Im a sucker for markets; farmer’s markets, artisans markets, heck, even supermarkets. My first day off in Seattle I hit the Ballard Sunday farmer’s market just down the road from where we were keeping the boat. Upon arrival I had a hot apple cider in one hand and a half dozen fresh made to order cinnamon sugar mini donuts in the other. This girl knows how to work a market.
Gorgeous fresh produce, locally produced preservatives and jams, and those donuts made for a pretty nice little Saturday. It was definitely worth getting out of bed the morning post-supervirus (the walk home however was NOT something I’d like to do again).
I was pretty pleased with the little excursion, only hoping I had been completely back to my normal spirits in order to stay out a bit longer and really soak in all there was to offer. Alas, I found solace days later when I was taken to the mecca of all markets, the holy grail of markets, if you will; Pike Place Market.
Okay, I know all the guide books have Pike Place Market listed as a must see/do in Seattle but I mean, you see the word “market” and you think you’ve got it pegged. You’re wrong.
Pike Place Market can only be described as heaven on earth. I’m not even exaggerating. I had foolishly suggested to my visiting friends that we could fit in the Chihuly Gardens after what I imagined would be about an hour of wandering around the markets, but they of course knew better. We spent hours wandering around, gazing, ogling, tasting (…tasting, and more tasting). It’s doubtful that someone could visit and not find something to enjoy. And if you’re like me, it’s more difficult to find something not to like.
The best part? The tasting (I think I may have mentioned that?). Call me what you will, but I hear words remotely close to “free sample” and all of a sudden I’m standing right next to you. It could be free samples of fried goat testicles and I’d probably still have a go. Try everything once, right? Pike Place is nothing if not a mecca for sampling tasty treats. All you have to do is look at something and you’ll be asked if you’d like a sample. Hell, you don’t even have to look, they just give. The people at Pike Place, they’re givers. Within about 30 seconds of parking the car I had a bite of smoked salmon in my mouth, I kid you not.
It’s not even just fresh produce and local seafood at Pike Place. I sampled some incredible infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars as well as decadent truffle oil (which will be making it’s way into some upcoming dinners onboard). Oh, and I had bacon chocolate. Bacon. Chocolate. You read that right. Talk about the holy grail.
There was more than food of course, but that’s what was the most memorable for me (shocking, right?). However, among other vendors’ wares were beautiful blown glass pieces, intricate jewelry, gorgeous fresh floral bouquets, funky garments and vivid photographs and prints. There are even a few nice spots to grab lunch or drinks (or both) and people watch, or if it’s a rare clear day, watch the sunset over Puget Sound. Like I said, something for everyone. And if you’re looking for something really funky, go downstairs and check out the gum wall. This is something that I had actually discovered and showed my hosts as they had never heard of it (one point to the east coaster). It makes for fun photo ops, if anything, and it’s definitely worth a look.
I’ll probably be paying for that day long food fest all next week at the gym, but no regrets. Thanks to my wonderful hosts for showing me a great day filled with culinary delights and great company. It’s nice when work combines travel with good friends and family, huh?
*Additional tip: Pike Place Market is open everyday so if you can get there on a weekday and avoid the crowds it will be a much more pleasant experience (with many more free samples)