Everyone wants to see the flying fish, they are crowded around the fish stall at the entrance to Pike Place Market in Seattle. The school children are just waiting and watching – we all are. The one item missing is the customer – the fish stall needs a customer to order for them to throw the fish (it is a business after all). After ten minutes, my arms hurt holding my camera at the ready waiting for the flying fish shot so I turn to move through the market to explore.
My favorite stall is the fresh flowers. I always get mad at myself for not stopping here immediately when I arrive in the city so that I can have fresh flowers in my hotel room during my stay. The bouquets are generally $5 and $10 with colorful and imaginative arrangements. So my tip: Buy flowers on Day 1 of your visit, they are hard to resist and begin each day in your hotel with a smile (ask the hotel for a vase/container to use during your stay or make your own with a water bottle or two).
A new vendor that i spent time chatting with was the pasta vendor, The Pasta Guys. They sell Pappardelle’s pasta and sauces – either dried blends or fresh-frozen ravioli, torts and gnocchi. I was surprised by the variety (eleven) of gluten free flavors such as Lavender, Chipotle Lime, Spinach Garlic as well as Nutritional options such as Basil Spelt, Five Grain, Oat & Flax and Organic Whole Wheat. The Pasta Guys also sell OMG! Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinegar which you can sample. What a carb lover’s paradise. As I was traveling with a carry-on, I was not able to bring pasta home with me so I requested the menu and online ordering information. After reading the story of the founders in Denver, I was even more impressed with their company and look forward to ordering soon to try the many flavors.
Across the aisle, I was drawn in by the homemade preserves, fruit spreads, jellies, chutneys, marmalades and pickles of Woodring Northwest Specialties. They have over 40 varieties! I just love seeing options such as Huckleberry (always reminds me of Huckleberry Hound cartoon), Loganberry, Tayberry as well as more well known Boysenberry and Raspberry but does anyone know what a Marionberry is? They also sell artisan chocolate and caramel sauces Samples are provided if you ask. The sales girl was so nice to answer my questions (she also thanked me for asking for permission before taking photos) and explain all of the varieties, seasonality and background of the flavors and company. She provided an information sheet of flavors with online ordering information to ship. I’m still trying to decide where to start with so many choices.
Walking down the main aisle vendors on either side, I was struck by the artistic setup of the produce stand – it looked too nice to disturb. Hmmm, another excuse for not eating my veggies – I didn’t want to ruin the display!
Walking outside the side door toward the Original Starbucks, I passed many temptations (aka bakeries). Thankfully, i was full from my breakfast in the market otherwise my willpower would have been nil. The photos of the sweet treats were definitely trying my willpower.
I walked past the vendor setting up outside the market with their fruits/vegetables and was reminded of the many farmers markets here at home in Philly that I visit. Always a great option to support local vendors/farmers and eat healthy foods (or not, if you are like me and find the artisan chocolate vendor). At the end of the street, you can see out toward the waterfront as the vendors selling arts & crafts line the sidewalk leading to the market. I have purchased watercolor prints in the past from these vendors.
Visiting any city, I like to explore the local markets to get a sense of the culture and the local foods. You can learn so much as you are exposed to many new smells and tastes that enhance your visit and create memories. We all have food memories, so on your next visit to Seattle, stop by Pike Place Market hopefully you see the fish fly and create some new memories of your own.