Sunny (yes, really!) Seattle
September 8, 2011
Over the Labor Day weekend, my husband and I headed to Seattle for a 5-day getaway from reality. I know that Seattle is known for being continuously rainy, but I’ve been lucky in that it’s pretty much been gorgeous and sunny both times I’ve been there. It sprinkled for about 10 minutes this time, but that was it for precipitation. In fact, we managed to be there for 5 of only 11 days of 80 degrees or above since July 2nd. So it was perfect weather for our 5 miles of walking every day to make up for all the eating we do on vacation! And we certainly did eat.
I always like going to the west coast because of the focus on fresh, locally grown food (and the more relaxed dress codes, which fit quite well with my wardrobe of mostly jeans, shorts, knit tops and the occasional blouse). My husband and I both love seafood, so any trip to either coast is always good for that. We have much more freshly flown-in fish than was available in Colorado 20 years ago, but nothing beats fresh fish from the local environs.
Of course as foodies, one of the first activities for us when in Seattle is a trip down to Pike Place Market. I love visiting Farmers’ Markets in other cities. I have been completely delighted by my trips to Pike Place Market in Seattle, the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market in San Francisco, as well as foreign visits to the the Vancouver Farmers’ Market in British Colombia, the Viktualienmarkt in Munich, Germany and a wonderful market in Bratislava, Slovakia.
The Pike Place Market has been around for over a century, covers 9 acres, and has somewhere around 100 farmers, as well as hundreds of craftspeople and permanent businesses. The market is open every day of the week (with Sundays being a bit lighter). There is a dizzying array of gorgeous cut flowers, fresh vegetables, berries, cherries, peaches, nuts, and of course, teeming mounds of seafood.
All around the main area with the farm and fish stands are nooks and crannies with shops (some just the width of a large counter) selling bread, Chinese, Russian or French pastries, Middle Eastern spices, homemade cheese, seafood chowder, candy, and any number of other culinary delights. And the original Starbucks is there, so on weekends you can stand in a huge line to take a picture and get coffee (or just go down a couple blocks to a less frequented one).
We decided to grab a few items during our stroll of the market and call it lunch. First we stopped to get a red bean paste-filled sesame ball (my favorite Dim Sum item — I’m pretty sure I could just eat 8 of those and be satisfied with that as an entire meal) at Mee Sum Pastry. Despite the heat and the extremely long line, we opted to get a small bowl of Manhattan clam chowder at Pike Place Chowder, which was really quite tasty. We capped off our tour with a lemon curd and honey crumpet at The Crumpet Shop, which involved a complexly low-tech process of placing the crumpet in a toaster, popping it up after a short amount of time to ensure that it wasn’t burning, re-inserting it, and repeating until done. After some pondering as to whether that was really the most efficient methodology, we dug in and enjoyed a pretty delicious crumpet.
We also made a trip to Uwajimaya, a 20,000 square foot Asian market, which we visited on our previous trip to Seattle. While still awe-inspiring with the sheer amount of items they have, we actually thought that the Pacific Ocean Market Place in Broomfield (just down the highway from Boulder) didn’t stack up too badly against Uwajimaya. I was mezmerized by the selection of Pocky they had, but left with my perpetual quest to find true Japanese green tea chocolate once again unfulfilled. (I had no idea that the gift a coworker from Japan gave me would result in my complete inability to satisfy a new craving for years to come. And every single American or European variety I have tried has fallen entirely short).
So our market visits in Seattle were great. Soon to come – dining out in Seattle!