Regional Flavors of the Pacific Northwest

Seattle is a food lover's city, and enjoys easy access to an incredible bounty of foods from land and sea, from wild Dungeness crab and line-caught halibut to foraged stinging nettles and brightly colored apples. Many Seattleites tend kitchen gardens, hunt and fish, trap crabs, dig clams, harvest berries in season, and cross the mountains to pick fruit in the Wenatchee and Yakima valleys.

Gathering fresh foods at the source has honed local palates: Seattleites know—by taste, smell, and touch—when foods are fresh and at their peak. Wild salmon, in particular, has played an important role in local cuisine, as have halibut, oysters, Dungeness crab, prawns, mussels, scallops, geoduck and razor clams, as well as blackberries, huckleberries, fiddlehead ferns, chanterelle and morel mushrooms, and wild greens.

It is an absolute passion of Seattle's chefs to find and use organic ingredients from local farms, orchards, and dairies. (Some even grow their own produce on rooftop gardens or large-scale farms.) Asparagus, tomatoes, and hot peppers arrive from Yakima Valley; sweet onions from Walla Walla; apricots and pears from Wenatchee; apples from Lake Chelan and beyond. Lamb and beef come from dryland pastures, while clams and oysters are harvested from tidal flats in Samish Bay, the Hood Canal, Totten Inlet, and Willapa Bay. Pike Place Market and local farmers' markets are major meeting places for high-quality ingredients from across the state.

Local chefs' obsession with the freshest seasonal ingredients may make it difficult to get the same dish twice—especially at top-notch restaurants, where menus usually change seasonally, if not daily. No Northwest meal is complete, of course, without a bottle of wine from a regional winery, ale from a local microbrewery, or cocktail featuring a locally distilled spirit.

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