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Seattle specialties

I'm coming to Seattle for the first time in April and I'd like to know if there are any local specialties or food traditions I shouldn't miss... preferably something I wouldn't find at home. I live in San Francisco so there may be a lot of similarities between the food traditions (west coast seafood, dim sum, coffee scene, etc). Is there anything that's unique to Seattle that I should seek out? Anything from full meals to snacks...

Sorry if this is a typical question, I couldn't find any other posts on it. I'll be staying downtown without a car if that makes a difference.

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    1. Here's a previous thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/801310

      I'd say being locally sourced is a local specialty, but a lot of what grows and swims around here can also thrive in the Bay Area, so there will probably be quite a bit of overlap. I don't remember seeing fiddlehead ferns in CA, and we have a greater variety of wild mushrooms off the top of my head...

      1. The infamous Seattle dog (cream cheese & sriricha)?

        5 Replies
        1. re: pusherman

          Still haven't tried one of these... curious though! Anybody here a fan?

          1. re: peppermint_sky

            The Unicorn's corn-doggy version is fantastic.

          2. re: pusherman

            Grilled onions, not sriracha!
            I like spicy mustard with mine too.

            1. re: pusherman

              Is this like a snipe hunt put on by the Chamber of Commerce?

              1. re: mrnelso

                It exists. It's a tad difficult to find. Your best bet is to go to one of the club districts (cap hill, pioneer square, ballard, belltwon) thur-sun), to one of the hot dog stands. Alternatively, they have it at Cafe Racer.

                There is a burger inspired by the Seattle dog at Sam's Tavern on cap hill.

                1. re: mrnelso

                  ...but since the OP is from San Francisco, he's already seen a bit of that.

                  1. re: MsMaryMc

                    Seattle specialty - Teriyaki (needs a thread here)

                    1. re: mrnelso

                      When the big event happens, the only survivors will be cockroaches and Seattle Teriyaki restaurants....

                      1. re: mrnelso

                        seems like seattle has a teriyaki joint on every block. but the trick is to find the reeally good ones. i was at oh chocolate in queen anne (very good) and needed lunch. they pointed me to a nearby place and the teriyaki was great. i would think they all would be similar but this was unusually good, i still remember it, though i forget the name of the place.

                2. What about salmon? Or is that more of an Alaska thing?

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: thecreepingkid

                    Salmon is too common from Alaka to California to be considered a Seattle specialty.

                    1. re: GH1618

                      I have to respectfully disagree with this comment.
                      Seattle is known for it's remarkable seafood. Having been born and raised in Seattle and now residing in LA I have yet to find a restaurant that can duplicate the way restaurants in Seattle can prepare a simple piece of beautiful King Salmon.
                      Nevermind the fishmongers in Seattle...they're the best.
                      Thecreepingkid...you're staying in downtown Seattle. Visit DeLaurenti's in the Pike Place Market. You will find food items here you won't find anywhere else. It's a family run business that's been around for decades and you won't be disappointed.
                      Another wonderful addition to Seattle, in the same area, is Beecher's cheese. The owner is a Seattleite who learned the art of cheese making and the has , without a doubt, the best grilled cheese I've ever tasted to compliment his renowned tomato soup. Tremendous.
                      My all time favorite is The Metropolitan Grill downtown. The owner has his own lot of cattle and the ribeye is the best I've ever tasted... in my opinion. The vast selection of oysters offered at this restaurant is impressive. Nobody should visit Seattle without a night of local oysters on the half shell and a bottle of scotch.
                      I hope your visit to Seattle is a good one. The culinary diversity is awesome.

                    2. re: thecreepingkid

                      Salmon is very much a Seattle thing! And I think that April will land you towards the end of the Chinook fishing season.

                      1. re: thecreepingkid

                        If you want your salmon to say "Seattle!", find a place that grills it on an alder or cedar plank.

                        1. re: lavaca

                          I would hit Ivar's salmon house for this; they have an alder wood grill, and beats the whole tourist shmere of Tillicum Village. Not that Ivar's isn't a bit touristy-seeming too, but in winter I think it is more of a local's spot. Not a really CH-ey spot, but very 'Seattle/ NW indian vibe - nice tribal art on the walls and cedar panneling inside. If you get a window seat, it has a nice view of the Lake Union boat traffic too.
                          If you go early, you can do happy hour too, which is a pretty good deal. Check out thier website.