The road from Dallas to Seattle winds through loose-meat country--at least if you're detouring to Laura Ingalls' homestead.
The common way to measure a road


Hi, I'm Hanna Raskin, and I'll Be Your Food Critic

The road from Dallas to Seattle winds through loose-meat country--at least if you're detouring to Laura Ingalls' homestead.
The common way to measure a road trip, according to the guy who just compiled my tax returns, is in miles. But since food writers aren't much for counting--which may be why most restaurant star-rating systems max out at five--we professional eaters have our own way of tallying the ground we cover.

My journey from Dallas to Seattle was two burnt-end sandwiches-, one platter of Stroud's fried chicken-, one loose-meat sandwich-, one strip steak-, three slices of pie-, one Special M dinner at Butte's century-old Pekin Noodle Parlor-, two elk sausages-, and one stack of huckleberry pancakes-long. I'm pretty sure my ceaseless consumption shamed my husband's Prius, which didn't require half as many refueling stops as I did.

Yet after all those many meals, I've still managed to show up hungry for my new assignment. I start as Seattle Weekly's new food critic today, and can't wait to start eating. It's an honor to have the opportunity to explore the city's vibrant food scene, and to share my findings with you.

While I'm ready for the culinary adventuring to commence, etiquette probably demands I introduce myself first. I became a food writer on the advice of a maritime museum director who refused to hire me to curate her institution's collection of bullion and other salvaged treasures. She sensed that, despite my graduate degree in museum studies, I had no interest in wearing white linen gloves and painstakingly inscribing china with teeny-tiny accession numbers. What really excited me was the food-history topic I'd chosen as the topic of my thesis: The relationship between Jews and Chinese food.

"Why don't you just focus on culinary history?", my non-employer asked. So I did. Since I'd worked as a reporter before enrolling in grad school--and spent more than a decade waitressing--I was able to land my first food-writing job without too much trouble. I spent five years as the food editor at the alt-weekly in Asheville, N.C. before joining Village Voice Media as the Dallas Observer's food critic.

I arrived in Seattle last Friday, having never before visited the city. So it's far too soon for me to be making grand pronouncements about what Seattle is or isn't. But the city strikes me as very different from Dallas, where there are so few bike commuters we could all get together for breakfast (and did, once a month). Still, I believe much of what I strove to do down in Texas will be equally applicable here. I look forward to sussing out the region's best food and drink, and uncovering the stories of the people behind them. I hope to help provide the context and analysis the city's food community deserves, and to continue to build upon Voracious' position as Seattle's leading source of food news.

But what matters most is what you want. You know this blog. You know this city. I'm eager to hear what you think Voracious needs. And I hope our conversation won't end when comments to this post peter out: Please feel free to contact me anytime at

Let's eat.

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