Let’s be clear about something: Northern Californians can be extremely snobby about our food. We live in one of the dreamiest climates in the world, which means we can grow just about anything here. We have cattle ranches, and rivers and streams to grab salmon by the boat full, and lest we forget, we’re nestled up against the Pacific Ocean. We are pretty awesome, but there are still a few dishes from around these parts that shout “Northern California” to the world. Here’s a few that come to mind for us:
1. Cioppino's Fish Stew
This delicacy was born in San Francisco. Created and served at Cioppino's restaurant on The Wharf, it's a classic that's known around here.
2. Clam Chowder in a Sour Dough Bread Bowl
I'm pretty sure there's nothing better than this. Hot clam chowder with chunks of potatoes and clams poured inside a warm piece of round sour dough bread that's crispy on the outside and soft on the inside? Magic.
3. Craft Beer may not be a dish, BUT you need something to drink with your meal, right?
Did you know we have over 150 craft breweries in Northern California? Yep. It's a BIG thing around here. If you don't already think of Northern California when it comes to craft beer then you should.
4. Jelly Bellies
This is what a "dish" kind of meal looks like to a 3 year old. Did you know Jelly Bellies are made in the Sacramento area? Yep, they sure are. AND...not only can you take a tour of the plant, but the candies that don't come out perfectly are called "belly flops" and can be purchased there!
5. Garlic Fries
Made famous at the Giants Stadium and we couldn't be happier. Well, that is, those of us who consume them couldn't be happier. Those who don't partake in these gems will be in hell having to smell us for a few days.
Guacamole? Actually, no. We're pretty sure a few other places in the world lay claim to guacamole - but AVOCADOS? Yeah, now we're talking. There can't be THiS DISH without our dark green friend. Those delicious pieces of fruit make their home in these parts and we're grateful for them. Thank you for being delicious, avocado.
7. Crab & Artichoke Dip
The capital of the artichoke kingdom lies in the Watsonville area...and we're very grateful for that. Crabs and artichokes are to appetizers what chocolate and peanut butter are to a dessert tray. Now, add a warm, chewy piece of sour dough bread and we're in love. Every Super Bowl gathering has us to thank. You're welcome, America!
8. Can you say Norcal?
This dish is the perfect appetizer before your main course. An olive tray speaks volumes about our part of the state. We grow an incredible amount of olives over here. Plus, the hummus is a great way to be included with your vegan friends. They pair up pretty nicely, eh?
9. Salmon Dinner
Northern California is where most of our salmon comes from that you see in our restaurants. This buttery, flaky fish from our rivers is one of the tastiest and best-for-you fish around.
10. Dessert follows every good dish. It's science.
When you think of a dessert to follow your Norcal dish, what makes you salivate? A Ghirradelli chocolate black and tan sundae is my answer. Oh, and check out the chocolate square added as a little dessert-bling. Oh, yeah, thank you for living in our neck of the woods, Ghirradelli. We love you.
We corner the market in dishes to die for. Which ones are your favorite? Did we miss any?