Though Seattle’s iconic export, Starbucks, is poured across America, most of Seattle’s flavors are best savored closer to the source. That’s because local isn’t a trend here, it is a way of life — with mushrooms foraged from nearby mountains and salmon fished from neighboring rivers. Sure, you can buy apples everywhere, but have they been hand-picked a few hours beforehand? Here’s our list of eats and drinks we miss when away from The Emerald City.
More than half of the apples consumed in the U.S. are grown in Washington State. From popular Honeycrisp to heirloom Newton Pippins, “an apple a day” is an easy, and tasty, motto to stick to in Seattle.
2. Farmers Markets/Local Produce
We’ve been fans of fresh-grown produce before farm-to-table became trendy. Just look at our biggest tourist attraction: the Pike Place Market. With neighborhood farmers markets like the bustling Ballard Sunday Market and backyard gardens, Seattle feels like a giant C.S.A. every day.
3. Locally-Roasted Coffee
The land of Starbucks teems with ten times more coffee shops than the rest of the U.S.; there’s a cup of locally-roasted, small-batch Joe on nearly every corner. We especially dig Slate Coffee Roasters due to their to their boutique beans and savvy staff.
With 44 breweries and counting, like the cult favorite Holy Mountain, Seattle’s beer scene is bursting. Even dive bars and gas stations stock microbrews, leaving us longing for a good pint when stuck in towns that pour nothing but Bud.
Thanks to the city’s fungi-packed forests, Seattleites are mushroom snobs. We say “no” to bland, plastic-wrapped supermarket mushrooms and “yes” to chanterelles, lobsters, and hedgehogs, especially from our farmers market favorite, Foraged & Found.
Seattle is an island in a sea of oyster-laden waters. Our bivalve bounty, from Kumamotos to Quilcenes, brim with crisp cucumber, melon notes compared to the East Coast’s briny ones. Luckily, our favorite shop, Taylor Shellfish, ships across the U.S. when we need our Pacific Northwest fix.
Seattle’s drizzly climate beckons for bowls of steaming soup. Thanks to the sizeable Vietnamese community, Pho is our preferred pot. Like library cards, everyone in Seattle has a go-to pho spot, like Pho Bac or Ba Bar.
From the Columbia River to the Hood Canal, Seattle’s surrounding waters are stocked with salmon. We relish the freshest Chinook, Coho, and pink salmon raw, fried, smoked, and jerkified. Our latest swoon: the salmon tartare from Goldfinch Tavern, a stone’s throw away from Pike Place Market’s fishmongers.
9. Seattle Dog
Due to a bagel man who moonlighted as a hot dog vendor in Pioneer Square in the 1980s, the Seattle Dog comes smeared with an unlikely condiment: cream cheese. Often ordered with grilled onions and/or jalapeños, this is our go-to bite after a boozy night.
Sold at over 100 joints in town like Best Teriyaki, teriyaki is Seattle’s beloved bargain meal. Just $7 gets us meat marinated in salty, soy glaze, two giant mounds of white rice, and a salad.