Peanut butter. It’s an old standby slapped between two pieces of bread with its old friend jam. It mixes well with chocolate and vanilla and honey and basically anything with sugar. It’s a go-to snack when spread on celery or crackers—or right from a spoon, usually standing over the sink or in front of the pantry (hey, we can relate!).
But peanut butter is also one of those foods that can be as tasty in a mom-made sandwich as it is whipped up into a fancy dessert and can also elevate the flavor of other foods, from the comfort food realm to upscale cuisine to international fare. So buckle up as we take a tour of some of the best peanut butter eats in California—but don’t buckle too tight; we fully expect to provide a few gut-busting opportunities during our peanut butter parade.
You would expect to find a heaping helping of peanut butter at a place called Peanut Butter Bar, an L.A. food truck, and you’re gonna. Go for the traditional Sammy, or order up a Kitt the Pig, with peanut butter, nutella and bacon, or the Can Ya Dig It burger with cheese, pickles a chipotle-aioli spread, and, of course, peanut butter and jelly.
You can also get your burger/pb&j mashup fix at Peanut Butter & Jellousy (also our winner for best pb&j punny name) with an “all natural, ground beef topped with thick cut bacon, creamy peanut butter and strawberry jelly on a honey wheat bun” at Slater’s 50/50 in Anaheim Hills, Huntington Beach, San Diego, Pasadena, Lake Forest and Rancho Cucamonga.
Go international and enjoy how peanut butter plays with bold flavors. At Thai Spice on Polk Street you can get peanut sauce chicken, or golden tofu, which ups the ante with a peanut tamarind sauce. Mexican food is also no stranger to the joys of peanut butter. Adding it to mole adds another layer of creaminess. In Covina, pop into the casual El Matador. There may not be a whole lot of elegant decor to look at here, but you’ll probably be glued to your plate once your mole arrives anyway. In Santa Cruz? Head to El Jardin for chocolatey/peanut buttery chicken mole poblano or enchiladas de mole.
When it’s time for dessert in So Cal, stop in to ‘Lette Macarons for the best pb&j you’ll ever taste…in cookie form. Then it’s on to Peanut Butter Stuffed Mochi from Fugetsu-Do, a Japanese desserterie, for peanut butter mochi that’s been described as “the Japanese equivalent of an Abba Zabba” (you had us at Abba).
In the northern part of the state? It’s peanut butter jelly time at candy bar in San Francisco (translation: chocolate tart, peanut butter cream, salted candied peanuts, blackberries, drool bucket). Then visit Frozen Kuhsterd, California’s first frozen custard food truck, so you can figure out where they are going to be in the bay Area so you can follow them around and eat all of their salted chocolate peanut butter custard.
Just want a jar of the good stuff? Hit up Pacific Beach Peanut Butter in San Diego for their famous gourmet peanut butter in traditional as well as gourmet flavors including toffee, butterscotch, and white chocolate.