Opening a Delaware LLC for business in California
There are several advantages of a Delaware (or a Wyoming or Nevada) LLC over California, not the least of which is that doesn't take over two months to form. However, avoiding the unreasonably high California "franchise tax" charged annually to all businesses is not one of these advantages. The rules are that if you "do business" in California, even if your company is formed out of state, you have to register with the Secretary of State in California (that's the "foreign qualification you mention). Once you register, you get slapped with the annual $800 tax. So there's really no avoiding it.
All that said, I recommend you look into forming an LLC in Wyoming (a very business-friendly and cheap state) and then registering it in California. This would enable you to start doing business within less than a month and also get the protection of favorable Wyoming business laws. Take a look at our comparison of WY, NV and DE companies.