If You Love These Strange Foods, You’re a NorCal Person

From the foggy coasts to the sprawling vineyards, Northern California is a place of beauty, innovation, and, yes, some decidedly unique culinary choices. If you’ve got a penchant for the offbeat, the tasty, and the downright bizarre, you might just be a NorCal person at heart. Dive in and see if your palate matches the NorCal spirit!

Garlic Ice Cream

If you’ve ever been to Gilroy, the Garlic Capital of the World, you’ll know this peculiar dessert. It’s a mix of creamy, sweet, and that undeniable hint of garlic. A NorCal treasure for the brave.

Dungeness Crab Pizza

The Dungeness crab is cherished, especially around San Francisco. But atop a pizza? It’s a NorCal twist many can’t resist. Fresh crab, tangy tomato sauce, and melted cheese come together in a mouthwatering medley.

Artichoke Bread

Pescadero’s Arcangeli Grocery Company is behind this unique creation. Imagine locally grown artichokes infused into a fluffy, warm loaf. Toasted with butter, it’s a revelation.

Sourdough Everything

Sourdough bread is just the beginning. In NorCal, we’ve got sourdough pancakes, sourdough pizza crusts, and even sourdough bagels. It’s a tangy treat that transcends form.

Olallieberry Pie

When berry season graces NorCal, olallieberries are the stars of the show. A slice of olallieberry pie is a taste of the region’s lush, fruitful landscapes.

Stinging Nettle Pizza

Sounds adventurous? It is! Some NorCal pizzerias top their pies with stinging nettles. Once safely prepared, they impart an unmatched, earthy flavor.

Seaweed Snacks

Harvested from the pristine NorCal coastlines, seaweed isn’t just for wrapping sushi. Toasted and seasoned, it’s a snack that locals swear by.


Dive into the Mendocino coast’s offering of this marine mollusk. Prepared right, it’s a gastronomic journey — tender, buttery, and distinctly NorCal.

Acorn Pancakes

Echoing indigenous traditions, acorn flour pancakes are not just a dish, but a nod to the rich heritage of the land.


While not a food, in San Francisco, sipping on this bitter spirit is a rite of passage. A cherished local tradition, it encapsulates the city’s eclectic tastes.

In the ever-evolving culinary landscape of Northern California, embracing the strange is par for the course. If these delights tickle your fancy, you’re not just a food lover — you’re a NorCal person through and through!

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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