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What Do They Eat In Seattle?


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Hi, PNW foodies-

I have been ordered by my editor to put together a food front on the foods of Pittsburgh and Seattle this week to run before the Super Bowl.

In North Carolina, we have pork Barbecue, grits and country ham. What is the indigenous chow of Seattle? If not indigenous per se, what do folks enjoy chowing down on in restaurants.

Please educate this southern boy.

Thanks a heap!

Rick McDaniel

Senior Contributing Writer, Food and Drink

Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times

"In the South, perhaps more than any other region, we go back to our home in dreams and memories, hoping it remains what it was on a lazy, still summer's day twenty years ago."--Willie Morris

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Salmon... lots of salmon!

In addition to salmon... other foods "local" to Seattle include:

seafood: dungeness crab, oysters, clams, cod, snapper

berries: strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, huckleberries, raspberries, etc.

tree fruits: apples, pears, cherries

nuts: hazelnuts, filberts

beer: Redhook, especially Ballard Bitters - yes, Rainier/Olympia - no

wine: St Michelle

Edited by Jambalyle (log)

Sitting on the fence between gourmet and gourmand, I am probably leaning to the right...

Lyle P.

Redwood City, CA

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Salmon is very Seattle (and NW in general), typically cooked/smoked on an alder plank. Other seafood is also big.

Seattle doesn't have an overwhelming ethnic-food heritage, unless you want to count the Scandinavians and their lutefisk (but please don't). The thing that struck me 16 years ago when I moved here was the pacific rim influence, especially Japanese and Thai. At the time, I told my future wife that, like NYC has hot dog vendors on every street corner, Seattle has a sushi joint and an espresso cart.

All washed down with local beer, wine, and of course, a latte :biggrin:

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I think I would differ on some of the details of the previous posts and I'm going to assert my "authentic Seattle native" status here... :cool:

Salmon, definitely, especially smoked (hot smoked, not lox) or cedar planked.

Butter clams (steamed), Dungeness crab (steamed, served cold) and oysters (raw).

Coffee (does relate to the local Scandinavian influence I believe). Despite the 800 pound gorilla (Starbucks), Seattle has a vibrant group of small roasters and coffee shops.

Japanese (especially sushi) and Vietnamese food and influenced food. I don't think Thai food is especially strong or prevalent.

Fruit from the other side of the mountains: apples, pears and cherries.

RedHook may have been one of the originals, but these days they're a national brand, distributed by Anheuser-Busch. Many small microbreweries still flourish and make excellent beer.

For better or worse, the food philosophy that prevails is to take high quality ingredients and cook them very simply.

Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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The only thing that everyone has left out is mussels. We have the best mussels here. And while someone did mention mushrooms I'll add that that means a wonderful variety of wild mushrooms-chantrelles, morels, etc.

Running a picture of a geoduck next to the article will definitely catch readers' attention.

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Getting even more Seatte/Washington State-centric:

Not just salmon in all its delightful variations, but especially the style of alder-smoked salmon originally developed by the local Native American tribes.

Not just cherries in all their wonderfulness, but especially the gorgeous and yummy Rainier cherries with their distinctive blush-and-golden coloring (hey, they're even named after Mount Rainier, right?)

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Adding my two cents, as another one of the few remaining Seattle-area natives, if you want to have a short list of iconic Seattle foods, that list would include:

Coffee

Microbrew beer

Salmon

Apples

Shellfish

Crab

Please note I am not specifying sub-types or preparation styles, since we can argue that all day!

In fact, I have made many a good meal using all of these ingredients at one sitting.

Regards,

Michael Lloyd

Mill Creek, Washington USA

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Pizza, hamburgers, and Mexican too (though you would be hard pressed to find anyone here to admit that we have any that's good.

:laugh:

Edited by elswinger (log)

"Homer, he's out of control. He gave me a bad review. So my friend put a horse head on the bed. He ate the head and gave it a bad review! True Story." Luigi, The Simpsons

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the indigenous fast-food that should not be overlooked for its pervasiveness is the local teriyaki joint, with its daily special of spicy chicken with gyoza. Daily meaning of course its the same special every day.

Oh yeah--speaking of indigenous fast food thrills, ya gotta mention Dick's burger drive-ins--they're a Seattle institution. Kidd Valley probably deserves a mention too, as well as Red Mill Burgers--but Dick's is the one that's got the classic un-gentrified un-yuppified burger vibe really going on.

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ohhhh dungie and geoduck (pronounced gooey duck) and of course, alder smoked salmon. I agree, geoduck will get everyone's attention :laugh:

Killer halibut season too. big'uns off the boats coming out of the Straights. (The Georgia Straight and the Straight of Juan de Fuca)

And there are better local brews than Redhook, one's that are still "micro": Mac n Jack's, Diamond Knot, Snoqualmie.

Coffee, coffee, and more coffee.

Born Free, Now Expensive

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I'll reinforce the city's love for blackberries in the summertime.... While not indigenous, they are an invasive, pervasive species. The bushes grow all over Seattle, in the urban as well as suburban areas. As much as people complain about blackberry bushes invading their back yards, I've never heard any complaints about my blackberry cobbler!

They can also be used to make a great pan sauce for the salmon that everyone has mentioned.

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Clam chowder here is probably more endemic than Boston itself, and the style is consistent - you can float the soup spoon on it, it's so thick.

I have to say that Thai places in Seattle are *everywhere* - maybe it's just the crowd I hang with, but I'm pretty sure everyone in Seattle can describe pad thai accurately.

I'd wager the most popular hotdog in town is the buck-fitty-with-a-soda Costco dog. They certainly created an enduring icon.

What I've always found somwhat odd is that we don't have an emblematic sandwich here , despite a Scandinavian heritage and a business culture that doesn't thrive on the Power Lunch. Pastrami on marble rye is to NYC as <blank> is to Seattle... I've got nothing to fill that blank with...

Eric

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What I've always found somwhat odd is that we don't have an emblematic sandwich here , despite a Scandinavian heritage and a business culture that doesn't thrive on the Power Lunch. Pastrami on marble rye is to NYC as <blank> is to Seattle... I've got nothing to fill that blank with...

Funny, there's a discussion on Chowhound right now about this very issue. The overwhelming consensus (including my own) is the Grilled Salmon Sandwich at the Market Grill.

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What I've always found somwhat odd is that we don't have an emblematic sandwich here , despite a Scandinavian heritage and a business culture that doesn't thrive on the Power Lunch. Pastrami on marble rye is to NYC as <blank> is to Seattle... I've got nothing to fill that blank with...

Funny, there's a discussion on Chowhound right now about this very issue. The overwhelming consensus (including my own) is the Grilled Salmon Sandwich at the Market Grill.

I've never had a salmon sandwich that wouldn't have been better without the bread....

Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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What I've always found somwhat odd is that we don't have an emblematic sandwich here , despite a Scandinavian heritage and a business culture that doesn't thrive on the Power Lunch. Pastrami on marble rye is to NYC as <blank> is to Seattle... I've got nothing to fill that blank with...

Funny, there's a discussion on Chowhound right now about this very issue. The overwhelming consensus (including my own) is the Grilled Salmon Sandwich at the Market Grill.

I've never had a salmon sandwich that wouldn't have been better without the bread....

Yes! Eggzacktly! As I read through the posts, I kept thinking of Jack Nicholson growling ala 5 Easy Pieces "I wanna Grilled Salmon Sandwich, hold the baguette, hold the lettuce, hold the rosemary mayo, hold the onion, hold the tomato and bring me a wedge of lemon and a beer!"

I am not a native (I have only lived here for 35 years) but for me Seattle food is the stuff that has always been here, and unless we wipe it out with pollution and development, the stuff you will always be here along the beaches of Puget Sound (oysters, manila and butter clams) from in the waters of the sound (mussels, dungeness crabs, rock scallops, salmon, ling cod) and the forests along the sound (chantrelles, morels) and the bushes in the forests and mountain ranges (blackberries, salmon berries, wild huckleberries).

Hunting and gathering never tasted more divine...so I agree with Tighe, fresh, native ingredients prepared simply are our finest Seattle foods. What better than to grill a native fish over an alder wood fire? Can't think of a better use for alders unless you have an alder tree sporting a singing Varied Thrush!

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HOWEVER...

If you want to kill 2 birds with one stone, you can get your Salumi Fix AND some of Seattle's Best Pizza by ordering the Salumi Primo from Pagliacci Pizza.

The Salumi Primo Begins Feb. 2nd.

The Delivery # is 726-1717.

Not that I'm biased or anything... :raz:

(Ok, I am....Badly... :laugh: )

You Salumi fans, I'll have it on the line every Saturday and another day to be determined....tell you what....what other day do you want it? Most votes is the second day...

:wink:

~Jason

"So, do you want me to compromise your meal for you?" - Waitress at Andy's Diner, Dec 4th, 2004.

The Fat Boy Guzzle --- 1/2 oz each Jack Daniels, Wild Turkey, Southern Comfort, Absolut Citron over ice in a pint glass, squeeze 1/2 a lemon and top with 7-up...Credit to the Bar Manager at the LA Cafe in Hong Kong who created it for me on my hire. Thanks, Byron. Hope you are well!

http://bloatitup.com

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Here's Food Network's Seattle Super Bowl eats (I cringed when I first saw the headline, wondering what the FN would include, but I'd be pretty happy at a Super Bowl party eating the following):

Seattle Style "Bouillabaisse"

Grilled Dungeness Crabs with Kicked Up Seasoned Butter

Spaghetti with Crab Sauce: Spaghettini al Sugo Gronchio

Raw Oysters on the Half Shell

Cedar-Planked Salmon with Washington State Merlot Reduction and Garlic Spinach

Hazelnut, Coffee and Chocolate Ice Cream Bombe

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