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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.

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  1. 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. :)

    Good luck!

    Transplant from Amesbury MA/Meredith NH.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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[1]

          [1] 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.

          1. 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.

            2 Replies
            1. re: lemiller610

              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!)

              1. re: Vetter

                Yes, we do fry whole claims here (or pretty close). When I was a kid, my family would go out to the ocean, get razor claims and fry those up. Very tasty.

            2. I'm also from Mass., but have been living on the West Coast for about ten years.

              For the hot dog buns, if you can't find them in Seattle but it's that critical that you have them, try portugesefood.com and look under their bread section. They sell "New England Style Hot Dog Buns".

              For chowder, try Pike Place Chowder in the Market. When my parents were visiting last summer we took a food tour of the market and they were pretty impressed with the sample from this place. Apparently they've won the annual Chowder Cook-off in RI more than once.

              Pizza, I don't know...Zagi's was my favorite, but it closed. You might want to specify what style you're looking for, since most of us don't knwo what the Watertown House of Pizza served.

              Delis, CasCioppo Brothers? Other Coast Cafe?

              1. hot dogs: Costco
                Pastrami: Roxy's Deli
                Bakeries: Paris Desserts, 60th St. Desserts, Dessertworks, Macrina.

                1 Reply
                1. re: staffstuff

                  I second Roxy's Deli for pastrami, which I tried for the first time last night. Served on light rye with a slathering of good mustard, it was moist and smoky flavored without the acrid, overly-peppered patina found in most deli versions. The accompanying potato salad, however, was merely so-so; not great, but not bad either. I am definitely looking forward to going back to try that sandwich again . . .

                2. Pagliacci Pizza is great - I've had guys in from Brooklyn mention" i wish they actually had these back east..." which shocked me - I felt they were a dime a dozen back there but apparently not.

                  Pike Place Chowder is the absolute bomb. They did win the Rhode Island National Chowder off, so a direct hit there....

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jamesbra

                    We had some relatives in from New York that loved Piecora's pizza and wished they could have that back east.

                    I'm from the east coast and i just wish we had Drakes Cakes out here. Can't beat Ring Dings and Funny Bones...

                  2. Definitely try Pike Place Chowder for their clam chowder and seafood bisque. They are in the Market and in Westlake Center.

                    Not sure what you mean by "great rich cakes" but Seattle has some great bakeries. Bakery Nouveau, Macrina, and Dahlia Bakery are the best. Bakery Nouveau in particular makes amazing cakes (though not standard layer type cakes--they make much better and more interesting cakes).

                    I too love lobster rolls, but alas. It's one of the things that makes me look forward to visiting the NE.

                    1. 7. As others have mentioned, check out Pike Place Chowder. In my opinion, Legal's clam meat is better, but as a whole, the chowder is not as good vis a vis Pike Place Chowder.

                      1. Only have a partial answer here. My sister lives on the east coast in Mass so these come from real life.

                        #3 Smoked whitefish try fisherman's terminal in Magnolia.

                        #4 Your just flat out of luck. The pizza at Snoose Junction Pizza in Ballard is really good thin crust pizza. It may not get the job done for you but, try it. For a West Coast Pizza it does kick butt.

                        #6 AS IF. Seriously dude for this you need a plane ticket. There are some close proximities in Pike's Market but, it will be no cigar for you.

                        #7 there is no talking to someone from the east coast when it comes to chowder but, the chowder at the fish bar on the north end of Lake Union is really good.

                        #8 deli's. Try Roxy's Deli in downtown Seattle. Their pastrami is the closest thing you will find to Katz Deli. You are after all 3000 miles from that coast so please put a realistic expectation on it. Also look up Mario Batali's dads deli in South Seattle.

                        #9 B and O espresso in Capital Hill (no parking) just think it will be like New York? Rich dense cakes. And yes it is in Seattle so we lead with Espresso and tell you about the cakes later. The best Baking in this city is done at the Espresso shops.

                        Good Luck

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: bgrossinseattle

                          "The best Baking in this city is done at the Espresso shops". Do not agree.There are bakeries that serve espresso but it's not their main creative endeavor. Try "Honore" bakery (and they serve espresso :-) )....just opened on 70th near 15th NW. The baker's remarkably talented.

                        2. Forget most of this, Seattle can't match the east coast on those items. Never believe anyone here that tells you they know where to get an east coast style sub, unless it is on the east coast. But fried clams, get Razor clams which are usually breaded and pan fried. The fresher the better. There are good clam chowders around here. Chandler's, Duke's, Ray's Boathouse, Anthony's Homeport, Salty's. Best bets here are local or Alaskan fresh seafood and any Asian food. And who said Japanese is better in NY?! Pfft! Nikei [ethnic Japanese Americans] have lived in Seattle for over 100 years! Please! We have some of the best Japanese food in the US.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: feedbag

                            Not sure which Japanese restaurants in Seattle you would consider as among the best in the US, or better than NY... I wish i could agree with you. (unless you include Vancouver, then i might agree as far as Japanese and other Asian food are concerned)

                            1. re: barleywino

                              Maneki has the distinction of being the oldest Japanese Restaurant in Seattle. Plus, they recently received recognition from the James Beard Institute. Shamefully, I have not been there yet… and I live mere blocks away.


                              1. re: phinious

                                i have been there...definitely a sentimental favorite and cultural icon but foodwise it's not particularly exceptional imo (ymmv)

                                1. re: barleywino

                                  I like Maneki...any place that old deserves respect and the place has decent quality with some of the appetizer items and value sushi.

                                  That being said, its tough to match NYC's Japanese scene depth, which includes the East village izakaya and specialty places, Tokyo-based ramen shops (esp. if you include the Mitsuwa marketplace across the hudson in Edgewater) and superlative high end places that are the most expensive meals in the city (which I have not tried).

                                  But, I maintain that mid-range sushi quality in SEA is way better than NYC.

                                  Vancouver's scene is also crazy good...let's hope for a Guu outlet in SEA.

                          2. #9: Borracchini's Bakery in Rainier Valley (http://www.nowcake.com/) has great cakes (or, at least, did as of 10-ish years ago for sure), My mother used to get my birthday cake there every year when I was a kid.

                            For many of the others, the recommendation to try Pike Place is definitely a good one, but NE Clam Chowder and Lobster Rolls are things that Northwesterners seem to leave to New England.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: luckyducky

                              Can't offer advice on much here, but try Simply Desserts in Fremont. They bake the best cake I have found here. Think rich, moist, homemade style cake here. Love this place!

                              Remo Boracchini's? I think you must need to have grown up on this stuff to appreciate it. I am a transplant and have given them a few tries, but just hated everything I tasted. Bland cakes with canned fillings. No thanks!

                            2. Snoose Junction: Awesome Pizza even though they charge for tobasco sauce

                              Pagliacci Pizza - someone was talking about "east coast" pizza and you can get good stuff on the west coast - my buddy was in from New York and he asked "I wish they had a Pagliacci's in New York - they don't make pizza this good there"

                              So THERE East Coast....

                              1. Ha, pretty much forget anything you miss from the East Coast. That's what visits back to the East Coast are for, plus some good friends who do kind things occasionally, like my friend who brought me bagels, cream cheese, nova and whitefish from his last visit to New York.

                                As much as I bemoan the lack of whitefish around here, next time you're down at the Portland farmers' market, there are some smoked fish guys who do a pretty great job on sable and a few other fatty fishes. Closest thing I've found.

                                Forget about the bagels.

                                Guy at the Pike Place Market has the best version of deli, but it's still not like the east coast. There are many threads on this board about him, so no need to create another.


                                1. Miss my New York food......

                                  #2 Hands down best east coast style bagels in town at the Bagel Deli on 15th, in Capitol Hill.

                                  #4 Personally I think Piecorra's, also on Cap. Hill has the best Pizza in Seattle.

                                  There used to ba a great Knish place as well, but the left, I think for Portland.

                                  Happy tasting.