Two disclaimers about buying edibles online: 1) it costs more than at a store or restaurant, and 2) individual tastes may vary. That said, sometimes there is no substitute for Internet harvesting, if you know where to look.
My main sources are places I’ve eaten and gifts I’ve gotten. Here are some I like.
First, the big news for me. Langer’s Deli in L.A. finally is doing mail order. That rye bread and pastrami are now available on line. If you live in L.A. you can just run over and get some. In Sacramento it gives me a deli dining option I am eager to pursue. Just go to the website, check out the pastrami porn. You get the idea. http://www.langersdeli.com
Beyond sandwiches, I am a condiment whore. I live for sauces. And I usually prefer to buy them rather than trying to reproduce the ones I like in some kitchen chemistry experiment.
One of my favorites is sold only by The Fly Trap restaurant in Ferndale, Michigan. The home of the most amazing gingerbread waffles on earth also makes swat sauce, a brown, sweet, spicy habanero/chipotle concoction with just the right amount of heat for me. I use it on Indian food and eggs and in soups. I haven’t found anything similar in California. http://www.theflytrapferndale.com/
If you like hot spices, try Penzy’s. They have three stores in California, but none close to me. So I buy online. I love their “Northwood’s fire,” a mix of salt, peppers, thyme, rosemary and garlic. I use it on popcorn. Also check out their “Some like it hot” 8-jar gift pack. It includes a hot curry powder I mix with ranch dressing for great-tasting salads. http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/shophome.html
When I’m in the mood for a pickle, only one kind will do: the new pickles from The Pickle Guys in New York City. If I lived in L.A. I’d go to Langer’s. But they don’t ship pickles and The Pickle Guys do. Maybe you have to be Jewish. Or loco. But for me there is no substitute for these slightly bitter, light green, still kinda cucumbery pickles. http://www.pickleguys.com/
A word about fudge. Everyone’s had some. Most people think they’ve had the good stuff. But your opinion may change when you try the chocolate or maple walnut from Mackinac Island Fudge Company. Each bite is a you-had-to-be-there moment. All their fudge is hand mixed in copper vats and sinfully good. They’re great Christmas gifts. http://www.mackinacislandfudgeco.com/index.html
Speaking of chocolate. If you cook with it or just eat it, do yourself a favor and visit this site. This is the most amazing stuff. Askinosie Chocolate. Take a peek. http://www.askinosie.com/default.aspx
I’ll share other sites in future postings. But one final tip about a pepper sauce. This one you can’t get online. You have to go to the Grubstake Restaurant in San Francisco. It’s called verde fire sauce. Made from green chilies. Worth a trip to pick up a bottle if you’re near Pine Street. http://www.sfgrubstake.com/sell.htm