Seattle – Pike Place Market

I knew exactly where we were headed the minute our plane touched Washington soil. Checking in at our AirBnB abode? That could wait. First: food.

Jay and I couldn’t visit Seattle without visiting its claim to culinary fame: Pike Place Market. For those not in the know, this downtown ‘hood by the water is famous for its farmers’ market, fish vendors, local artisans, and delicious bite-sized shops. There are dozens of gustatory gems scattered within only a few blocks of each other — including, if you will, the original Starbucks.

Starbucks was but a proverbial drop, however, in the bucket of Pike Place’s goodness…

We didn’t get a chance to purchase any seafood or produce, but that’s not to say I wasn’t tempted. Everything was so big, beautiful, colorful, fresh! It broke my heart that I couldn’t shop Pike Place on a daily basis. I was so sad, in fact, that I had to comfort myself by indulging in ready-made treats from nearby shops. And oh… there were many.

I didn’t expect to fall in love with a dim sum dish in the Pacific Northwest — but this curry beef hombow from Mee Sum Pastry was so delicious, I even  bought a few for my friends back home. The faintly sweet, lightly chewy shell pulled away to reveal some seriously tasty Japanese-curry-flavored filling.

I’m a sucker for donuts, but try to limit my sugar intake on a daily basis. On vacation though, all bets are off. These babies from Daily Dozen (some of them fresh from the fryer) were pretty darn tasty, though I wish they sold ’em individually.

No visit to Seattle is complete without grabbing chowders from Pike Place Chowder. Tip: check in on Yelp to get a three-soup sampler on the cheap. We chose New England clam chowder, seafood bisque, and seared scallop — all dreamy, creamy deliciousness. It should be noted, however, that Seattle’s breads won’t be beating out San Francisco’s sourdoughs in taste tests any time soon.

Fittingly, we made one final stop at Pike Place before leaving for San Francisco. The Crumpet Shop was at the top of my hit list, but it was already closed when we’d stopped by previously. A return trip was well worth it. Jay ordered a smoked salmon spread crumpet and I had the Ram (ricotta cheese, almond butter, and orange marmalade). These English biscuits may look unassuming, but they are serious textural delights once toasted and buttered.

We also grabbed a beef and cheese piroshky from the aptly-named Piroshky Piroshky. Divine. I was compelled to buy a cinnamon cardamom braid, which was frankly too much bread for me (I should mention that, by this time, I’d had more carbs in five days than I typically did in five months). Not to worry — watching the bakers hard at work more than made up for their one slightly disappointing product.

Jay spotted a few people digging into crab legs and decided he needed a seafood salad, stat. This crab salad from Joe’s came ready-to-eat, but I think Jay would’ve preferred to gnaw meat off the shell, cave-man style.

My final bite in Seattle was of this lemon currant ginger cookie from Three Girls Bakery. It was decent, although the frosting made it much too sweet for my tastes. Again, I’d simply stuffed myself silly with sugar throughout the trip, so I probably could’ve done without any more dessert. You know me, though… go big or go home! (I did both, after eating this treat.)

Oh… the indulgence. If only I could’ve spent more time there! If only I had more space in my stomach! If only San Francisco had something similar! (The Ferry Building is a treasure, but doesn’t hold a candle to the mecca that is Seattle’s market — and, being at the edge of the water, it doesn’t have quite the same views, either.)

Pike Place, it was grand. I’m so very glad you book-ended our trip to Seattle.

Pike Place Market
1st and Pike Street
Seattle, WA 98101
www.pikeplacemarket.org

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