I have a deadline on a new book: June 16, if I remember correctly. I should be working. All the time. Even authors need a few hours off once in a while, so I was chatting with a guy in my Twitter timeline late last night about my hometown and food. He asked me if I thought Seattle had a “cuisine” all its own.
Other areas of the country are known for a certain type of food. New York City has pizza. So does Chicago. (I’m lucky enough to have tried both; they’re delicious!) Philly has cheesesteaks. Kansas City and Texas have barbecue. The guy’s question brought on a long 140-character discussion. I responded with “seafood”, and he wrote, “But what do the working people eat?”
My books are set in Seattle. I’ve been here my whole life, and I was stumped. There’s seafood, but there’s seafood in many areas of the country. What makes it special here, besides being freshly caught? We have wine and coffee, which isn’t food but is pretty darn popular. (The city closest to where I live, Woodinville, boasts over 100 wineries at this point. Some of you might have heard of a little coffee concern called Starbucks…)
If you worked in the Seattle area, you might find Asian food, Cuban sandwiches, pho, Ethiopian food and Greek food in a block. If you visit Ballard (suburb of Seattle) you would find Scandinavian specialties. There’s pizza and Dick’s burgers and barbecue and noodle shops. There are nationally famous food trucks here, featuring a variety of cuisines. (My favorite: A Mexican food truck in Fremont that offers a “passport dinner” — you have to show your passport to get their extra-special plate.) I’m horribly biased — I realize there’s a big selection of food everywhere in the country, but people here eat and enjoy a huge selection of national and international foods every day. Seattle’s food has a big Asian/Native American influence, too. (Be sure and order fresh salmon grilled on a cedar plank, for example.)
I hope I can highlight some of the diversity of Seattle and its food in my work. So far, though, Bellevue’s Burgermaster has ended up in all three of my books. (In & Out fans, we’ll see you and raise you!) No matter who you are or where you’re from, there’s nothing that hits the spot more sometimes than a burger and a (handmade) shake.
What’s the cuisine where you’re from? What’s your favorite dish (or restaurant!) to share with out-of-town family and friends?