I’ve talked about trying to find Cabot cheese (here) in the PNW. I’ve talked about some brands that you can easily find both in the PNW and in the Northeast, but that they might not be what you expect (here). What else do I miss? And what have I found to replace the delicious things I used to eat?
I miss cheesesteaks. In the Northeast, you can get a nice cheesesteak almost anywhere, without a problem. Here in the PNW, it’s a bit more of a problem. It’s interesting – Boston and NYC have so many Italians, that italian food is just second nature. Out here, it’s a little more difficult to find. And, yes, cheesesteaks aren’t really italian food – but that’s usually where you can find them (other than the big name staples like Pat’s or Geno’s). A friend took me to Tat’s in Pioneer Square, and they are definitely super close to the real thing. The bread is just right (which is sometimes the hard part), and the meat and cheese are darn close.
I miss tastykakes. This is pretty much a Pennsylvania-only thing. They have slowly worked their way to MA and NY and MD here and there, but PA is really the place for them. Tastykakes are kinda like Little Debbie cakes, but so much better.
I miss Friendly’s, Bertucci’s, and Uno’s. Friendly’s is a sandwich and ice cream shop that started in MA and has about a dozen restaurants around the state. Bertucci’s and Uno’s are italian chain restaurants – but don’t let the fact that they’re a chain dissuade you. They’re tasty as heck. If you are ever in the Northeast US, you must go.
But, alas, while I miss these brands, I must eat on. I am so brave, aren’t I? So what have I found in the PNW that I would miss if I left?
Jimmy John’s. Yeah, you can laugh at me. It’s just a sandwich shop whose marketing is that they make/deliver sandwiches super fast. But the bread is fresh baked, the meat and cheeses are fresh sliced, and I’ve never yet eaten a bad tomato slice there. You know what I’m talking about – you buy a sandwich, and the tomato slice is all gushy and nasty, so you have to pull it out. These tomato slices (and sandwiches) are good, every time.
Wayward Coffeehouse. There is a secret that you learn, once you’ve been in the PNW for a little while. Sure, Starbucks is from here and has taken over the country. Sure, if you didn’t like Starbucks you could go to Tully’s or get some Seattle’s Best. However – the secret is – real PNW people don’t go to any of those. Real PNW people have their own local even more hippy and hipster coffeeshops than the well-known brands. These are places that only locals know and love. So while it’s true that Seattleites love their coffee, they love it from places you’ve never heard of, man. When I worked near the Space Needle, Citizen was my place for good coffee. At home in North Seattle, Wayward Coffeehouse is my choice. Sure, I could go to Starbucks, and I sometimes do. But Wayward is so much better. Yes, I have drunk the (coffee) koolaid.
The Keg Steakhouse. When I want to celebrate something big, and spend more money than I should, The Keg is there for me. I honestly don’t have very high standards when it comes to food. I’m perfectly at home going to Outback Steakhouse. But the Keg is just so much better. The appetizers, the steaks, the service. I’m hungry now. And yes, this sounds like a commercial. But you go there and try it, and then try and tell me it wasn’t amazing.
Lot #3 in Bellevue. Wonderful breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and a great late night menu. We moved out of Bellevue and into Seattle, so we don’t go here as often anymore, but it’s still wonderful.
And speaking of breakfast, if you haven’t gone to Chace’s Pancake Corral in Bellevue, you are missing out. Yes, it sounds cheesy, but it’s wonderful. Down home cooking with down home waitstaff.
I haven’t found a replacement for Tastykakes yet, but the plethora of frozen yogurt places in the area is wonderful. Yogurtland, for example, is priced by weight – so you can get as little (or as much) as you want, and only pay for what you took.
Old School custard, in Cap Hill and Fremont, has wonderful frozen custard. It’s different than ice cream, but pretty darn close. We used to go to a custard place in PA, and Old School here makes it the exact same way. It’s better than frozen yogurt, trust me. And if you go to the Fremont one, and want to really make a night of it, go to Pie and get a little pie to go along with your custard.
Now I’m really hungry, so I’m gonna go contemplate a trip to Fremont for pie and custard. So while I can’t have my Tastykakes and Friendly’s ice cream, my sweet tooth isn’t complaining too much.