Pike Place Market. What does that make you think of?
For me it was only two things. The public market sign you see in the photo below, and big men throwing big fish at each other.
And I was right! We saw both.
We did the market tour on the same day as the underground tour. With two hours between them we had a little bit of time to wander through the market to get our bearings first.
We were hungry, and it was really hard not to buy ourselves every piece of food we saw in the market but we knew we would be eating samples from more than ten vendors during our tour and didn’t want to fill up first. Besides, we figured we would find out what was really good on the tour and then go eat more of it later.
We finally took our rumbling bellies to the coffee shop which was our tour gathering place and waited four our guide to introduce us to the best the market has to offer.
Do you know how good a coffee shop smells on an empty stomach? Ooooh, it smelled good. It took all my will power to only buy a bottle of water and not two of every cookie and cake on the menu.
We were happy that our guide (Mark) showed up early and got us all wired up and ready to go. See Brian’s nifty ear piece up there? We each got one of those so Mark wouldn’t have to shout at us over the noise of the crowds. I totally felt like a big newbie tourist with my ear piece in, but it was worth it to not miss any of the historical information and great jokes that Mark was laying on us.
We all gathered at the big wooden table in the coffee shop and listened to Mark gear us up to get behind the scenes in the market. He gave us a brief rundown of which foods we would get to sample. He had me at “Macaroni and Cheese”.
Again, a tour was the right choice for us. There is so much history and trivia about the market that we would never have guessed, and a hundred things that we wouldn’t have even known to look at, much less to try.
We were able to sample specialty teas, local cheese, smoked salmon, fresh fruits and veggies, fresh doughnuts, seafood soups, amazing sandwiches and the most perfect salted caramel ever. We bought more of those caramels on the spot.
And we got to hear the story behind each place we sampled, and watch the employees in action. Sometimes that action was combing cheese curds and sometimes it was chucking a big fish across the isle.
Why do they hurl the fish? Because it’s easier than walking back and forth with every order. Duh.
Good thing the guys who catch them have fast reflexes, and apparently very good eyesight.
I could have spent a week just living off the fresh produce and the cheese. So good, mmmmm.
And what tour of Seattle would be complete without a stop at the famous and iconic original Starbucks?
Which is not actually the first Starbucks, only the first one to serve coffee. Confused? Go talk to Mark, he’ll tell you all about it (and he’ll let you eat macaroni and cheese while he does it).
I think our time in Seattle would also have been incomplete without a few buskers. There were the usual bands and singing quartets (which were really good) but my favorite was the guitar playing, hula hooping guy.
Who really did balance that guitar on his nose while he kept the hoop spinning.
Good for you, mate. Living the dream.
Our tour was with Savor Seattle Food and Cultural Tours. We had a great time, learned a lot, and didn’t have room to eat more lunch after all of our samples.
On the map: Click here to see this location on our Google Map.