Last February on our trip to Seattle for the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, my husband & took an extra day just to ourselves. We played tourist and wandered around this familiar cross border city. We had a fun laid back day. A restful respite from the kids and craziness of home. It was re energizing. The perfect way to rid ourselves of our winter blah’s.
We can’t visit Seattle without a stop at their famous Pike Place Market. Michael and I have been here many times before. It’s a wonderful place to grab something fresh and tasty for lunch. Our problem as non Seattle natives is we’re always unsure where to go or what to try. Last year after hearing many rave reviews I managed to find a quiet afternoon for a couple Pink Lady cocktails and lunch with my Mom over at the Pink Door. We enjoyed the experience. It gave such a unique flavor to our trip. On this visit Michael and I wanted to try something different, something new. To explore the market further. We found what we were looking for with Savor Seattle‘s 2 hour walking tour of Pike Place Market.
We really enjoyed this tour. All of the little things they did to make it easier to keep up and pay attention, even if your lens tends to wander like mine does. Our friendly and attentive guides (we had two, Santino and a trainee) led the way with bright pink umbrellas, making it simple and easy to spot them in a crowd. We also wore ear pieces so we could always hear the stories and humor that filled the tour, even when we stopped to take a few snaps.
Which of course I did.
Along the way we learned about the history of the market. The community uprising that bore it. How it connected consumers directly with farmers. With it’s start reaching back to 1907, it’s history is rich and colourful. Just ask Rachelle the Pig who brings luck and humor to the Market. This place has been and will continue to be at the heart of this city. A real gem of culture and community.
We started our day with mini donuts from the Daily Dozen and sampled tea at MarketSpice. Their Cinnamon Orange Tea was delicious! After, we made our way over to the Fish Market to sample the varieties of smoked salmon.
Warning! Laura Does Not Eat Fish!!!!
Prepare to have your mind blown…. or not.
I not only tried everything on this tour, but I liked almost all of it. Including everything we tried at the Pike Place Fish Market. I think the Alderwood Smoked Salmon with Garlic & Pepper was my favorite. Michael liked them all too, although he looked a little disappointed that I did as well. I think he expected to get to chow down on all my seafood related left overs…. Better luck next time buddy!
After the samples were finished, we got to see the flying fish in action. Our tour guide had a great back and forth with the men working the Fish Market. It seemed like a real fun place to work. I say that knowing full well that if I received a welcome aboard gift of an umbrella filled with squid from one of these guys, it would be my first and last day in that job. Hilarious, but ewww!
We all laughed at the stories. Hoping, that it was just a fish tale.
Our tour took us outside the main building to the open air vegetable markets. The buildings here were so cool. I loved the nostalgic paint colours and the daffodils planted high up above on nearly every rooftop. We were there too early to see them blooming, but I bet they looked exceptional.
This is one of those spots where the head set and umbrella come in really handy. It gets busy on these little side roads. Bustling pedestrians, along with a handful of cars silly enough to think they can find a parking spot right here.
We caught up with our group in amongst the fruit stands. The only place in the city where you’re actively encouraged to take fruit from a man on the street holding a knife. Mmmmm, we were glad we did. My camera enjoyed the colourful stands brimming with fruit and veg, and we enjoyed sampling the blood orange and crisp apples. We learned about some of the more unique items they have at the market. I almost did a double take when I saw the stunning Romanesco Cauliflower. I could have easily spent most of the day taking pictures of just it. But I digress….
They taught us how to pick a perfect eggplant. Some eggplant can be quite bitter, to avoid that you need to pick a male fruit. Male eggplants have less seeds and because of that are less bitter. To tell the difference, flip them upside down. Males will have a small circular indentation on the bottom of the fruit. Females will have a line. A simple trick to make sure you choose the right egg plant when your next at the market.
Our tour took us to many other great spots throughout the market. We got a cheat sheet on the ‘where to eat’ for our next visit, that’s for sure!
We sampled chocolate covered cherries at Chukar Cherries and had hands down some of the best pastries ever at Piroshky Piroshky! The beef & cheese pastry was surprisingly delicious and the apple cinnamon roll was to die for. Once I had tasted their pastries, I understood the long line up that stretched all the way around the corner just to get in to the bakery. In fact the idea of hopping back in that line up tantalized me for much of that morning.
From there we wandered over to Beecher’s Cheese. It was quite something to watch those big tubs turn milk into cheese. Lot’s of faces seem to find themselves pressed up to the glass for a peek at the machinery. To avoid the ‘Costco’ effect, our group had to maintain a pretty tight semi circle in this spot. It seems everyone wanted a sample of the good stuff.
My favorite stop on our tour was unexpected for me. Recall, I’m not a fan of sea food. Pretty much won’t touch the stuff. Yet, I thought I’d be a good sport and “try” everything. Down Post Alley we came across Pike Place Chowder and a lovely out door patio perfect for people watching and enjoying some chowder.
We tried a Seafood Bisque, which umm…. wasn’t for me. However the Market’s famous Clam Chowder was a hit. I’m a little embarrassed to say how many of those chowder samples I downed. Rest assured when we return, this little patio will be my lunch spot of choice. Mmmmm, the thought of it makes me twitch for a two hour drive to Seattle.
Yes the chowder was that good!!!
I enjoyed our venture down Post Alley. It’s a narrow road, more like a back alley, but pretty. The uneven bricks beneath our feet, the old buildings on either side. The gorgeous planters and well kept store front windows. It sets a mood. Great spot for a walk with your sweetie. I even got to show the hubs where the Pink Door was located. Just in case he wanted to take me there for a nice night out in Seattle.
Our tour ended with Crab Cakes from Etta’s. We stopped in front of the actual location of the first Starbucks in Seattle while we munched. Although there are many in this town, and quite a few in Pike Place itself, the original location is now a restaurant. Don’t you worry, there’s still a coffee shop less than a block away touting the virtues of being the first Starbucks in town. There’s even a plaque to tell you about it’s first-titude.
It isn’t, but that shouldn’t stop you from grabbing a cup of hot coffee. In reality you’ll be sipping your joe from the fourth Starbucks (but technically the second location of the first) with a readjusted image of a 16th century wood carving of a siren.
Indeed, Starbucks has certainly done some creative editing with their history.