is made from Arbequina olive oil, peppers, and fresh roasted organic spices. This sauce is perfect to augment bruschetta, in rice dishes, or as a marinade and glaze. Add it to pasta dishes, hummus platters, or vegetable dips for depth of flavor …

Pintxo Sauce Mediterranean Magic also pairs well with green salads, quinoa dishes, and brushed liberally on roasted vegetables. You’ll find yourself reaching for your jar any time a burst of flavor is needed! This sauce is vegan, gluten free, and non GMO – you can serve it at any gathering or simply to make family dinner time more memorable …

If you live in central or northern California, check out the Pintxo Sauce website for a list of retail locations. If you’re outside the general area, you can purchase via Pay Pal and they’ll ship directly to your door!

Also, stay tuned throughout the coming months as this vibrant small business adds new products to their product offerings. Watch for the introduction of three new flavors to satisfy the diversity of “heat” preferences …

We are proud to feature Pintxo Sauce Mediterranean Magic on our Made in California page … click through to order!

CA RollPro Mini StateGiftsUSA.com/made-in-california

Introducing: The RollPro Mini

Riseful – RollPro Mini: They say most of the great ideas in the U.S. originate in California and work their way east … in the case of Michael Bratcher’s latest innovative photography product, it’s definitely true!

We are so pleased to introduce Mike’s groundbreaking GoPro camera and accessories organizer … it’s called RollPro Mini and if you’re a photographer, you’ll never struggle with carrying around GoPro cameras and accessories again …

Before we share Mike’s introductory You Tube video spotlighting the newly released RollPro Mini, let’s describe it in a nutshell. In short, the Mini was created to easily organize and carry your GoPro cameras and accessories in one compact, lightweight, sturdy, and durable roll up pack. The design allows you to unroll the pack revealing all the contents neatly and safely stored and organized, ready for immediate use at your fingertips!

Here’s the short RollPro Mini You Tube Video which gives you an effective visual and illustrates the genius of the design …

As Mike mentions in the video, there’s no longer a need to tote your accessories around in zip lock bags or haul around unwieldy carrying cases. The RollPro Mini fits all GoPro cameras and easily fits in a backpack …

Best of all, every RollPro Mini is hand made in California from U.S. sourced materials. And the attractive, practical, and long lasting design and workmanship will appeal to any GoPro camera user!

The RollPro Mini is available for purchase at Riseful.com where you’ll also find a wide array of Limited, NSX, and S2000 products …

Golden State innovation at its finest!




Napa Cakes Panforte StateGiftsUSA.com/made-in-california

Made in Napa Valley With California’s Best

Napa Cakes Panforte: California’s agricultural bounty is legendary, and particularly satisfying when it reveals itself in healthy, natural edibles. As evidence of the Golden State’s prolific harvest, we’re pleased to introduce you to Napa Cakes Panforte, a thriving family owned business creating moist, delicious treats which are equally adept as natural energy boosting snacks or dessert …

If you’re wondering about the meaning of “panforte”, it’s an Italian term for a traditional dessert containing nuts and fruit. Napa Valley Panforte’s owner Marjorie Caldwell adapted a time honored recipe to reflect her Napa surroundings. Fresh summer fruit along with the likes of walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts form the foundation of the process. They’re combined with a bit of honey, oat and almond flours, cane sugar, and spices, then baked to perfection. The end result is a flavorful and delectable cake you’ll be proud to serve your family and guests, or give as a gift to the special someone on your list …

Napa Valley Panforte StateGiftsUSA.com/made-in-california

Made With California Apricots, Peaches, Nectarines, Dates, and Almonds!

Panforte are often referred to as “the original energy bars”, and the three flavors from Napa Valley Panforte befit the comparison. Their Original Panforte combines almonds, raisins, cranberries, apricots, cocoa, and more. Apricot Almond Panforte is brimming with sun dried apricots, peaches, nectarines, and dates while their newest addition Fig Walnut raises the bar even more – it’s a combination of black currants, walnuts, and dried Mission figs and pairs well with wine, cheese, charcuterie, or simply on its own …

Further, Napa Cakes Panforte’s products are gluten free and made without eggs or dairy. Just good-for-you California nuts and fruit!

Best of all, these delightful treats are very versatile … enjoy them as a mid afternoon pick me up snack, satisfying dessert, or even for breakfast. They’re available in half and full pound sizes at the “Order Panforte” page at their website. Special gift packaging and wholesale opportunities are available as well … check the site for full details.

We’re proud to have such a vibrant Golden State small business featured on our Made in California page! To learn more and to order, just click through to their website, linked above …

Cap'n Mike's Holy Smoke StateGiftsUSA.com/made-in-californiaCap’n Mike’s Holy Smoke: For all you smoked fish fans out there, and we’re right along with you, it’s always best to purchase right from the source. The smoked fish you’ll find in grocery stores has likely been sitting around for who knows how long …

That’s why we’re pleased to introduce Cap’n Mike’s Holy Smoke of Rohnert Park, CA. They’re exactly what you’re looking for in smoked fish from The Golden State … they catch it, smoke it, package and ship it!

Take a gander at their website for the wide selection of smoked fish delicacies (and contact them directly for some frequent seasonal surprises). Smoked salmon, lox, sable, tuna, and trout are just some of the freshly caught and smoked fish that can be shipped to you anywhere in the country …

Also, Cap’n Mike’s offers a unique Fish of the Month Club, where you’ll receive two selections every month (or choose your own preferences). The product is shipped out twice a week to ensure the best smoked taste from the waters of the Pacific …

Gift boxes are available too for your holiday shopping convenience … or any time of year for that matter!

Salt Roots Soap Company StateGiftsUSA.com/made-in-california

Salt Roots Soap Company Sea Salt Soaps

Salt Roots Soap Company: This central coast small business specializes in sea salt soap, like the Coffee and Cocoa Sea Salt Bars pictured. Did you know sea salt is extremely beneficial for your skin? In addition to deep cleansing, sea salt exfoliates your skin and makes it softer and more supple over time …

Founded in 2014 Salt Roots Soap Company also creates a line of Signature Soaps, Mini Soaps, Lip Balms, and more. Their Signature line includes scents like Santa Cruz Mountains Sweet Bay Rose and West Coast Lemongrass Vanilla & Clove …

Soap samplers and gift boxes are available at their website. Homemade soap makes the perfect personal gift – ideal for someone with a soft spot for The Golden State!

Click through to learn more about this innovative business and to place your order …

P.F. Candle Co. StateGiftsUSA.com/made-in-california

“California Camping Trip” Candle Gift Set

P.F. Candle Company: There aren’t many better personal gifts than a handmade candle. Candles are perfect for corporate occasions, thank you and housewarming gifts, special occasion remembrances, and more. If you’re looking for something made in California, check out this small batch Los Angeles based business …

They’re P.F. Candle Company and they’ve been creatinghand poured American soy wax candles since 2008. They’re available in a wide variety of scents and sizes, including travel size and double wicked candles, perfect for larger rooms …

We really admire some of their theme packages, like the “California Camping Trip” combo pack pictured. This set of three is inspired by the outdoor scents of The Golden State’s forests, mountains, and beaches. Dozens of different scents are available … just click on “Shop” at their website and you’ll see all your choices. And new candles are always being developed, so check back often …

An economical, practical, and sure to be appreciated gift idea – Made in Los Angeles!

Sun Bud Bakery StateGiftsUSA.com/made-in-californiaSun Bud Bakery: Meet San Francisco’s Sun Bud Bakery, who are doing a marvelous job introducting people to their unique buckwheat cookies. Despite the name, buckwheat is completely wheat free and isn’t even related to wheat. Buckwheat is the triangular shaped fruit of the buckwheat plant and carries a hearty, toasty flavor. It’s also gluten free and an excellent source of protein.

The Bakery creates two types of buckwheat cookies – Buckwheat with Apricots and Buckwheat with Chocolate and Currants. Both are wholesome and satisfying, but not too sweet – each cookie contains only four grams of unrefined sugars.

You’ll find these cookies available in the Bay Area as well as via the Sun Bud Bakery online store. Mixed boxes and gift boxes are available too!

Love & Hummus StateGiftsUSA.com/made-in-californiaLove & Hummus: This San Francisco business is the Bay Area’s only certified organic producer of hummus and Mediterranean foods. Using California grown chickpeas from a local organic farm, their hummus is vegan, high fiber, low sodium, extremely good for you … and by the way tastes great!

Available in four different varieties, Love & Hummus packages their products in glass jars to retain optimal flavor and encourage recycling. You can order the four flavors at their website – Classic, Spicy Harissa, Carmelized Garlic, and Roasted Lemon & Thyme are all available to you. Visit the Love and Hummus website and click on the “Find Us” icon. The drop down menu will show an Online Store as well as where to buy locally.

Their four jar sampler pack makes a great gift for the foodie on your list!

Salty Sweet StateGiftsUSA.com/made-in-californiaSalty Sweet: This San Francisco based small business owned and operated by Melissa Cohan does one thing and does it right … chocolate chip cookies.

But these aren’t just any chocolate chip cookies. They’re literally “salty sweet” – rich and flavorful chocolate chip cookies sprinkled with sea salt to create the unbeatable flavor combination. A simple idea – and so incredibly effective!

The cookies, available at the Salty Sweet website, are packaged in three ways – in a Signature Stack (10 cookies), a bag of Minis (smaller size but still 10), and Mighty (larger size, 3 cookies). Click through to their website to learn more and to place your order!

Santa Barbara Fish Market StateGiftsUSA.com/made-in-californiaSanta Barbara Fish Market: If you’ve got a seafood lover on your list, you’ll be pleased to know about the Santa Barbara Fish Market, who have been expanding their fan base by shipping spectacular wild caught fish from the waters off the California coast …

One of their many specialties is Stone Crab Claws, caught just offshore. A little sweet and a little salty, their fresh flavor will leave you clamoring for more. Ditto the plump Wild Diver Scallops and the Santa Barbara Spiny Lobsters, also from area waters. Fish just doesn’t get any fresher!

Perfect as gifts for any occasion, the Fish Market will ship anywhere in the United States. Smoked fish, ceviche, and special homemade tartar sauces are available as well. Click through to check out your options and to order!

Three Babes Bakeshop StateGiftsUSA.com/made-in-california

Three Babes Salty Honey Walnut Pie

Three Babes Bakeshop: This small San Francisco company is in the business of baking pies, but not just your ordinary run of the mill pies – spectacular “I’ve never had one better” pies!

Their business has grown in the city primarily by word of mouth … area residents see the bakers at various pop up locations and farmers markets. Ingredients are sourced locally and change seasonally – some of their flavors have included Salty Honey Walnut, Bourbon Pecan, Classic Apple, Cinnamon Peach, Tart Plum, and dozens more …

If you live in and around the city, you can pre order pies for pickup at their website, but if you’re not a California guy or gal, not to worry. Three Babes has instituted a Pie By Mail program and even a Pie By Subscription offer – you can get their Salty Honey Walnut, Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan, or Bourbon Pecan pies shipped anywhere in the country.

This small business is making quite a name for themselves – check them out and taste the deliciousness for yourself!


479 Popcorn StateGiftsUSA.com/made-in0california479 Degrees: We love featuring creative small businesses here at State Gifts USA, and this California company features new twists on an old favorite …

They’re 479 Degrees, a popcorn making business founded and operated by San Francisco resident Jean Arnold. Jean names her company after what she determined is the optimal temperature for cooking popcorn – and who’s to argue with great results?

We hope you get a chance to try some of the wonderful flavors 479 Degrees is creating. Pictured is one of their unique varieties, Toasted Sesame & Seaweed, a real California treat. Others include Asiago, Parmesan, & Cheddar, Farmers Market Herbs, Toasted Coconut Caramel, and more. There are nine year around flavors available, and a few Limited Edition runs like the Dark Chocolate & Bing Cherries Popcorn, which is nothing short of spectacular!

At their online store, you can order any of the available flavors in multi pakcs, or click on the “Find A Store” tab to find a retail location near you …

Great stuff from San Francisco!

The New Wine Country Cookbook StateGiftsUSA.com/made-in-californiaThe New Wine Country Cookbook: Meet Brigit Binns, a California native whose list of life accomplishments is longer than your arm … she’s written 29 books (and counting), worked with some of the country’s most respected chefs, and oversees an exclusive Central Coast haven for cooking and entertaining classes called Refugio …

What’s special about her recent effort “The New Wine Country Cookbook” is that it focuses on ingredients indigenous to the coastal area between Santa Barbara and Monterrey. The 125 wine friendly recipes featured here include ingredients like artichokes, fresh seafood, pomegranates, and of course, citrus. Brigit leans on the expertise of local expert wine makers to pair the perfect California wine with these creative, appealing appetizers and main dishes …

Beautifully illustrated, the book also pays homage to the Central Coast’s rich history and offers the reader an up close and personal look at many of the wineries in one of America’s fastest growing wine regions …

At Brigit’s website, you can check out her entertaining blog “Road Foodie” and order her books for yourself or as a sure to be treasured California gift. Just click on the “Books” tab and then the book’s title – you’ll be taken directly to an order page. If you’ve got a foodie or wine lover on your list, this is an attractive and affordable gift idea!

Cyprus Grove Chever StateGiftsUSA.com/made-in-californiaCyprus Grove Chevre: This award winning goat cheese business is located in coastal Arcata, in the far northern part of the state. Founded in 1983, Cyprus Grove features a creamery, dairy, and an innovate “edible walkway” on their grounds populated by fruit and nut trees on the edge of their property …

The company produces an full line of soft ripened goat cheese ranging from subtle and creamy to bold and complex. At their website, you’ll find full descriptions of all the Cyprus Grove Chevre flavor profiles, as well as some fun and innovative recipes to help you enjoy their cheese.

You can purchase these specialty cheeses directly at their site, or use the handy store locater function to find a retail outlet near you that carries them. Cheese makes a wonderful gift for anyone on your list, so click through and order for a friend or just for yourself!

Bennett Honey Farm StateGiftsUSA.comBennett’s Honey Farm: Here at State Gifts USA, we’re such big believers in raw, natural honey that we try to list at least one local honey producer from every state if possible. Recently we noticed a void on our Made in California page so we’re pleased to introduce you to Bennett Honey, a busy producer of honey and related products located in the heart of Ventura County.

Honey, as you probably know, offers a different flavor profile depending on where it’s harvested (due to the flowers being pollinated by the bees). The Golden State, of course, is rich with plants and flowers so the varieties of honey are quite diverse. Bennett produces blueberry, wildflower, buckwheat, cactus, clover, eucalyptus, and many more. They even package avocado honey, drawn from bees pollinating the area’s numerous avocado plants …

The Farm’s honey is 100% pure raw gourmet honey, so all the health benefits are intact. Local honey is fantastic for local seasonal allergies and it’s a natural sweetener that provides a gentle but effective energy boost. If you’re looking for a California made gift or just something healthy and delicious for your own kitchen, click through to the Bennett Honey Farm website to see what’s currently available.

A great natural choice from The Golden State!

Lemon Bird Preserves StateGiftsUSA.com

Cara Care Orange & Quince Preserves

Lemon Bird Preserves: We love spotlighting local businesses, and it doesn’t get much more local than this southern California company. They’re Lemon Bird Preserves and they use fresh fruit from area local farms to produce their line of artisan jams, preserves, and pickled products …

The calling card of this small business is freshness – the produce being used to create their jams was likely still growing in the field the day before. That’s the advantage of sourcing locally, and the difference shows in their creative product line. At their site, you’ll discover creative flavors like Pink Grapefruit & Mint, Tangerine with Rosemary and Sage Honey, and Black Mission Fig with Fennel. James are rotated seasonally, as are their many pickled items like Smoky Broccoli, Indian Lemon Pickles, and more.

There’s a list of retailers at their site where Lemon Bird products are sold, or simply order directly from the online store. Just click on the “Shop” page to see what’s fresh and available when you visit! A variety of combination packages are available as well …

Flavorful gifts Made in Southern California – sure to be appreciated by anyone on your list!

Emmy's StateGiftsUSA.comEmmy’s Pickles & Jams: We love learning about local businesses who turn great local produce into something even greater. And that’s the story of this San Francisco company which sources all their produce locally from organic farms …

Emmy’s Organic Produce was founded in 2010 and pickles and preserves local organically grown produce into a variety of pickles and small batch jams. Using only what’s in season allows you to experience the freshness in every single bite of this company’s interesting offerings …

Apricot, Raspberry, and Strawberry Fruit Spreads lead off the product line, which also includes Spicy Dill Spears and Turmeric Cauliflower Pickles. We love the flavor of turmeric and had never heard of it being used in this fashion before!

Emmy’s also offers Bread & Butter Chips and Whole Dill Pickles, and you don’t need to be in California to get them – you can order directly at their website. The company has been featured in San Francisco Magazine and was the recipient of a Good Food Award, so click through and see what all the buzz is about!

Fresh from central California and a wonderful gift idea …

Pacific Pickle Works StateGiftsUSA.comPacific Pickle Works: Based in beautiful Santa Barbara, this small company specializes in all natural hand packed pickled vegetables using produce grown in The Golden State. Cauliflower, okra, beets, green beans, and carrots receive the same creative pickling process as cucumbers – their product selection is unique and inventive!

At their website, you’ll see what we mean. Beets (known as “Unbeetables”), and carrots (“Carriots of Fire”) are hand packed in a spicy brine to give these humble vegetables a gourmet touch, perfect for use in recipes or as part of an appetizer tray.

Undoubtedly though, the pickles are the star of the show. Cukarambas are spicy quartered cucumbers packed with dill, and Bread & Buddhas are tangy sweet pickle chips seasoned with mustard seed, peppercorns, and onions. Looking for a gift your recipient can enjoy all year around? Take a look at Pacific Pickle Works Pickle Club, a quarterly shipment of four jars of seasonal pickled products sent directly anywhere in the country. If you like a good Bloody Mary, consider their mix or a Bloody Mary Kit, complete with pickled garnishments to make the perfect cocktail!

Check out the Pacific Pickle Works site to learn about all they’re doing and to place an order …


Friend In Cheeses StateGiftsUSA.comFriend In Cheeses Jam Company: Located in Santa Cruz, this local, seasonal jam company is owned by Tabitha Stroup, who had been preparing homemade condiments for various endeavors for over 20 years. She founded her first jam company in 2009 and building on its immediate popularity, founded Friend in Cheeses two years later.

Her company produces jams, jellies, and preserves from local organic farm sourced ingredients. And these aren’t ordinary creations! How about Fig & Fennel Jam, Carrot Marmalade, and Tart ‘n Spicy Tomato Jelly?

Tabitha also creates her take on a traditionally southern condiment, chow chow, with her NorCal Chow Chow. Unlike any other you’ve tasted, it features honey, bourbon, vanilla, sea salt, and organic cherries, raisins, cranberries, almonds, sunflower seeds, and more. Wow!

Check out the Friend In Cheeses website to see all their products … and more are on the way! Order for yourself or as a wonderful taste of Santa Cruz County gift at the Online Store. Great products from the Central Coast!

Lucille's BBQ StateGiftsUSA.comLucille’s Bar-B-Que: On our never ending nationwide hunt for America’s great barbecue, we became acquainted with Lucille’s Bar-B-Que, a small chain of fun, casual restaurants scattered across southern California.

The menu features all of the classics like back ribs, spare ribs, brisket, smoked chicken, and pulled pork, along with a surprising array of southern specialties like Po Boy sandwiches, shrimp, and sweet potato fries (which are really good!) …

Casual, friendly places, Lucille’s BBQ also offers happy hour specials and a nice bar menu. We wanted to call your attention to them because we really like their sauces, and they’re available for online ordering. We wish more great BBQ places would do this! Lucille’s offers their Original Sauce, a tasty concoction featuring a blast of molasses, cider vinegar, and spices along with their excellent Memphis style sauce and Hot & Spicy variety …

Rubs, spice mixes, and Lucille’s Smokin’ Sauce (a hot sauce) are available as well. Click through to their site and you’ll see a “Shop” tab … better yet, stop by one of their many SoCal locations and try them out for yourself! Really good barbecue from California!

Sea Salt Candy Co. StateGiftsUSA.comSea Salt Candy Company: Leucadia, CA is a laid back cool little beach town in north San Diego County. It’s the home of the Sea Salt Candy Company, who create a line of sweet and salty confections using only made in California ingredients. From the nuts used in their toffee to the sea salt to the chocolate itself, everything is fresh from The Golden State …

Specializing in toffee and sea salt caramels, this innovative small company pushes the flavor boundaries with varieties like Chile Verde Salted Caramels and Island Style Macadamia Nut Toffee with White Chocolate. They’re also known for their spectacular caramel sauces, most notably Frisky Whiskey Boozy Sauce, made with caramel, sea salt, butter, sugar, and whiskey – your ice cream and bread pudding will never be the same!

Sea Salt Candy Company offers a full line of these whimsical caramel sauces, including “Rum Away With Me”, and yes, it’s caramel sauce with rum! Have a little fun Leucadia Style by stirring a spoon or two of this goodie into your coffee …

Visit their website to see all the different gift options for business, good friends, or just yourself. Creative confections direct from the beautiful town of Leucadia!

Rancho Gordo StateGiftsUSA.com

Rancho Gordo Heirloom Beans Gifts

Rancho Gordo: We’re pleased to introduce you to this specialty food company out of Napa that’s producing some very unique products you’ve probably not seen anywhere else …

Rancho Gordo works with growers in northern California to develop the foundation of their product line – heirloom beans. These are distinct types of beans grown in small quantities to ensure quality and freshness. While there are actually hundreds of varieties of heirloom beans, not many are available or even known as beans in large measure have been reduced to a mass quantity product.

These special beans have a much richer flavor you’ll notice immediately and are very easy to prepare. Use them in the same recipes where you’d normally use beans or feature them in one of the recipes available at the Rancho Gordo website. They’re also published a very useful book titled “Heirloom Beans” which details the company’s story and expounds on the many known varieties of these unique beans …

A very interesting company to learn about, Rancho Gordo also offers dried corn products, chiles and chile powders, grains and rice, and specialty herbs and spices. Click through to their website to see all they’re doing and to place an order for yourself or as a distinctly California gift …

Pernicious Pickling StateGiftsUSA.com

Pernicious Pickling Company – Costa Mesa

Pernicious Pickling Company: This small company, founded in 2013, is a great example of ingenuity and initiative. Founded and owned by California couple Kendra Coggin and Baron Conway, the business was started because the two couldn’t find any really good California based pickled products like they remembered growing up. The solution? Made the products themselves and start a company to sell them!

The end result is the Pernicious Pickling Company, based in Costa Mesa and featuring an initial line of ten different pickles. The product line has since expanded to a whole bunch of other pickled delights, from beets to beans, carrots, and cauliflower.

If you’re a fan of pickles like we are, you’ll love reading about and enjoying their many varieties, like Garlic Dills, Bread & Butter Sweet Pickles, and Extra Spicy Dills, pickled with habanero peppers. Their site offers numerous serving suggestions and reinforces the concept that pickled vegetables aren’t just for sandwiches any more! And how right they are – their Pickled Cauliflower was featured in Food & Wine Magazine recently and one serving idea is to stir it into potato salad with peas and bacon … oh yes!

Pernicious Pickling is picking (or is that pickling?) up speed and their products can be found in many locations across California, as well as online at their site for shipping to your home or a gift recipient. What a cool culinary gift idea!

Hak's BBQ StateGiftsUSA.com

Hak’s BBQ Sauce 3-Pack

Hak’s BBQ Sauces: Owner and founder Sharone Hackman always had an affinity for grilling, which ultimately led him to an appearance on an episode of Fox Network’s Master Chef. On that appearance, Sharone created his now famous barbecue sauce so good that judges declared it his “secret weapon” …

Determining it was time to share his sauces with the public, Sharone founded Hak’s BBQ to create an inspired line of gourmet barbecue sauces. Hak’s makes four varieties and their popularity has exploded – they’re now available in Whole Foods, Vons, Harmon’s, and many other groceries and specialty stores across the country, as well as online at their site.

The four sauces offer flavors you won’t find in other standard barbecue sauces, like Chipotle Bourbon, Smoked Maple Mustard, Thai Chile Tamarind, and Habanero Pineapple. More than just a barbecue sauce, you can use any of the Hak’s flavors as dipping sauces, glazes, marinades, or in recipes. We used some of the Habanero Pineapple mixed in with a stir fry – outstanding!

You can order individual bottles of any flavor at the Hak’s online store, as well as a convenient mix and match three pack. Click through to learn more about these uniquely special sauces!

Plush Puffs MarshmallowsPlush Puffs: Remember when marshmallows were only white spongy cubes you bought in a plastic bag at the grocery store?

Well, meet Plush Puffs, a Burbank, CA creator of hand crafted artisan marshmallows. These are all natural, flavorful marshmallows with no artificial dyes or corn syrup. Delicious to eat right out of the package and perfect as a party confection, Plush Puffs are infused with flavoring all the way through and not simply topped with a flavored frosting …

You can roast them for a unique twist on s’mores or melt one or two atop your coffee or hot chocolate. The marshmallow’s flavor intensifies when roasted, so go ahead, use a few in your best dessert recipes or as a topping for pie slices and baked goods!

Plush Puffs come in a variety of flavors – Caramel Swirl, Lemony Meringue, Toasty Coconut, and Vanilla Bean just to name a few. They arrive about 16 – 18 per package and they’re a wonderful addition to any sweet table display!

For larger gatherings, check out their Gifts page. You can order a “Pick Six” box or a Party Box which includes 12 different flavors. And who wouldn’t like to receive artisan marshmallows as a special sweet gift??

Visit their website to see all the flavors and to order …

Santa Barbara Olive CompanySanta Barbara Olive Company: Olive farming has been taking place in Santa Barbara County since the 1850’s, and over 160 years later groves of olive trees thrive in the southern California coastal climate. Following in the footsteps of family tradition, Craig and Cindy Makela own the Santa Barbara Olive Company, the most prolific specialty olive company in the United States …

In addition to specialty hand stuffed olives, Santa Barbara Olive Company offers black, green spiced, and pitted olives along with olive oils, condiments, and salsa. For gift givers, the company designed an Olive of the Month Club which includes three 5 ounce jars of their specialty olives delivered to the recipients door every month. With over 100 varieties available, there’s sure to be something unique! Choose from six month, one year, or ongoing subscriptions …

Santa Barbara Olives are found in artisan stores across the country. They offer a store locater on their website to find a store near you. Or, click through to their site to order online, and don’t forget to visit the Gift Store page for some great holiday ideas!

Ocean's Halo Seaweed ChipsOcean’s Halo Seaweed Chips: For as long as we can remember, we’ve always gotten a big kick out of trying potato chips made in different areas of the country. The different flavors, textures, seasonings, and crunch have always drawn us in. Now, walking down the grocery aisles, you’ll see a lot more variety in chips … including what they’re made from.

A recent visit to our local Whole Foods introduced us to Ocean’s Halo Seaweed Chips, made by a Bay area company who wanted to bring a more nutritious and renewable variety of chip to the market. By renewable, we mean seaweed itself, which is one of the fastest growing crops in the world and is woefully underutilized as a food source. By nutritious, we refer to these seaweed chips which are baked rather than fried, and loaded with protein, Vitamin A, B12, and loads of essential nutrients …

We weren’t sure what to expect of the taste, but they’re delicious! Sturdy and very easy to dip, they come in four flavors for the time being with more on the way. You’ll find them in specialty food stores and via an online link on their website in Sea Salt, Chili Lime, Hot & Spicy, and Korean BBQ. We tried the Sea Salt variety and served them at a recent gathering and they were a big hit!

Learn more about Ocean’s Halo Seaweed Chips at their website and watch for them at a store near you!


Moonshine Lamp CompanyMoonshine Lamp Company: We love companies turning discarded items into beautiful and useful decor items, and that’s exactly what’s happening at Moonshine Lamp Company based in Claremont …

Basically what the company does is create lighting fixtures (table lamps, chandeliers, sconces, etc.) from discarded bottles, primarily liquor and wine bottles, like the Makers Mark design shown …

They receive a steady stream of bottles from bars and restaurants around Claremont and can supply the individual customer as well as bars and restaurants seeking an unusual and unique lighting theme.

The company also does custom orders and can take a bottle which you supply and turn it into a treasured piece of home decor. There’s a link to their Etsy store for individual consumers as well as contact link if you’ve got a custom or large scale order.

A really cool concept!

Spaans Cookie CompanySpaans Cookie Company: The Spaans Cookie Company traces its roots back to Holland in the late 19th century, eventually settling into the Sacramento Valley in 1958. A true family owned and operated business, Spaans makes over 50 different cookie varieties and can bake over 1 million a day!

Today, you can find Spaans Cookies in grocery stores in most parts of the country, as well as online at the Spaans Cookies store. Choose from traditional home style varieties like chocolate chip, gingerbread, or our favorites, chocolate chip with walnuts. Many sugar free and gluten free items are available, as well as other baked specialties like pies, cheesecake, scones, and more …

You can have any of the items available at the Spaans online store shipped directly to you or to someone on your list – a tasty California made treat anyone would love to receive!

American Tuna, CAAmerican Tuna: American Tuna of Bonita, CA was formed by six fishing families whose focus is on pole and line caught wild albacore tuna in waters off the California coast …

Wild albacore tuna is one of our favorites. We’re not talking about tuna fish in the can at your grocery store – this tuna is more like large chunks of fish loin with no added water, oil, salt, or other additives.

Wild albacore tuna also happens to be one of the healthiest types of fish you can eat – it is loaded with protein and Omega 3’s. You can buy several varieties of tuna from the American Tuna website and they’ll ship directly to your door. If you like something a bit spicier, tuna packed with garlic, jalapeno, or smoked with olive oil is also available …

Sacramento Cookie Company Wafers

“Oplatky” Wafer Cookies From Sacramento

Sacramento Cookie Factory: This unique Czech heritage baking company makes a traditional European treat known by Czechs as “Oplatky”, a thin wafer cookie traditionally given as gifts for best wishes and good luck.

The owner of the company, Jiri Knedlik, is a former citizen of then Czechoslovakia who escaped with his family when the country was under Communist oppression. Settling in Sacramento, he uses a family recipe from the famous spa town of Karlovy Vary in what is now the Czech Republic to make these time honored wafers.

Even today, each wafer is hand made, baked, and aged twelve days. The wafers are then filled with natural filling and baked again. The result is delightfully light, crispy flavored treat which pairs exceptionally well with tea, coffee, and especially wine!

Sacramento Cookie Factory creates several different flavors of wafer cookies, including Vanilla Almond, Mocha Hazelnut, Lemon Vanilla, Mocha Chocolate, and Raspberry Almond. For a really unique California gift, order their Sacramento Wafer, flavored with cinnamon and hazelnut. The wafer’s design depicts the state capitol building in Sacramento!

Take a look at their website for more information and to order wafers for yourself or as a gift …

Migliore Gourmet FoodsMigliore Gourmet Foods: Migliore Gourmet Foods is a Riverside retail and online operation featuring a wide variety of gourmet products. Migliore (an Italian word for “best”) specializes in olive oils, balsamics, seasonings, rubs, and more …

We learned about this company via their extensive recipe page which contains dozens of wonderful suggestions for creating gourmet meals with a minimum of effort and fuss. Beyond the recipes, we were delighted when a neighbor who visited their store brought back a jar of their delicious Jalapeno Fig Jam, pictured …

The ingredients for the jam are grown in California, as figs in particular are a a prominent crop in The Golden State. We use it mixed with cream cheese as an appetizer spread, and also with cornbread as suggested on their site …

They also create a variety of Italian themed rubs, seasonings, and salts, and offer choose-your-own gift baskets as well as olive oil and balsamic vinegar clubs …

Visit the Migliore Gourmet Foods website and online store and order a gift for the person in your life who deserves “the best”!

Art of the Garden

For Gardeners: Art of the Garden M-Brace

Art of the Garden: This Woodland, CA company created an ingenious method to help gardeners create raised garden beds … they’re called M-Brace and as you can see by the picture, they’re four steel braces designed to hold sheets of wood together.

Made of 100% recycled steel, the M-Braces come in two sizes depending on your gardening space. All you need are four lengths of wood to fit into the M-Braces and you’re ready to garden!

M-Braces are perfect for small space gardeners or those simply needing a raised garden bed. They come in a variety of designs and can be reconfigured if your space needs change …

There’s a video on the Art of the Garden site to help you with assembly (it’s easy!). A great practical gardening gift! Visit their site for details …

We Wood Wood Watches

We Wood Wooden Watches

We Wood Wooden Watches: This Los Angeles based company creates eco conscious time pieces made primarily from scrap wood. They’re the good looking line of We Wood wooden watches like the one shown …

With an emphasis on sustainability, We Wood has partnered with two tree planting partners, American Forests and Trees For The Future. Both of these organizations arrange for tree planting in areas devastated by disaster or natural destruction. We Wood plants a tree for every watch sold and has arranged the planting of over 300,000 trees in deforested areas …

Some areas which have benefited from We Wood’s policy include the Chippewa National Forest in Minnesota, the Lower Rio Grande National Wildlife Refuge in Texas, and the Mountain Communities Wildfire Releaf program in California …

Feel good about your wristwatch! Check out the line of We Wood wooden watches at their website …

Rusty's ChipsRusty’s Chips: A friend of ours brought us back a few bags of Rusty’s Chips from a California business trip … he knows we’re on a mission to try local potato chips from all across the U.S.! We had the pleasure of enjoying these chips from what is probably the smallest potato chip manufacturer in the country and wanted to (virtually) share them with you …

Rusty’s Chips are made in Huntington Beach and there really is a Rusty … in fact, the chips are made in his own small chip kitchen. Everything is done by hand. California potatoes are sliced one at a time in a vegetable slicer and then slow cooked in safflower oil. The chips are then lightly salted with sun dried sea salt, weighed and bagged by hand and sealed. The result is a decidedly natural tasting chip, not at all like mass produced potato chips. Rusty’s Chips may be hard to find, but when you do, you’ll love their fresh, delicious crunch!

You can learn more about this small Golden State enterprise and more importantly order Rusty’s Chips at his website linked above. They can be bought in half cased or cases … you’ll go through them in no time!

Boudin BakeryBoudin San Francisco Sourdough: From humble beginnings in 1849, the Boudin Bakery of San Francisco is credited as the originator of what is now known as San Francisco sourdough bread. It’s made from a special strain of yeast,a portion of which is still used to create every batch …

Boudin Bakery’s flagship location is located at Fisherman’s Wharf. The company has expanded with cafe and bistro locations across San Francisco as well as southern California, serving not only their fantastic sourdough breads but casual meals as well …

The company is almost as well known for their popular corporate gifts and bread of the month clubs. You can buy themed Wine Country baskets or a selection of sourdough loaves and accompaniments. Shown is the Taste of San Francisco Gift Basket which contains three loaves of sourdough, cheese, California mustard, chocolate, snack mix, and locally made dry salame …

Peruse all the Boudin gift selections at Boudin Bakery

Lamp In A Box

Lamp In A Box Table Lamps

Lamp In A Box: This Golden State company was founded in 2007 with the goal of redefining people’s perceptions of table lamps … and we think they’ve succeeded!

Their fun, affordable designs are a welcome change from the standard table lamp and a wonderful conversation piece …

There are hundreds of designs available, including retro advertising images, musical themes, American painters, sports, transportation, travel, and much more … you can also choose from various styles of lamp bases to match your desired taste and decor.

Lamp In A Box also has an exclusive “Design Your Own” area where you can have a little fun with your creative side designing the table lamp of your dreams!

Take a look at their website and see all the eye catching designs and order one for yourself or as a gift!

California Trivia and Fun Facts

1). California is known for wine production. Almost 18 million gallons of wine are bottled in the state each year …

2). California is home to the lowest point in the United States, as well as the highest point in the lower 48 states. The lowest is Death Valley, 282 feet below sea level. Mt. Whitney, at 14,491 feet is the highest point in the contiguous 48 states …

3). Los Angeles is the most populous city in the state. San Diego is second, San Jose third.

4). Richard Nixon, our 37th President, is to date the only U.S. President born in California …

5). California’s state tree is the redwood. Known as the tallest tree in the world, some of the redwoods in Sequoia National Park are over 2,000 years old …

6). Many people consider Wisconsin as America’s number one dairy state, but it’s California. California first surpassed Wisconsin in dairy production in 1993 …

7). A herd of about 200 bison (buffalo) roam wild on Catalina Island. The herd are descendants of bison brought to the island for a movie shoot in the 1920’s …

8). California’s coastline measures 840 miles. It’s the 3rd most of any state …

9). The state song of California is titled “I Love You, California” …

10). The longest river in the state is the Sacramento River, which flows 380 miles …

11). Lake Oroville is California’s deepest lake at 695 feet. It is located about 75 miles north of Sacramento.

SmencilsScentco, Inc.: This innovative California company makes gourmet scented products for personal office use or as company promotional items. They are best known for their Smencils, which are gourmet scented pencils made from 100% recycled newspapers …

The company also makes “Smens” and “Smarkers” which of course are scented pens and markers. They’re available in several different colors and designs, and Scentco works directly with companies wanting to create a unique promotional item for their customers and/or employees …

By the way, some of the creative scents you can buy are juicy lemon, cherry vanilla, blackberry, pear, Kinda Cola, and razzleberry … check their website for all the details!

Oxgut Hose CompanyOxgut Hose Company: We love creative small companies who repurpose unwanted items into something useful … and here’s a California company doing a great job of it!

The company is Oxgut Hose Company and while they’re not in the hose manufacturing business per se, their business creates high end indoor and outdoor furniture and accessories from retired fire hoses salvaged from U.S. fire departments …

Fire hose is made from a very durable yet versatile material. Some of Oxgut’s designs have to be seen to be believed … chairs, mats, slippers, totes, carrying cases, and more. Their offerings are evolving and the selection is expanding …

What a great gift for anyone who appreciates eco friendly products, or simply enjoys a unique and useful creative process! Be sure to review the Oxgut web site to learn more and order …

Grandpa Po OriginalsGrandpa Po’s Half Popped Popcorn Snack: Another clever California made product are these snack mixes made by Grandpa Po’s Originals based in the town of Commerce …

They’re a mix of half popped organic popcorn kernels and dry roasted soy nuts along with a dash of sea salt or spices. The half popped kernels, which you can see on their website, are smaller than a fully popped kernel of popcorn but bigger than the “old maids” often found at the bottom of the batch …

They’re available in lightly salted and slightly spicy varieties. They’re also quite healthy for you … no additives, preservatives, or anything artificial. You can order a few bags at their site … they’re unique and delicious!

Back To The RootsBack To The Roots: Two clever guys from UC Berkeley came up with an idea which struck a chord with school children, indoor gardeners, and fresh food fans …

It’s the indoor mushroom kit, which contains everything you need to grow your very own fresh mushrooms at home in 10 days. The kit is a self contained box which you simply place in indirect light, mist daily, and harvest!

The kit won’t spoil and produces about a pound and a half of fresh oyster mushrooms which are excellent for stews, salads, and stir fry dishes. You can get as many as ten “crops” of fresh mushrooms from each kit … very reasonably priced and a great gift!

Back To The Roots has been featured by Oprah and Martha Stewart and other national publications in addition to here at State Gifts USA. They also make an Aqua Farm, a self cleaning fish tank that also grows edible plants … just fill with water, add your pet fish, and plant seeds!

See both of these ingenious items at the Back To The Roots website linked above …

Jes MaHarry Birthstone Jewelry: We learned of this Ojai, CA jewelry designer from a friend, viaited her site and wanted to share it with you …

Not only will you find some beautiful jewelry personally designed by Jes, from classic to whimsical, but you’ll also find jewelry containing birth stones for all 12 months of the year. Birth stone jewelry is the perfect gift, and these stones on gold and silver loops allow you to wear them with your favorite necklace.

You can see the entire collection at JesMaHarry.com. In case you need a quick reference, here are the birth stones for each of the 12 months:

January: Garnet
February: Amethyst
March: Aquamarine
April: Diamond
May: Emerald
June: Alexandrite
July: Ruby
August: Peridot
September: Sapphire
October: Opal
November: Topaz
December: Tanzanite

See's Candy

See’s Candy Gift Pack

See’s Candy: For over 90 years, See’s Candy has been synonymous with old fashioned great tasting chocolate delicacies and assorted candy treats. The company was founded in Los Angeles in 1921 and the founder’s mother, Mary See, still smiles on the front of every box …

See’s has expanded throughout the west over the years. They’re well known for their gift baskets and gift packs, including business gifts and special occasion remembrances.

You can find their tidy black and white stores throughout the Golden State and farther afield, or you can order See’s Candy online and have your gift shipped …

Heath Ceramics

Heath Ceramics Dinnerware Set

Heath Ceramics: Made in California since 1948, Heath Ceramics is one of America’s leaders in the ceramic industry, and a whole lot more …

Heath Ceramics is not only noted for vases, pitchers, pots, and dinnerware sets (shown), but it is also famous for glass blown items and decorative items. Heath is also one of the largest house number producers in the country.

They’re based in Sausalito and have recently opened a handsome new retail location in San Francisco, not far from the iconic Anchor Brewery (see below). The company also offers in house made jewelry, accessories, and seasonal / holiday collections …

You can shop the Heath Ceramic collections at the Heath Ceramics website … an ideal gift from the Golden State!

Tapatio Hot SauceTapatio Hot Sauce: Tapatio Hot Sauce has been first a California staple and then a national sensation … you can probably find this unique sauce in your local grocer.

Tapatio is great on any Mexican influenced dish, as well as eggs, bloody mary concoctions, and even sandwiches for a little spicy kick …

You can also use it in seafood, as a marinade or a garnishment. In fact, the Tapatio web site offers several recipes you’ll want to check out …

In case you can find Tapatio in a store near you, you can have it shipped directly to your home or as a gift from Tapatio Hot Sauce.

It’s been proudly made and manufactured in California since 1971 …

StateGiftsUSA.comCalifornia Chips Based in Oxnard, this potato chip producer makes several interesting flavors of chips, and they’re as fresh as can be … potatoes are harvested in nearby Bakersfield and they’re being cooked in the kettle within two or three hours. A few of their flavors are Creamy Chipotle, Honey Barbecue, and Sea Salted …

The chip bag pictured are Earthquake Chips, which are gaining a cult following. They’re a combination of several flavors in one bag, all blended together … maybe it causes a shake, rattle, and roll to your taste buds!

Either way, you can order these chips at CaliforniaChips.com

California Garlic Products: Did you know California is one of the world’s biggest producers of garlic? California garlic from the central part of the state is noted for it’s smooth yet assertive flavor, making it a favorite of chefs all over the world …

We love cooking with garlic, especially using interesting sauces and condiments containing California garlic. Our favorite online source for a fantastic selection of these products is Garlic World of Gilroy, CA in the heart of garlic country. You’ll find literally hundreds of interesting products on their site (you can easily spend an hour or more just reading about the various condiments), and they even sell granulated California garlic in bulk, from five pounds on up …

StateGiftsUSA.comAnchor Brewing Company: Before there was craft beer, there was Anchor Steam. A San Francisco (and now national) treasure since 1896, Anchor Brewing Company was on its last legs in the mid 1960’s until it was rescued by Fritz Maytag of the Maytag appliance family fame.

In the ensuing years, the brewery has gained a reputation as being one of the original, and best, smaller breweries anywhere. Tours of the brewery are one of the most popular tourist attractions in San Francisco. The product line has expanded from the original Anchor Steam to over a dozen standard and seasonal offerings, including the spectacular Liberty Ale. And while Anchor Brewing can’t sell you a beer over the internet, you can buy all sorts of Anchor Steam gear, including wearables, glasswear, signs, and even tap handles …

I remember first having an Anchor Steam in 1979 (yes, I was technically too young to imbibe then!) at a place called Bentley’s Wine Bar on Chicago’s near north side along with my dad. Seeing a few bottles of Anchor Steam in the glass cooler behind the bar, we inquired about the beer and were informed by the owner, “It’s a cult beer” …

And if that is indeed the case, I’ve been a member of the Anchor Steam cult ever since!

California Redwood Company: Another ubiquitous attraction in California are the giant redwood trees populating the central and northern parts of the state. These beautiful towering trees are among the largest and most spectacular trees on earth …

They’re also extremely sturdy and durable, in part accounting for their long life. Redwood products for your home are highly prized and desirable for the same reasons …

The California Redwood Company offers all kinds of California redwood products to the general public. It’s worth visiting their site even to simply learn about these majestic trees.

The company practices sustainable forestry policy and plants more redwood trees than are forested. Nothing is wasted in the manufacturing process, from the bark all the way down to the sawdust!

StateGiftsUSA.comCalifornia Wine: Of all the products synonymous with California, perhaps none is more closely associated with the state than world class wine …

California’s climate is perfect for growing grapes, with cool ocean breezes mixing with arid conditions further inland, resulting in warm, sunny days and cool nights. Grapes thrive not only in the well known Napa Valley wine producing region, but in just about every area of the state …

All in all, California offers hundreds of micro climate areas, with each proving ideal for hundreds of different grape varieties. The result is a dizzying array of world class wines … most produced in small quantities and generally unavailable to the general public …

Fortunately, certain small producers have been able to distribute their wines on a rotating basis to penetrate the national market. Doing so brings the wonderful wines of smaller producers onto a more level playing field with mega wine companies, and gets them into the hands of the wine loving public.

Experience the best of California as a gift or simply to enjoy yourself!

Earth and Vine Provisions: Earth and Vine Provisions in Loomis, CA enjoys a reputation of producing a wide range of 100% natural food products using California ingredients with no preservatives …

The company makes dozens of condiments, nut butters, vinaigrettes, jams, cooking sauces, and even cocktail mixes!

Check out their full product line at EarthNVine.com and discover for yourself why their motto is “We Add Good Taste To Your Life” …

StateGiftsUSA.comPacifica Culinaria Avocado Oil: California is well known for its bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables, none more prolific than the avocado. Packed with essential vitamins and oils, avocados are one of the healthiest fruits to add to your diet …

Even if you don’t care for avocados, you can still enjoy their many health benefits via infused avocado oil, available online from Pacifica Culinaria, a Vista, CA gourmet oil producer. Avocado oil is used for grilling and sauteing foods and won’t smoke up at high temperatures like most other oils. Further, avocado oil is rich in monounsaturated fat (“the good fat”) and is an excellent choice for people with diabetes or heart disease. Choose from a variety of infused flavors like roasted garlic, lemon, key lime, blood orange, and several more …

Pacifica Culinaria also makes agave syrups, condiments, and infused vinegars … it’s a great one stop shopping destination for the amateur or professional chef in your life!

Mendocino Mustard: Call us mustard freaks, but we just love tasting different styles of mustard from across the country …

One of our new favorites is a wonderful tangy hot-and-sweet mustard from Mendocino Mustard of Fort Bragg, CA. You can use it as an everyday refrigerator mustard, but we like using it in recipes like mustard glazed salmon or in a zesty potato salad. We also love one of their slogans, “Put The Best On Your Wurst!” …

Grow Your Own Sequoia Tree Kit: What a great idea for a family project or a school science project! The Sequoia tree is one of California’s most famous tree species, along with the redwood.

Now you can grow your very own Sequoia sapling from a handy kit (costs less than $20) which includes all the materials and directions you need to grow a Sequoia sapling. These hearty trees grow just about anywhere in the United States!

See all the different grow your own tree kits available …

StateGiftsUSA.com

Sun Flour Baking Vegan Brownies

Sun Flour Baking Company: This new baking company has settled into an interesting niche … vegan friendly baked goods.

Based just outside of Sacramento, Sun Flour uses no dairy, eggs, or refined sugars and sweetens their products with fruit juice …

Shown is a coconut fudge almond brownie, which is 100% vegan … no wheat, dairy, eggs, or hydrogenated oil.

You can order all sorts of Sun Flour Baking products online, including cookies, brownies, a special snack treat called the California Bar, and more …

Just Tomatoes Gift Pack

Just Tomatoes Gift Pack

Just Tomatoes: This Westley, California company’s name is a little misleading since they actually offer a lot more than just tomatoes …

The company produces dried fruit snack packs, dried vegetable snacks, organic fruit and vegetables, and fruit powders for drink mixes. The fruit powders are also good when mixed in yogurt, ice cream, smoothies, or in sauces and dressings …

Just Tomatoes offers a wide variety of gift packs – check out the selection at JustTomatoes.com

More California Made Products To Come … Tell Us About Your Favorites By Commenting At Our Contact Us Page!


Visiting California’s Capital City: Sacramento

Sacramento River Cruise

Enjoy An Historic Sacramento River Cruise

Welcome to Part Five in our State Gifts USA series, “Visiting America’s State Capital Cities” series. We’ll be providing overview travelogues for all 50 American capitals alphabetically by state, drawing upon our own travel experiences and those of trusted close friends.

Each travelogue provides a general overview of the city, its attractions, and our recommendations of what to do and where to enjoy a good meal. We’re advocates of “going local”, so you won’t find many five star recommendations … we figure you can find all the pricey restaurants on your own!

We also gravitate toward the historical, especially when it comes to restaurants, so expect to read about visits to eating and drinking establishments that have stood the test of time and are revered by the local community. You’ll also learn about each state’s State Capitol Building, just in case you’ve got a bucket list to someday visit all 50!

So with that said, let’s dive into our visit to the capital of The Golden State, Sacramento …

Sacramento Overview

When we told a few friends we were planning to spend a few days in Sacramento, their reaction could best be described as quizzical. Now granted, we live in the Midwest but no one we talked to knew anything about this city, known as The City of Trees.

SacramentoThe city itself is home to close to a half million people, and the surrounding county (Sacramento County) has a population of about 2.5 million. The county is amidst a rich agricultural area, giving rise to the city’s reputation as the farm-to-table center of California. To be sure, there’s no shortage of wonderful cuisine served here … the biggest problem is deciding where to eat and which places make the cut!

Sacramento is actually closer to Wine Country than San Francisco, making it an ideal launching pad for a wine sojourn. There’s plenty to sip in Sacramento County on its own though – the area is home to over 200 wineries and dozens of craft breweries and brewpubs!

The weather here is, in a word, delightful! Sacramento enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate with an average yearly temperature of 61 degrees. Summers don’t get too hot and winters are moderate. Outdoor activities are part of every day Sacramento life – it’s an excellent place to run, walk, and bicycle.

The city itself is fairly easy to navigate – there is ample light rail if you favor public transportation and Amtrak trains stop here daily. Two rivers flow through town – the American and Sacramento. They can get you turned around a bit if you’re unfamiliar with Sacramento’s layout but it’s nothing a little map studying can’t fix.

As mentioned, there’s plenty to see and do here – so let’s get started!

What To See And Do

CA Old SacramentoIf you have limited time to spend here in the city, one of the areas you’ll want to see is the Old Sacramento district. Located along the riverfront on 28 acres, Old Sacramento was founded in 1849 and is a site of great historical significance. This is essentially where the Gold Rush started, and the area was the western terminus of the Pony Express.

Now, Old Sacramento is the city’s jewel for dining, shopping, and entertainment. Walking tours and carriage rides provide an overview, as does the highly recommended Hornblower Historic River Cruises. These river cruises provide an excellent overview of not only the historic area, but of the city itself. This was one of the first things we did upon our arrival and it provided an excellent way to get our bearings …

If you’re a fan of eclectic independent shops, Old Sacramento is where you want to be! The area is flush with dozens of retail outlets and is refreshingly devoid of large chain operations. You’ll find everything from unique clothing and accessories to home furnishings and antiques. Most stores are clustered around the area’s main drag, Front Street. To keep things easier for the navigationally challenged, cross streets are adorned with letters of the alphabet, i.e. J Street, K Street, etc.

Old Sacramento is an excellent choice for lunch or dinner – there are options here for everyone! We stopped in for lunch at the historic Fanny Ann’s Saloon, a fun, casual place with daily sandwich specials, plenty of cold beer, and a lively crowd. Another fun option is the River City Saloon, an Old West peanut-shells-on-the-floor type of place where you can order an authentic sarsaparilla along with some easy on the wallet appetizers and sandwiches …

Not far from here at 10th and L Street is California’s Capitol Building. Originally opened in 1874, free public tours are offered on the hour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The governor’s office is located here, and the entire complex is actually known as the California State Capitol Museum, where you can walk the halls and explore some of the state’s rich history …

Guild Theater SacramentoAs mentioned above, Sacramento is an outdoor activity paradise. It owes this reputation to the city’s generally agreeable climate and the emphasis on walking and bike trails along with the Sacramento and American Rivers. Kayaking, canoeing, a a variety of competitive and non competitive running events are commonplace here, so don’t forget to bring your running shoes!

For some indoor entertainment in historic venues, try to catch a movie, show, or concert at one of three notable Sacramento theaters. There’s the Tower Theater, built in the 1930’s, on Land Park Drive where you’ll find independent films being screened and the 100 year old Guild Theater on 35th Street (shown) for movies and concerts. Another is the historic Crest Theater on K Street for more of the same – it was built just after World War II.

Dining In Sacramento

Crawdads Sacramento

Crawdads River Cantina – Sacramento

In addition to the two places we mentioned above, one thing you’ll want to do while in Sacramento is have lunch or dinner along the riverfront. We liked Crawdad’s River Cantina for a relaxing drink and inventive menu featuring fresh seafood and southern influenced specialties. They’re also open for breakfast and the Farmers Market Omelet will keep you going strong to lunch time and beyond …

For a true local’s place, you won’t go wrong at the Squeeze Inn, famous for their cheeseburgers with the crispy cheese lopping off the bun. They were featured on Diners, Drive In’s, and Dives. They’re located on Power Inn Road on the southeast side of the city and in addition to their renowned burgers they grill up a fine grilled cheese sandwich as well!

For breakfast, another Sacramento original is Marie’s Donuts on Freeport Boulevard. Primarily serving the late night crowd, Marie’s opens up at midnight and stays open until early afternoon. You don’t need to come here after midnight … there’ll be plenty left during the traditional breakfast hours! You will want to try one of their famous Blueberry Buttermilk Donuts, though. Quite possibly the best donut ever!

Summing It Up

Marie's Donuts, Sacramento

Marie’s Donuts: The Best Donuts In Town!

Sacramento, despite being the capital city of one of America’s biggest states, is a bit off the tourist and visitor track. And maybe that’s the way the city likes it!

Perhaps Sacramento doesn’t quite compare to the more renowned California cities and natural attractions like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Wine Country, and the Coastal Highway, but it does hold a special allure for visitors. It’s an ideal base for exploring area wine regions and National Parks …

The fun thing about Sacramento is you can spend as much or as little time here as your schedule and interests allow. Yes, there’s plenty to see and do here but you can indeed get a bare bones feel for the city in a full day. Of course, you’ll want to dig a little deeper to fully appreciate why Sacramento is known as the true California experience!

California State Capitol Building

State Capitol Building, Sacramento CA

For More Information About Sacramento

The Sacramento’s helpful visitor’s bureau website, VisitSacramento.com, is the best place to start. There you’ll find in depth information about hotels, special attractions, and dining options beyond the brief overview of this wonderful city we’ve presented here …

Another excellent resource is Sacramento Magazine, a monthly publication with interesting features, reviews, and a list of current events …

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