Eating My Way Through Pike Place Market
Wow, does it feel good to be back!
It has been quite some time since my last blog post. I took a much needed break while I was finishing up grad school, planning my wedding, then adjusting to married life haha. But my last little weekend getaway reminded me how much I missed blogging and I decided it was time to come back on here =).
Last weekend, I was in Seattle with my husband, two of our good friends and some family. We had booked our trip because of a Spartan Race we signed up for: 8 miles and 25 obstacles in Washington State's terrain and crazy climate. To say the least, it was probably one of the most mentally trying events of my life lol. I am NOT used to exercising in the mud, rain and cooler temperatures. That being said, I definitely felt I earned all the indulgences consumed on this trip!
Our favorite part of Seattle was definitely Pike Place Market! Opened on August 17, 1907, it is one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers' markets in the United States.
Visiting the famous gum wall at the market
We loved seeing all of the fresh sea food, gorgeous tulips, and wide variety of produce. It was also fun to watch the vendors happily chat with customers, joke around with each other, toss fish, and share their passion behind the crafts and specialty foods they sell .
I actually purchased some tulips to take home with me on our flight, I couldn't resist!
Pike Place was an absolute highlight of our trip, and because of that, I wanted to dedicate a blog post to all the food we ate and vendors we visited.
1. Beecher's Cheese
This was our first stop at the market. If you're a fan of Mac and cheese, or cheese in general (which I'm pretty sure is everyone, amIright?????) this is a must stop ! The shop sells some of the best Mac and cheese I've ever had. The pasta is made with 15-month-aged Flagship Cheddar, chipotle and garlic powder to give it some spice. Penne is also used instead of the traditional macaroni. In addition, we actually bought a box of the cheese curds (pictured above) and a box of their garlic goat cheese to take home. The garlic goat cheese was unlike anything I had ever tasted before and was overall one of my favorite foods at Pike Place.
2. Daily Dozen Doughnut
We stopped by this stand because we were craving something sweet ...and because I LOVE maple doughnuts and was sold once I saw them in their display case. I'm glad we caved! These mini doughnuts were warm, delicious and melted in your mouth instantly. They kind of reminded me of and tasted a lot like Trish's mini donuts in San Francisco (located in Pier 39)- if you've had these, then you know what I'm talking about when I say these were bomb. My husband and I only got one each to try, but you can easily snack on a dozen or half a dozen white walking around and shopping.
3. Market Grill
We stopped by the Market Grill to share a blackened salmon sandwich. The fish itself was grilled right in front of us, served on a baguette with coleslaw and mayo. The salmon is the star of the show, not overly seasoned, made purely and simply. It is truly cooked to perfection being both super moist and flaky with no fishy taste whatsoever. This meal was the ultimate example of how quality ingredients really can make all the difference in creating an exceptional dish (no crazy, complex or complicated recipe needed). =) Quite a few people around us also got their clam chowder and raved about it- I wish we would have tried it, too!
4. The Original Starbucks
Ok, so I know this is a big tourist trap... but cmon! You can't go to Pike Place Market without checking out the first Starbucks haha. The cafe was actually much smaller than what I had anticipated, which explains the long lines. My advice would be hitting this shop up first thing in the morning to avoid all the crowds. There wasn't much of a difference in their drinks compared to their standard cafe located any place else, but they did sell specialty mugs and tumblers which made for great souvenirs. It's just an overall awesome experience sipping on a coffee from the first ever Starbucks and getting to see the evolution of the company's brand, shops and history.
5. Pike Place Chowder
Crab, Oyster and Chorizo Chowder
New England Clam Chowder
Located in a small, charming hole-in-the-wall shop on Post alley (a 2-3 min walk from the market), Pike Place Chowder is a must-stop! The soup was so creamy and delicious!!! I'm a big clam chowder fan, so my husband and I actually ordered two different flavors to share: traditional New England chowder and the crab, oyster and chorizo chowder. Both were excellent, but the traditional New England chowder is their best, in my opinion. It's incredibly flavorful and very comforting to eat on a chilly Seattle day.
6. City Fish
Fresh Salmon kabob
City fish is one of the many seafood vendors located within the market. We happened to walk by and were glancing at all the raw, fish options they had for sale when their sashimi scallops caught our eye! Jeff and I each got one. They serve the scallops raw in their shell and only add a little soy sauce. The scallops were some of the freshest I have ever had. In addition to the sashimi scallops, they also offer oyster shooters, shrimp and crab cocktails as well as poke. My best friend's boyfriend had not one, but two servings of the Poke and said it was so good.
For years, I have seen Ellenos Greek Yogurt all over social media and I couldn't help but think, can greek yogurt really be that good? I was pretty juiced to finally try this brand and see if it really lived up to all the hype. I have to admit, it ended up being one of my absolute favorite foods from the market, and I'm generally not that big of a yogurt fan. I was in Greece last summer for a family member's wedding and I did actually enjoy their yogurt. This has got to be the closest, most authentic version I have tasted in the states. I got the marionberry flavor with pie crumbs and it was to die for. I also tried the maracuja (passionfruit) flavor but it was a bit too tart for me. I regret not having this yogurt more than once. I would love to go back one day just to try their mango, lemon curd and pumpkin pie flavors.
8. Le Panier Bakery
Le Panier is a bakery located right across the street from the market. You really can't miss it because of how incredible the aroma is of all the baked goods. We stopped here one of our mornings in Seattle to grab a small bite and have some coffee. They have a large variety of French pastries; I ended up going with the almond croissant and Jeff picked up a piece of the baguette with jam and butter. WOW! My almond croissant was so buttery and fresh ! It was definitely love at first bite. The baguette was also spectacular, and in my opinion, did not need any spread to enjoy it. We shared a cappuccino, which to my surprise, was one of the best I had in the city. Lastly, the service is just topnotch! Each worker was incredibly friendly, engaging and seemed to genuinely enjoy his/her job- an attitude that was easily contagious and made for a great start to our morning !
9. Tiny's Organic Apple Cider
Ok, so I'm not really much of a cider lover, but Jeff had mentioned that the apple cider was kind of a big deal at the market so I knew I had to taste it while here. Not gonna lie, the rainy and cold weather also made it ideal to share a warm cup. This cider was soooo good. (I know at this point you might be getting tired of me repeating myself saying all this food is delicious lol , but clearly there's a reason why this market is so renowned ). The cider was fruity yet smooth, without being overly sweet. It was such an enjoyable drink, I took it down within minutes!
10. Ghost Alley Espresso
If you are a latte lover, then you HAVE to stop here. It is quite literally a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop located directly across from the gum wall. They have a large variety of drinks that they offer, but are famous for their specialty lattes and syrups made in house (some signature drinks include the salted caramel latte, turmeric and white pepper mocha, and their mystery mocha) . I got the coconut flavored latte , a recommendation from the barista, and it was very good. It kind of reminded me of Hippie Brew's Rick Ross drink (if you're an east bay native, you know what I'm talking about =) ). The shop itself is quite small, and is best visited for grab and go coffee. They also serve cortado and Cubano drinks, ideal if your a Cuban coffee lover. For the non-latte drinker, they have flat whites, cold brew, cappuccinos and americanos.
11. Pike Place Fish Co.
This is where the iconic fish throwing is done!
It's a tradition for the fishmongers to throw fish that customers have purchased, before they are wrapped. We were lucky enough to catch a "show" and it was awesome to watch. Aside from the fish throwing, the customer service was really what captured my attention from this vendor. All the fishmongers were singing, joking around with customers, taking good care of them, answering questions and really just looking for ways to engage visitors and make their day. Not only that, but their seafood was some of the best we tried while in Seattle. Jeff actually ended up buying raw oysters and a shucking knife to open the shellfish and eat right there. We also bought some halibut to cook at home as they provide TSA approved boxes to travel with. Both tasted amazing. I had one of their oyster shooters drenched in their homemade cocktail sauce, as well, and really enjoyed how fresh it tasted. Overall, visiting this famous little shop is an experience you just can't miss at Pike Place!
12. The Pink Door
Linguine alla Vongale
So this restaurant on Post Alley was one of the most recommended restaurants from friends and family who had previously been to Seattle. The cuisine is Italian-American. Something that really sets this dining experience apart from the rest is their aerial entertainment (incredible!), offered between 6:30 pm-8:45 PM on Sunday and Monday nights. As for the food, their menu is simple, fresh and seasonal. We ordered the roasted garlic and meatballs to start and had the Linguine alla Vongale and lasagna as our main courses. The roasted garlic, as well as the linguine just blew me away. Pancetta and chilis garnished the linguine, adding so much flavor and a nice little kick to the dish. The roasted garlic was served with a ricotta-gorgonzola cheese spread and fresh bread (fun fact- the owner, Jackie, insists that bread is an indispensable tool while eating- being of Portuguese descent, this resonates heavily with me lol). A heads up, if you plan to come, make sure you make a reservation well in advance, as they can be a difficult establishment to get a table at!
“I truly wish to liberate people from a prescribed way of thinking. If my restaurant can inspire people to encounter their lives with a new perspective—even in the tiniest way—then I feel gratified.” —Jackie Roberts, Owner
Pike Place market has so many different vendors and such an eclectic variety of food, that it was impossible to try everything. Below are some more noteworthy options that I will make sure to visit on my next trip!
The Crumpet Shop - Boasting a wide variety of organic sweet and savory crumpets
Piroshky Piroshky Bakery- A Russian Bakery specializing in "Piroshkies" (hand held pies made with an array of diverse and differing filings).
Matt's in the Market- A sit down restaurant recommended to us by some Seattle natives with a stunning view and supposedly the best sea food!
I already miss this quirky city! And look forward to one day coming back and exploring some more!
Until then, Seattle! =)