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What do we have in the Northwest that you can't get in other parts of the US?

  • gmm Nov 21, 2009 02:50 AM
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It seems like I often come across things that are pretty popular in other parts of the country that you can't find here in the Northwest, i.e. snack foods, cereals, beverages. What do we have around here that's commonplace that can't be found in other parts of the country?

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  1. Penn Cove Mussels, A Walla Walla Sweet onion and of courde a Beths Cafe 12 egg Omlet

    1 Reply
    1. re: hickdolphin

      Overly tattooed women?

      Just kidding. Oregon Truffles and some of the best growing conditions ever! I also love the tomatoes here!!!

    2. Fresh Huckleberries

      Salmonberries

      Oregon Truffles

      Olympia Oysters

      Just caught Wild Salmon

      Chum Salmon

      Snake River Farms Wagyu Beef – not really common, but is indigenous to us.

      Cyrus O’Leary’s Pies

      Ozette Potatoes

      Geoduck Clams

      Nettles and people/restaurants that cook with them.

      12 Replies
      1. re: RetiredChef

        Good list. I think the variety of local berries--tayberries, boysenberries, plus the different varieties of strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc, are pretty unique.
        Tim's Chips? Jones Soda? Tillamook Cheese?

        1. re: christy319

          Razor clams
          Several dozen varieties of heirloom apples
          Columbia River sturgeon
          Lots of wild mushroom choices

          1. re: christy319

            Jones soda and Tillamook can be had all over, I believe. They're available here in Michigan

            As a frequent visitor to WA, I agree that Tim's Cascades Chips are a treat we can only get there.

            Uncle Dan's dill dressing is a must buy to bring back with us.

            Penn Cove mussels

            Breadfarm potato bread

            Dungeness can be found here but is much better in WA

          2. re: RetiredChef

            Sorry, Oregon truffles suck -- they taste nothing like the real deal. And nettles are prevalent throughout the country, not an Oregon-only product.

            1. re: pikawicca

              Actually, I disagree. While I don't think Oregon truffles are on par with French/Italian truffles, I think the black ones are pretty damn good. We've been ordering four ounces every fall of the last couple of years, and have enjoyed them very much, using them in a variety of dishes.

              1. re: MMRuth

                I respect your personal taste, MM, it's just that the Oregon truffles I've tried taste nothing like the classic European ones I've had in years past, certainly not worth the high prices asked. It's also possible that they don't travel well to the Mid-West.

                1. re: pikawicca

                  I don't remember off hand what we've paid as this has been my husband's baby. We've ordered from this company:

                  http://www.oregonwildedibles.com/page...

                  They send us the truffles to Manhattan and we send them a check. They come with very detailed instructions about how to store the truffles, how to identify when they are ready to eat, etc., and are very forthright about how these truffles differ from European ones. The first year, we got both the white and the black (8 oz - I was pretty much truffled out after a couple of months), and I do think the black are a lot better than the white. I've used them in Beef Wellington, truffle butter, various pasta dishes with truffles, etc. Can't speak to how well they travel, as we get them sent overnight, and then are v. careful about storing them, though I usually put them in jars and they come with me down to North Carolina for Christmas, and whatever is left makes the journey back home as well. I've never bought Oregon truffles locally.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    Thanks for the details, MM, I'll give them another try.

                    1. re: pikawicca

                      It helps to think of Oregon truffles as their own deal, not compare them to a product produced 5000 miles away!? Do you compare Italian tuna with Japanese tuna? No, because they are their own distinct product, and awesome for their own reasons.
                      That being said, I think good PNW truffles have a much mellower, sometimes easy to pair with food, flavor.

                  2. re: pikawicca

                    They aren't going to taste like European truffles. Not the same species or habitat, fer goodness sake. They should be enjoyed for their own sake. I like them.

                    1. re: Vetter

                      I don't.

                2. re: pikawicca

                  You missed the intent of my comment:

                  Nettles ARE found throughout the US and the world, but what is different is what I said:

                  >>>Nettles "AND" people/restaurants that cook with them.<<<

                  In 55+ years of dining I have seen nettles served in four different restaurants

                  Three in WA State and one in Europe.

                  Maybe I've just missed all of the restaurants throughout the US and the rest of the world that have it on their menu. Or maybe it's just a peculiarity to NW cuisine to actually utilize nettles in dishes.

              2. Oregon filberts.
                Burgerville.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Leonardo

                  New Seasons.
                  Clearwater Cranberries.
                  NW Cheese Project.
                  Country Natural Beef
                  Carmen Beef.
                  Painted Hills Beef.
                  Oregon Pinot Noir.
                  Bob's Red Mill.
                  Tofurky.
                  Columbia Gorge Organics.
                  Dave's Killer Bread.
                  Pacific Natural Foods.
                  Craft beers.
                  Nancy's.
                  Dungeness Crab.
                  Stumptown Coffee.
                  DragonFly Chai.
                  YoCream.
                  Dagoba.

                  1. re: Cosby

                    Nice list but a lot of that is national. Bob's in in all fifty states or close, for example, as is our pinot noir and many beers.

                2. Szechuan Dungenous Crab.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Leper

                    Word. Preach it brother.

                    1. re: Leper

                      Where is the Szechuan Dungenous Crab? I'd love to try it.

                      1. re: 2fat2bfit

                        My favorite place is 7 Stars Szechuan (Sichuan?) in the iD.

                    2. spud bars

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bbqboy

                        And Mountain Bars.

                      2. Stubby butter quarters that don't fit butter dishes. Seriously, we moved here from the midwest a year ago and our butter dishes won't work. Plus, there are no locally available butter dishes unless they are way over-sized giant things, much too large for the task.

                        http://multivu.prnewswire.com/mnr/lan...

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: puzzler

                          The butter stick thing IS funny. Start buying good table butters like Vermont Cheese and Butter Co,, Beurre D'Isgny, etc, and none of them fit into a butter dish! But they're so good you won't care.
                          Or you can buy Land O'Lakes. That's always a long stick, even here.

                          1. re: christy319

                            Funny, my SO from Maine has mentioned repeatedly that he's never seen butter like we have here, and he's been all over the East Coast as a musician. It works OK in the butter dish we bought at Fred's, but it does need to be washed often, especially in warmer weather.

                          2. re: puzzler

                            I thought I was the only one! I had no idea that the sticks were a different size here. I always buy Tillamook butter, and I've never been able to figure out why my butter dish was made too short.

                            1. re: puzzler

                              Some of our local brands in Minnesota were also that short stubby shape (though I can't remember which ones). Hope Creamery butter was our favorite midwestern one, and it just comes in the big blocks, IIRC.

                            2. My New England in-laws always coo over the marionberry jam they can't get at home, and the quality smoked salmon.

                              Also: Dry sodas. Tons of local lavender products. Walla Walla wines (Oregon pinot is easier to find!). Tayberries. Kumamoto oysters. Locally caught and canned tuna. Hazelnuts.

                              1. Local tuna, and comice pears (the ones in the midwestern grocery stores are just sad, and Harry and David prices are ridiculous). I'm always looking for new ideas to bring back to friends and family at Christmas-- great thread!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: jules1026

                                  With the exception of a few brand names, every item mentioned here can be found elsewhere. Much of it on the other side of the world.

                                  1. re: Meatgarden

                                    Yes, most things be found elsewhere. But perhaps you need to search grocery stores far and wide, you need to order ahead of time, or they cost a fortune.

                                2. Stop gloating. You have all those great varieties of salmon at that market in Seattle--Pike's something? and those cute little peaches that remind me of dogs with squished noses. Plus omelets with oysters. and Dangerous crab... lol mebee I got the name wrong.

                                  1. adding to the other wonderful lists....PDX specific...
                                    Tabor Chech food cart, the fried muenster...
                                    Hood strawberries..I've never had such delicious berries
                                    Adelle cheese from Scio
                                    Clear Creek distillery Doug Fir eau de vie...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: cheeseisheaven

                                      In addition to the abundance of seafood, produce and local dairy that makes this such a great place to live, here are a few things i would miss if i were to move away:
                                      isernio's sausages
                                      beechers mac n cheese
                                      erins' popcorn (now owned by tims)
                                      chukar cherry products
                                      aplets and cotlets

                                    2. As a recent transplant from the Southeast, you have TONS more local, unique, foods than we did in the SE. The ones I would miss the most would be:
                                      The local green figs
                                      Salmonberries
                                      red huckleberries
                                      golden chanterelles
                                      lobster mushrooms
                                      dungeness crab
                                      geoducks
                                      Harvey's Butter Rum Batter
                                      oregon black truffles
                                      matsutake
                                      and most specifically, I would miss all the extra high quality varieties of things like Pears, Cherries, apples, and berries that you can get here. I love to go in to Tacoma Boys and buy local produce that has a sticker for a gift company on it.
                                      Other people MAIL ORDER this stuff as a gift- and I go in an buy it every week!

                                      1. Please remember we live in a globalized economy and that whatever is the very finest A-Grade item will most immediately be selected and exported to wherever the money is. Usually, this means Japan, or Dubai (though I hear even they are in a slump). Rest assured that whatever deliciosity we have here can be found in very far-away places. Ah, globalization; ain't it grand?

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: mrnelso

                                          Might not show up in Japan or Dubai as fresh and of fully equal quality as getting the product at it's source. Depends what it is.

                                          But then, I love even simple things like just-picked fresh Oregon Strawberries. Awesome.

                                        2. We have some mighty fine beers that are brewed locally and do not leave the borders.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: duck833

                                            Portland may be microbrewery capital of the world, and many if not most may not make it past the doors of the restaurant that brewed it.

                                            1. re: Oregonian2

                                              My two faves are Upright Brewing and Captured by Porsches, both of which have -->microscopic<-- distribution. This advice can be applied to any of the local beers: best to just get a growler at the brewery.

                                              And me being a booze hound, I'd try and get some of the limited release "apothecary" line from House Spirits.

                                          2. Dave's Killer Bread.

                                            1. Beecher's Flagship cheese (from Seattle): awesome sharp white cheddar-ish cheese. Spectacular with a tart apple or with Beecher's crackers.

                                              Outstanding artisan coffees and beers.

                                              Also, I have traveled extensively in the US and have lived all over and it seems to me that breakfast/brunch in the Pacific Northwest is very, very different. There is much more variety in the offerings. I have also concluded that the ubiquitous NW staple of a hash-like plate with potatoes, cheese, various veggies, meats (or not) and cheeses with eggs scrambled into or fried over easy on top is oddly missing most everywhere else in the US.

                                              1. My vote goes to Toppenish Peaches in the summer.

                                                Yum.

                                                1. Here in Oregon you can get Yumm Sauce (from Yumm Cafe!) locally at stores. Not sure about Washington, Idaho, etc... Although you CAN get it online as well...

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: enanochow

                                                    What is it?

                                                    1. re: enanochow

                                                      Oooh, thanks enanochow! I don't get down to Eugene to eat at Cafe Yumm as often as I'd like, and I love their sauce.

                                                      1. re: enanochow

                                                        What site can you buy yumm sauce from? I'm from Eugene but now I live in the bay area and I haven't been able to find it anywhere, except for when I fly up to Eugene to visit family.

                                                        1. re: TDaySpawn

                                                          It looks like you can call for it here: http://www.cafeyumm.com/shop.html And it looks like I can get it at my local health food store a few blocks away!

                                                      2. Craft beers and some excellent cheeses. Estrella and Mt. Townsend are excellent.

                                                        Also cream cheese hotdogs (yuck).

                                                        1. What about fiddleheads? A staple of Korean cuisine, they are much more prevalent in this part of the country than most of the world.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: radiofoot

                                                            They're eaten all over the U.S., I think. We got them in our CSA share when we lived in MN, and I remember eating them sometimes growing up in PA, too.

                                                            1. re: ms_curmudgeon

                                                              I know I have had them in the Carolinas...

                                                              1. re: JillO

                                                                My friend brough back some pickled fiddleheads when they were up in Vermont last year. They were delicious and so fun to eat!

                                                          2. Don't forget those teriyaki places! I really miss them. That, and Marionberry pie. Oh, and New Seasons Market. And microbreweries. And good berries.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: latte4me

                                                              YES, thank you.
                                                              Irwin's is an odd little comfy coffee-shop in Wallingford with guitars lying around the couches and tables, free Wi-Fi, good coffee (Caffe Vita) and an actual kitchen/bakery, where they do actual cooking/baking. One of their big highlight hits is Marionberry pie. Other reliables there include Marionberry scones and the loveliest blueberry muffins ever. Good for the sweet-tooth.

                                                            2. we're midwest transplants to western Washington and we are avid fans of Tillamook: the butter, the cheese, the sour cream and oh my god the ice cream. Can't get that in Cincinnati...

                                                              1. Well, having been forced to leave Washington for my job almost 10 years ago and moving all over since then, I have a keen appreciation for what the PNW has that is available nowhere else:

                                                                Red huckleberries
                                                                Little wild blackberries
                                                                Dog salmon
                                                                STURGEON (it has been overfished everywhere else and isn't available)
                                                                Red rock crabs
                                                                Duffy's pies (Aberdeen)
                                                                Tim's Cascade chips
                                                                All the teriyaki places
                                                                Ling cod in lemon dill batter from that waterfront place in Port Townsend
                                                                Three Crabs cole slaw
                                                                Rolls Royce cherries from Tacoma Boys
                                                                Really good Jo-Jos
                                                                AND THE WORLD"S BEST APPLE FRITTERS!

                                                                1. Halibut cheeks, marionberries, dungeness crabs, Willapa Bay oysters, and cherries from the roadside stands are the things I love to eat when vacationing in the PNW.

                                                                  Central Market in Houston carries frozen marionberries but they are very expensive. We can get dungeness crabs but they're just so much better when pulled out of the trap and cooked within a couple of hours like on San Juan Island. We have Gulf oysters which I like better but the Willapa Bay oysters are very good and a nice change.

                                                                  I adore the PNW and the food is not even on the top 10 reasons why I love it there.