Saturday, August 7, 2010

first view of Pike Place Market in Seattle, WA

The Pike Place Market tour was to begin at Starbucks (not the original one) located at Pike Street and 1st Avenue.  I arrived early, not knowing where to park nor where to walk nor where Pike and 1st intersected.

Who would travel without GPS assistance?  The handy little device directed me to The Public Market Parking Garage, conveniently located at 1531 Western Avenue.  I paid $15 for parking.  Some may consider this pricey; however, Seattle traffic is intense.  For a non-resident such as me, the ease of access was worth the dollars.  A nice young lady, walking her bicycle, escorted me up the elevator to the 7th floor.  From this landing one can view the shipping yard and the market wall.  Little did I know what awaited on the other side of that wall.

As I opened the door, and proceeded inside, I was instantly overwhelmed.  There, displayed as far as the eye could see, were shelves and rows and racks and benches heaving with a food lover's 'stuff.'  Knowing I could not loiter, I moved along to the assigned destination, all the while assured that before me lay a day of sensory overload.

Pause for a personal endorsement -
I highly, highly, highly recommend the Savor Seattle Food Tours.  I can triple highly recommend this business since I participated in three of their tours.  All were equally informative, led by knowledgeable tour guides, entertaining, and well organized.  All three offered an ample array of tasting opportunities.

Once equipped with communication devices, and served a taste of pomegranate iced tea at Starbucks (dark brown exterior building and brown logo rather than the traditional green), the "Pike Place Market:  Classics Food and Culture Tour" began.

Keep in mind that we were only tasting at all the stops, so portions were small yet quite adequate.

Daily Dozen Donuts -
  • small, just baked and still warm, sugar-cinnamon dusted donuts

MarketSpice -
  • their signature tea: cinnamon-orange, naturally sweet iced tea (very good)
  • smoked salt (reminded me of a grill; later returned to the store and sent my brother's samples of the salt)

Pike Place Fish - The tourist attraction, and tourists were thickly packed around the long counter.  Yes, we saw the fish fly directly into the hands of one from our tour.    We tasted three smoked salmon samples; all were absolutely delicious!  I think these were the three:   
  • Alderwood-smoked Garlic and Pepper Salmon
  •  Alderwood-smoked Salmon
  • Alderwood-smoked Salmon Belly Strips (an alternative to beef jerky)

Frank's Quality Produce -
  • thinly sliced, juice dripping plums 
  • round, plump bing cherries

Pike Place Chowder -
  • the award winning clam chowder was thick and rich and just perfect; 
  • the seafood bisque was not my favorite because it was too fishy, which is what one would expect of seafood bisque

Chukar Cherries -
  • savory peach-cherry salsa which was delicious with chips
  • dried bing cherries; I returned to purchase these for my granola recipes
  • black forrest chocolate cherries 
  • mocha cherry 
  • a raspberry truffle which is a dried cranberry coated in white chocolate and dusted with red raspberry powder
  • milk chocolate honey pecans (Yum, yum, yum to all these items.  I think I have listed the cherry-tastings somewhat accurately; we tasted so many!)

Beecher's Handmade Cheese --
  • made-on-the-premises cheddar cheese, cubed and served on crackers
  • award winning macaroni and cheese
  • Serious Eats great blog post - click here 

Piroshky-Piroshky --
  • Apple cinnamon roll
  • Savory Russian Smoked salmon pate piroshky

Etta's Seafood Restaurant - a Tom Douglas restaurant

  • Mini Dungeness crab cakes 
  • Lemon tart 

The guide shared vendor trivia as we walked along the tour route, as well as history/trivia of the area.

As you can see, we tasted so many different delicacies.  The list is long, and maybe it's only important to me (and the vendors), but I wanted you to experience the tour, virtually.  Alone, I could have walked through the marked, looked around, and wondered.  Led by the tour guide, we were escorted around, and in front of, and behind.  And we were fed instantly; no waiting in line, no overstuffing, and no doggie bags.

I'll post information related to the other tours soon, as well as a link to all the pictures.

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