I’m spending the summer in Seattle, and while I’m here, I hope to explore as much of the food as possible. This series will be organized by neighborhood rather than chronologically, and as a result, the various posts will be updated throughout the summer.
Pike Place is not really a neighborhood, but it’s a food landmark, so naturally, I stopped by on my second day here. The first thing I noticed was the plethora of free samples. From the spicy jams to the various honeys to the fruit stands to Chukar cherries, the vendors are more than happy to let you sample everything. As long as you’ve got tough enough skin to reap as much as possible from their samples and walk away without buying something (something I’ve been training for ever since I first stepped foot in Costco) then you’ll be able to try some awesome things.
One place I visited but did not snap a picture of was a deli called Michou. I went around 11:30am and got a sandwich after a very short wait, but when I walked by about 30 minutes later, the place had a line out the door. Seems like my popular-food-place spidey senses were on point. And that was before I stalked the “best of Pike Place” lists.
Next door to Michou is a French bakery called Le Panier. This place was recommended to me by a North Face employee I befriended while shopping for a backpack to replace my recently stolen one. He noted that Pike Place calms down a lot after 3pm and commented on the ridiculousness of the insane line at the original Starbucks, despite the numerous other Starbucks locations nearby. So far, I have yet to stand in that line (I chose the Piroshky Piroshky line instead because pastries are slightly less basic than Starbs) but I did pay a visit to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, which is definitely worth it. I’ll cover that in the Capitol Hill post.
Le Panier’s amandine (almond croissant) was delicious. Flaky on the outside and densely moist on the inside. I also tried Bakery Nouveau’s almond croissant in Capitol Hill, and I found that I liked this one a lot better. Bakery Nouveau’s twice-baked almond croissant was too moist on the inside. It felt like the twice baking part of it just made it soak up more oil and didn’t positively contribute to the texture or flavor.
I also got a pistachio eclair, which did not disappoint at all either. I felt really fancy eating this on a doily. 10/10 would recommend for both the quality of the eclair and the feeling of quality provided by the doily.
I snapped this awkwardly half-lit photo of Beecher’s mac and cheese while waiting in line at Piroshky Piroshky, the uber popular Russian bakery. The mac and cheese is rich and tasty, but I wasn’t blown away. The cheese shop has samples of their delicious flagship cheese in the back, though, so if you’re not looking to fully commit just yet, you can definitely score some tasty free samples.
Below is the Piroshky Piroshky apple cinnamon roll. The apples are unpeeled, which added a different texture profile than other apple desserts, in which apples are always naked and free. The dough of the roll was very similar to that of a regular cinnamon roll, but I thought that it was a little on the dry side. I would recommend sharing with a friend so you don’t risk flavor/texture fatigue; it’s definitely large enough for two.
Elleno’s Greek Yogurt is absolutely worth it. I’ve found that they have a traveling stand as well; the farmer’s market outside the Amazon office on Thursdays sports an Elleno’s stand, and the farmer’s market in Capitol Hill also had it the second time I visited.
This is the passionfruit flavor, and it is so good. Usually I find passionfruit to be too sour, but this was just tangy enough, and the seeds add a nice crunch without sinking into and getting stuck in your teeth, popcorn style.
Rachel’s Ginger Beer is super refreshing, albeit pretty expensive. This 20 ounce drink was more than $6. Heavy on the wallet but light on the tastebuds.
Mee Sum Pastry is probably most well known for its BBQ pork hom bow. This was a pretty authentic Chinese bun, with its familiar sweet pork on the inside and the fluffy exterior. Pricey compared to Asia, obviously, but still a nice treat.
Country Dough’s Szechuan hand shaved noodles were eh. The pork was similar to the cut of bahn-mi pork, and it wasn’t particularly juicy or flavorful. The Szechuan sauce was boring, and it was just overall pretty lackluster. Some noodles were also too thin so they came out too soft. None really had that thick, doughy consistency that hand-shaved noodles are known for. I would say I like Henry’s Taiwan Kitchen’s hand shaved noodles more (in University District).
Pike Brewery, which is just outside the main part of the market, lets you sample six of their year round beers for $12. Most of them are at least a little hoppy. You get a good array, from a Belgian ale to a stout to an IPA to an amber ale.
They also serve food here. These are the steamed clams, which comes with garlic bread. Pretty tasty and reasonably priced, at $16.
Jack’s Fish Spot’s raw oysters. Man, these were good. I used to think that I hated oysters because my main experience with them was through oa-jian (Taiwanese oyster omelette), and I despised those. Apparently raw oysters is where it’s at, though. I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on them for my entire life.
My sister was appalled when I said that I didn’t like oysters because she knows that I love eating all things seafood. She insisted that oysters were basically the most seafood-tasting seafood out there. Now that I’ve had untarnished oysters, I would have to agree.
Note: all photos are unedited.