Challenge finding east coast favorites in Seattle
I grew up in the Boston area, and since living here in Seattle, have been challenged to find the following around here:
1. Top loading hot dog buns, that are flat on the sides, that you can toast.
2. Egg bagels like they make in Brookline, MA.
3. Smoked whitefish.
4. Pizza like they have at W House of Pizza in Watertown, MA (Paggliachi is the closest, but no cigar).
5. Great fried clams, with the whole clam, not strips. Ivar's doesn't cut it.
6. Lobster rolls like on Cape Cod.
7. Great New England clam chowder and fish chowder like they make at Legal Seafoods in Boston.
8. Deli's (NOT part of a supermarket) with great hot dogs, pastrami, etc.
9. Bakeries (NOT part of a supermarket) with great rich cakes.
LOL. Some of these are the same things I can't find either. I've finally resolved to order my hot dog rolls from netgrocer.com (they freeze well), get my Tripoli's pizza shipped frozen, and my Habitat Pea Soup shipped by my sister who still lives back east.
More and more places are shipping their items. Check with your favorite old haunts. Even if there is nothing on their website, it never hurts to ask. That's how we got the Tripoli's shipped. :)
Transplant from Amesbury MA/Meredith NH.
You have to understand that you are 3000 miles from the East Coast. Some of the stuff you are looking for is out there
1. You can just ask the bakery dept. at either Safeway or QFC about the top loading hot dog buns, I've seen them before but not often. They're out there.
2. I don't know about the egg bagels but when in doubt try Pike Place Market.
3. Smoked Whitefish? Why, when we have great alder smoked salmon.
4. Pizza. Try Atlantic Street Pizzeria in the U District. It's not on Atlantic Street though, I think it's on University Ave.
5. Fried Clams. Never heard of this before. I've heard of clam strips, which I am not a big fan of, but not the whole clam.
6. Lobster Rolls. Lobster is not nearly as big around here as it is back east. Dungeness crab is even better in my opinion. There is nothing better than a plate full of Dungeness with a little drawn butter and glass of chardonnay.
7. There are some great clam chowders out there but they are hit and miss. You will probably find it refered to as Northwest Clam Chowder, it has fewer potatoes and a bit of bacon in it. Some are absolutely fantastic, but some are sub-par, I am sure that is true back east as well. I think it was Daniel's Broiler that had a great one.
8. Deli's. Again, Pike Place Market. You may not find your New York style deli but there is some great chow around there.
9. Bakeries. See #8.
These places are out there. Just get out around town and start eating. You may not find your lobster rolls or your fried clams but I am sure you will find some new favorites.
4. Pizza - you're out of luck. Another commenter mentioned Atlantic Street Pizza, which while delicious and one of my favorite Seattle pizzas, is probably not what you're looking for.
8. Delis - I've always liked Remo Borrachini's deli on Rainier Ave. Huge sandwiches, great ingredients, and cheap. It has a pretty good bakery as well.
Re: #4 - And what kind of pizza is it? Thin crust? Thick crust? Greasy style? I've had a fair share of pizza in New England and it runs the gamut, and pizza here is the same. Without having been to the single pizza place you named, I could only say 'Thin crust? Try Veraci at the Ballard Farmer's Market.'
Re: #5 - Try The Lockspot and Chinooks at Fisherman's Terminal, but I've never found fried seafood (note: I don't count fish and chips in this) that compares to New England. It doesn't make it bad, it just doesn't match up. I love chinooks, I love lockspot, but I love Bob's in Kittery ME too.
Re: #6 - I wouldn't consider even looking for lobster in the PacNW, just like I'd never order salmon in New England. Some foods, namely live things, don't travel well.
Re: #7 - Duke's Chowder is good, Totem House is good (but I didn't like it).
Re: #9 - Larsen's in Ballard would be a good start. Bakeries here are a dime a dozen and many are good, tho not all do cakes.
Overall: If you go looking for food to match food you liked in place X, you will always be disappointed. Trying new food never matches the food you *remember*. Rather than look for something that matches X, look for good examples of local cuisine, and, if you must, simply look for good pizza
 There are a few food types I never recommend as 'the best.' BBQ, Pizza and Chili. Those three things are so personal, so regional, so ... something. There are plenty of good pizzas, bbq and pizza. The fact that everyone says they suck is akin to the previous comment I made about comparing to other places.
I am from Boston too and live in Seattle currently. You have to be realistic about where you are now - there are simply no Maine lobsters living in the Pacific/Alaskan waters... so you're not gonna find that lobster roll.
Ditto authentic clam chowder and fried clams.
For egg bagels and whitefish, I recommend Roxy's in Fremont. They make a good pastrami sandwich too.
Why no clam chowder or fried clams? We are a world capital of shellfish here, and just because we don't have quahogs doesn't mean we don't have loads of other big clams that can be friend or put in chowder.
I grew up eating "authentic" chowder here, made from scratch. I don't think it's all that uncommon, it's just not always well executed. I've since learned to make my sweetie "authentic" Rhode Island clear broth chowder.
We don't tend to fry whole clams in this food culture, but it doesn't mean someone doesn't do it, or it can't easily be done. I'd check around South Bend/Westport if you're ever in that neck of the woods. (And remember, it's ten bucks a year for a shellfish license--go crazy!)