A couple of weeks ago, I left Virginia and journeyed back to my first home, the Pacific Northwest.  Like visiting my friends and family, I also like to visit all my old favorite foods and, because I’m a curious gal, I always find time to seek out what’s new while I’m there.  What follows is the first of two posts on what I consider to be the best of the Seattle foods that I had on my recent trip.  First up, my old favorites.

Apple Fritters at Three Girls Bakery

This apple fritter is at the top of my list of “must haves” when I go home.  What makes the Three Girls Bakery apple fritter so great?  It’s crunchy, sweet, tender, greasy, chock full of apples and tastes good inside and out.  Somehow, they manage to make it a uniform height.  There is no significant mound in the center and that results in a delicious uniformity throughout the fritter.  You think you’re only going to eat a little piece and then suddenly the whole thing is gone.  Of course, it’s also tastes like the memory of 8-year-old me huddling next to my Dad at their tiny lunch counter on a cold damp day.  They would microwave it and that first bite was almost too hot to eat…almost.

Jam from Johnson Berry Farm

There are a lot of jam’s out there and although I appreciate a good jam, I find that one artisan preserve is pretty much like another.  I have, however, found exceptions to this from time to time and Johnson Berry Farm jam falls firmly in the exceptional category.  The Johnson Berry people grow all their own berries organically and then produce their outstanding, and sometimes unusual, jams in small batches.  This results in a bright flavor that tastes strongly of the berries inside.  They sell at the Pike Place Market, so while I was there I picked up Tayberry (a cross between a loganberry and a black raspberry from Scotland), Golden Raspberry and Strawberry Rhubarb.  This is too good for the kids.  Mine…all mine!

Fran’s Chocolates Retail Location at the Four Seasons

I’ve been eating Fran’s Chocolate bars since I was a kid.  Now that I’m all grown up, what a luxury it was to walk into the Four Seasons to sample her creations.  You may call me crazy, but I think buying from the Four Seasons store is a pretty good deal.  First, they are generous with the samples.  Second, they stuff the box as full as it will go for the advertised price.  Third, you don’t have to pay shipping.  Besides, my personal philosophy is it’s OK if excellent chocolate is expensive because a little bit is satisfying.

Danish Pastry from John Neilsen’s

My family and John Neilsen’s pastry go back as far as I can remember.  His shop used to be located downtown, a stark little establishment with florescent lights and linoleum floors on a sketchy street.  But you looked past all of that because the pastries were phenomenal.  As a child, John Neilsen was a large friendly presence with powerful arms, a big smile and a generous spirit.  He doesn’t run the business anymore, but the pastries are just as good as I remember.  What’s in this box?  Snitters, Kringles, Sara Bernhardts and Potatoes.  Don’t know what those things are?  You pretty much need to fly to Seattle to find out.

That’s it for now.  Reading back over this, I sense a theme.  These are all desserts.  Oh well, know yourself, that’s what I say. I know that I am a sugar-junkie, are you?

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