After a whirlwind two days of moving and driving, moving and driving all over the New England region, I took a long flight across the country to see Ryan in Seattle! Seattle is a booming environment for fresh and local cuisine, and I couldn’t wait to run off the plane and explore while I was waiting for Ryan’s late night arrival. I was able to enjoy a beautiful sunny day walking around Pike Place Market, the Garden of Eden for foodies like myself. There’s more than a little of everything to satisfy your palate, be it fresh fish and seafood, locally made cheeses and wines, colorful produce, or the smells of a bakery from a block away. I’ll take you through the market, highlighting the best ways to enjoy it as a tourist.
Pike Place Market is located on the waterfront in downtown Seattle. It’s been running seven days a week, 362 days per year, since 1906. Local vendors line the streets for an intoxicating and nearly overwhelming food experience. One of the first things you’ll see is the seafood vendors, located front and center, selling a bounty of local fish. Seattle is home to delicacies like Dungeness Crab, clams, mussels, tuna, salmon, shrimp, and oysters. All of the fish is on display over ice for customers to choose from. As a tourist, this is probably the hardest part to bypass for lack of a kitchen. My suggestion for best enjoying the seafood at the market is to buy the items you can eat right away; freshly shucked oysters, smoked salmon, clam chowder, shrimp cocktail, and sometimes even steamed and smashed crab legs. Ask the fish mongers what they have to eat on site! There are delicious seafood chowders and stews that aren’t advertised very well. You can stop at a cheese shop and bakery for bread and cheese and have the perfect French (and Seattle) picnic by the water.
Not in the mood for seafood? No problem. I suggest walking around the market in the early morning. I went there this morning on a run and it’s pretty cool to see such a thriving atmosphere during the quite chill of the morning. It felt like I had the whole place to myself and could actually enjoy the process that it takes to get so many vendors in one place. You can start your day with a Starbucks coffee from the first established Starbucks! It’s been there since 1912 and is iconic to Seattle. If you need a little something more there are a few restaurants open for breakfast as well, serving up hearty fare to ease the windy chill off your bones.
For late risers looking for lunch and dinner, there are dozens of restaurants lining the waterfront and surrounding blocks. Everything from traditional delis to a surprising amount of Middle Eastern restaurants; Thailand, India, and Russia are also represented for a full ethnic mix. There are quite a few Seattle “seafood pubs” (if you will) serving locally made beers and traditional seafood dishes. Fried fish and chips, clam and seafood chowders, and shrimp can be found on nearly every menu. My latest craze is for oysters, which I know is a stretch for the unadventurous. I’ve only ever eaten them in Seattle and Portland, Maine (I’m spoiled) and they are so fresh and delicious. Look for the little restaurants tucked back behind the posh ones; they are less expensive, filled with locals, and to me create a more authentic experience.
If you’re sweet tooth it taking over, head to Peroshky Peroshky for traditional Russian pastries. We tried the apple cinnamon and chocolate hazelnut pastries the morning and were not disappointed. Homemade ice cream, French pastries, chocolate covered cherries (with local cherries!), and other artisan products are on nearly every block. If you want to share the joys of your trip with your loved ones, there are terrific foodie gifts to bring home as well. Flavored oils, pepper wreaths, homemade chocolates, jams, and honey, and local wines all make great gifts. You can also buy locally roasted coffee (go somewhere OTHER than Starbucks) and create the perfect basket of goodies.
That’s about all from Pike Place! I hope you got a little taste of what Seattle’s treasured market has to offer. I’ll be back later in the week to talk about our favorite restaurants, other fun activities in Seattle, and of course Safeco Field- home of the Seattle Mariners- for another check off my Baseball Bucket List.