The time has come to let summer vacations fade like sunburns, and it’s back to school or work, or more of the usual working from home, as the surge may be. But as you’re falling back into the routine, should you hit a mid-afternoon slump, no need to despair. These small and local food makers have an outstanding array of snacks, whether your taste swings savory for crispy sumac chips and crunchy porcini popcorn, or aches sweet for stuffed dates and dark chocolate. Here are a dozen crushable snacks for when those cravings attack.
Tortilla Chips & Mango Salsa from Frank Grizzly’s
With their Mexi-Cali fresh pop-up, Kim and Jorge may be known best for bomb birria tacos and tricked-out nachos. But it’s also worth munching on their tortilla chips between meals, which are notably fried in local olive oil, made by a farmer buddy in the Central Valley. Drag them through a selection of fresh salsas, including a tropical chop of mango, cukes, and chiles.
Crispy Pita & Baba Ghanouge from Mama Lamees
Mama Lamees is a single mom of three kids who all turned out to be star students, and let’s just assume the snacks had something to do with that. Lamees blends a couple of smooth and creamy dips, including classic hummus or smoky eggplant, served alongside crispy pita chips sprinkled with tart sumac and fragrant oregano for shoveling.
Popcorn Sprinkled with Porcini Koji Salt from Shared Cultures
Eleana and Kevin forage wild ingredients and ferment unusual misos, as layered into many restaurant menus. But at home, when Eleana reaches for a snack, she’s simply popping a fresh bowl of popcorn, drenching it with butter, and sprinkling it with one of her koji salts, adding wild porcini and purple stripe garlic flavors.
Mushroom & Spinach Pupusas from Nixta Foods
Gabriel’s mom used to make pupusas every week, but instead of her meaty version, now he likes to stuff his with fresh veggies. The mushroom and greens variation packs in crimini mushrooms and baby spinach. And they’re a nice tidy size, so you could have one or two for a snack. Just griddle until golden.
Bourbon & Molasses Beef Jerky from Fatted Calf
Taylor and Toponia, the wine country charcuterie pros, actually wrote an entire cookbook completely dedicated to jerky, and it won an IACP award. So listen up, meat lovers: This is serious jerky, starring free-range beef cured with boozy bourbon, blackstrap molasses, and a whiff of smoke.
Furikake Chex Mix from MackBox
Former fine dining chef Mack can’t stop remixing this Hawaiian favorite, probably because the fans would revolt. He tosses together crunchy cereal and pretzels, and coats it all in soy and honey, walking that fine line between sweet and savory. A sprinkle of furikake adds a waft of seaweed and sesame.
Chaga Chai Granola from Nana Joe’s
Michelle partnered with cookbook author and content creator Edgar Castrejón to craft this granola, which sounds so warm and cozy for fall. It features spicy fresh ginger and ground cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves, and also slides in chaga, the anti-inflammatory mushrooms with a mellow earthy flavor. You could spoon it over fresh fruit or greek yogurt, or just snack on it by the handful.
Assorted Stuffed Dates from Babo’s Kitchen
Babo always sets out a colorful blend of Kashmiri and Pakistani flavors, down to the smallest snack. She stuffs tacky medjool dates with creamy fillings and crushed toppings: sweet fig butter and almonds, chocolatey nutella and pistachios, crunchy peanut butter and peanuts, and creamy goat cheese with red chile flakes.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough from Drops of Dough
Erin spent years mastering the art of the chocolate chip cookie, all while getting after-school snack feedback from her four boys. She now sells the frozen dough, so you can bake off one or two cookies fresh, and break into them while still warm and gooey.
Dark Chocolate Bars from 9th & Larkin
Then again, some people don’t want a whole pastry, just a nibble of dark chocolate will do. Lan and Brian source beans from single origins and craft dark chocolate bars with distinct tasting notes. So you can savor warm spices from Tanzania, fruit flavors from Vietnam, or walnut and cedar notes from Peru.
Golden Bark from Petite LaFleur
Suzanne baked all of the sweets and snacks at Square, so she understands the afternoon crash and what perks up tired tech workers. She rocks sweet and savory confections with big texture. For example, this golden bark, where shards of caramelized white chocolate break into crunchy popcorn and roasted rice.
Blackberry & Gin Pate de Fruit from Yami Yami
For people raised on fruit snacks, fruit rollups, and the like, pate de fruit is kind of the grownup version of that. Yamina pulled these sweet bites out of the fine dining room so you can snack at home. They have intensely jammy flavors with unusual twists, like inky blackberries and botanical gin. Plus, they’re dusted in just enough sugar to get you through that last Zoom.
Hungry for more? There are so many more exciting snacks on the site. Plus a few more fresh ideas: