My husband and I have lived in the Pacific Northwest for over seven years now, and we love the area. The evergreen trees, glorious Puget Sound, and Mount Rainier sitting on the horizon like a giant baked Alaska - all are absolutely beautiful. We enjoy the local seafood too - salmon, oysters, halibut, ling cod. But there are a few things I've been craving from our years in Miami.
Pumpernickel and Egg Bagels
Miami (specifically Miami Beach) has sometimes been called the sixth borough of New York City, mainly because so many New Yorkers have migrated there. When they came, they brought bagels with them. Yes, we have bagels in the Seattle area, but I've searched high and low and have yet to find either a pumpernickel or egg bagel. (FYI: A plain bagel is not the same as an egg bagel.) I've found blueberry, chocolate chip, jalapeno, and orange cranberry (gag) flavors, but those just don't stand up to lox, cream cheese, and a sprinkling of capers the way a pumpernickel bagel does.
Moro Rice and Fried Plantains
Thank you, Cubans! Every couple of weeks I'd eat at a fast food chain that offered darned good moro rice (black beans, sausage, seasonings, mixed with steamed rice) and fried plantains. (Pause here to drool.) Never mind the calories or cholesterol. It was worth it.
On the way to the Everglades, not too far from Florida City, there's a fruit stand named Robert Is Here. (Long story about the name. Google it if you're curious.) Not only do they have almost any kind of tropical fruit you could want - and some you may never have heard of, including mamey, sapote, and atemoya - they also make the most delicious fresh fruit milkshakes ever imagined. Believe me, a thick fresh peach milkshake can turn a hellishly hot South Florida day into heaven.
I do love the Pacific Northwest's delicious blueberries, marionberries, and Rainier cherries, and Washington state wines are hard to beat. And I'm not saying I want to move back to the lightning capital of the U.S. or face the heat or threat of hurricanes every summer. But a nice dish of arroz con pollo followed by flan for dessert ... ooooh, I can almost taste them. Maybe it's time to cash in some of those airline miles and make a run south.