Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Pacific Northwest >
Apr 4, 2008 07:00 PM

Are there any regional foods unique to Idaho and Oregon?

I'll be taking a road trip through those states, and would like to eat regional foods -- in fact, LI want foods that are (more or less) unique to the region -- foods I can't find elsewhere. This isn't ever a problem when traveling along the East Coast or down South, but tell me, what am I going to find in the far West, other than maybe fast foods and, if I'm particularly unlucky, faux French? Please, help me lest I perish on that trip.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Oregon Pinot Noir, hit the Willamette Valley, especially around Dundee, Newberg and Carlton. Oregon is about fresh, local and organic. Fresh salmon (if there is some this year), with nice Oregon Pinot Gris is very Oregon. We have wonderful local lamb also. Portland is probably ground zero for the foodie world though many cities have small outposts that do a good job with local producers and local products.

    1. Idaho and Oregon has one of the largest Basque populations outside of Spain. Boise in particular has hosted Jai Aldi, an international celebration of Basque culture, many times. The corridor from Reno, NV to Boise, ID has many great Basque restaurants.

      From John Ascuaga's Nugget in Reno, NV to Epi's in Meridian, ID, I encourage you to take a serious look at the culture and restaurants. Epi's in Meridian, ID is a particular favorite of mine. The Ansotegui's will take great care of you and you will leave feeling like you attended a family dinner.

      Good luck on your trip

      1. You don't say when you'll be traveling but if it's during berry season (June-Aug), Oregon is known for its Marionberries. Dungeness Crab is a West coast thing and like the previous rec, salmon here is different from Atlantic salmon so find that if you can. Also, it would help to know where you'll be. Idaho Falls is way different from Boise is way different from Coeur d'Lene. In Oregon as well - Pendleton, Eugene, Ashland, Portland... all different. If you're just going to be on the east side of either state, good luck.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Sushiqueen36

          Idaho is known for killer smoked trout. YUM.

          Kind of interesting to hear of the West as being seen as some kind of culinary wasteland--but hey, spread the word, as we're kind of full up here now! *grin*

          1. re: allisonw

            Thanks to all. I know, us Easterners get a little snotty, food-wise. Sorry 'boust that. Anyway -- time to pack.

        2. Yes, wines, salmon (seafood for that matter), marionberries are all delicious products of the northwest. Also, important to include in the list are filberts, aka hazelnuts. Oregon is unique in that it is the only state in the U.S. able to grow them. They're not as big here in the states as they are in Europe so I'm not sure that you'll find many dishes in Oregon restaurants that include them, but keep your eyes open for them anywhere in the Willamette Valley.

          4 Replies
          1. re: valerieca2

            How could I have forgotten Hazelnuts?! If you can't find them on the menu, pick up a can of roasted ones or a bag of them in the shell. You should be able to find them and they are VERY Oregon. Can't remember when Burgerville does its Chocolate Hazelnut milkshakes...

            1. re: Sushiqueen36

              I'm glad you mentioned the Burgerville shake. I no longer live in Oregon, so wasn't aware they have this seasonal item! Sounds great, I'll be sure to look it up next time we go. Thanks!

            2. re: valerieca2

              The very awesome Holmquist Hazelnuts in Whatcom, Washington would be very surprised to hear they can't grow hazelnuts! My Idaho-living grandparents also had a small orchard of trees.

              In reply to the original post, It's almost troll-y to come onto the PNW board and wonder if there's anything worth eating in the 'far west', but here goes: if you are here during the spring, our asparagus is the best ever. Potatoes of all types are wonderful, as are all of our berries, apples, pears and stone fruits. You'll also be in wheat country, and some of the best bakers in the world are in the Pacific Northwest cities. Don't forget our delicious shellfish, our angus cattle, or our dairy products and artisan cheeses. etc, etc, ad nauseum.

              Frankly, it's not what will you find to eat, it's how will you find time and room for it all?

              1. re: Jahara

                My bad... Washington state is able to, and does indeed grow hazelnuts. Rather, I should have posted that the Oregons' Willamette Valley is responsible for 98% of U.S hazelnut production, thus more widely known for their production of the nut.

            3. Idaho, Huckleberries. I've never seen them in their raw form, but you'll find lots of candies and syrups, etc.

              Chocolate covered potato chips taste like kit kat bars. Pretty good but just make 'em at home.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

                DEFINITELY huckleberries! They come into season in late July and early August. You can generally find them fresh in farmer's markets or at roadside stands off the beaten path. They're a mountain berry, elusive and painstaking to pick but soo worth it. If you've got the time and are more of an outdoorsperson take an afternoon to hunt some down, nothing better than eating them off the bush!