Five Quick Stops at Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market. Outside of the rain, doesn’t get much more Seattle than this place. Just ask the producers of the NFL. Every time the Seahawks are on TV, especially the “big games” there is the obligatory shot of the flying fish and the giant red letters jettisoning above the market heading out to the gorgeous Elliott Bay.
Outside of the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, I honestly don’t know if there is a more famous place to get food and trinkets in the US. It is on EVERYONE’S tourist list, and you know what? It should be. Pike Place Market is not your typical tourist destination although you will find your usual touristy items (T Shirts, post cards, key chains, and so on ). No, Pike Place Market is one of the Emerald City’s crown jewels. Loaded with culture, smells, tastes, and brimming with excitement regardless of the weather, for over 100 years, the Farmer’s market has been and will continue to be a place where locals and visitors alike, from all over the world, can fill up the fridge, the pantry, and the shelves with all kinds of local items.
This post is not about what all you could or even should do when visiting the famous market, rather, it is about 5 Quick Stops you should make when there. There are tons of books, blogs, and articles about what you can see here, I just want to throw in 5 that will give you an authentic glimpse into the history and culture of the market, as well as some of the eats we are known for in Seattle.
Mt Townsend Creamery – This cheesy outpost is new to the market even though their cheese has been well represented for several years (DeLaurenti’s, Beecher’s, Etc.). Mt. Townsend Creamery is quite simply one of the best cheese artisans in the entire state of Washington. Headquartered in Port Townsend, Mt. Townsend is known for their commitment to ethical growing and manufacturing, even old-world techniques, their little cubby near the flying fish and Market Spice Tea, is a must see. Always sampling, try them all although in my home, the Cirrus and Seastack will always be the favorite!
Le Panier – This Parisian bakery has been across from the market for over 25 years. Baguette, Pain Levain, croissant, and all sorts of other breads and pastry draw you in with the beautiful aroma of fresh-baked yeasty goodness. Surprisingly, relatively inexpensive to grab a loaf for the table within the restaurant or for the road. The lines move fast so don’t panic if the lines are backed to the door. My personal fave is to grab a baguette (under 2 bucks) and eat it while walking through other parts of the market.
Piroshky Piroshky – This little Russian restaurant can’t be missed. Lines always long, it is worth grabbing one of the sweet or savory pastries (?) from this famous little spot. Piroshky are essentially meat, sweet, or veg filled/topped dough that has been baked to perfection. Excellent for a snack or a second breakfast, ALL of them are simply that good. Personally, I love the beef and potato piroshky. Buttery, savory, and just perfect on a wet day.
Market Spice – Market Spice Tea has been tucked in the south corner of the market (just pass the flying fish and Mt. Townsend Creamery) since 1911. Dozens of loose tea and whole spice options available by the ounce and of course the tea that made this spot famous, their Cinnamon and Orange Market Spice Tea. So whether you need to grab some more Anise seed or want to try a new white leaf tea, make sure you swing by and pick up some to take back home.
Pike Brewing Company – As you may have heard me say many times before, we are spoiled rotten in Seattle when it comes to micro brew. Seattle boasts some of the nations very best craft beer and it is hard to imagine a time when we didn’t have dozens suds’ choices at our fingertips. One of the spots that helped usher in the NW craft beer revolution is Pike Place Brewing Company. Their brew pub, just down 1st ave from the main entrance to Pike Place, boasts a unique pub layout with THREE different bars within the same restaurant! Many brews are available both draft and bottle, and like all good neighbors, a nice selection of rotating guest handles are on tap as well. Bring your growler, or pull up for a pint some afternoon or evening and enjoy some of the best beer in Seattle. My latest favorite is their seasonal Harlot’s Harvest Pike Pumpkin Ale (22 oz bottle). So delicious, smooth, with a subtle taste of autumn in each sip (ok gulp)
There are so many places you should visit when heading over to Pike Place Market with your friends and family, and I have barely begun to to share all of the great stops, both gastronomic and not. If you want more great ideas, I invite you to buy local author, Keren Brown’s book that was released this past year and get dozens of other ideas for the market, and throughout Seattle. Cheers!