I promised a quick tour of one of my favourite haunts when I headed south this past weekend. I was lucky enough to travel with 42 other women on a mission to "shop till you drop" in the Seattle area. In true "foodie" style I did my obligatory shopping, but, then spent the day where I really wanted to be at the market along with locals and tourists alike. When travelling I want the opportunity to meet the people who live there and experience the culture and food sensations of a country first hand.
There’s more to the market than just food, fish and flowers. It’s not only the culinary heartbeat, but it’s really the soul of what makes Seattle a great city. It is a place of business for many small farmers, artisans, antique dealers, theatres, small family-owned restaurants, fish mongers, fresh produce stands and merchants and remains one of Seattle's most popular tourist destinations.
The Market is built on the edge of a steep hill where they have made good use of every inch of space.The Market opened 101 years ago in August 17, 1907, and is one of the oldest continually operated public farmers' markets in the United States. In 2007 the market celebrated it's 100 year anniversary and is internationally recognized as America's best farmers' market and the epicenter of Seattle's lively food culture.
Local farmers and craftspeople sell year-round in the arcades from tables they rent from the Market on a daily basis. The founders of Pike Place Market try to stay true to it's agricultural roots and maintain its integrity. The result is a jubilant, open-air celebration of fresh regional fruits and vegetables, seasonal flowers, herbs, seafood, spices, cheeses, hand-crafted work by artisans, eclectic shops, and fine restaurants and eateries.
One of the interesting attractions we saw at Pike Market is the gum wall at the Market Theater in Post Alley. This Gum Wall, also known as the Wall of Gum, is one of the least known (attractions of the historic Pike Place Market which is usually known internationally for its fish throwers and as the location of the original Starbucks logo. This gum wall began with theater patrons waiting outside, placing a blob of chewing gum on the wall and sticking a penny or other coin in it. The coins would be picked off by other people, and the wall was cleaned of gum two or three times before the powers that be gave up and the wall became an interactive work of art. Now people chew wads of gum and shape letters and figures from it, as well as adding the conventional blobs. Yes that is gum all over the wall below. You can see other photos here and here....
Pike Place Chowder which is the home of Americas Best Chowder. They were eventually banned from competition and put in the Chowder Hall of Fame being unbeatable. Their clam chowder has won first-place awards everywhere in the country and may be the only chowder to have accomplished this fete on both coasts. This place does chowder, pure and simple. And while their great New England-style clam chowder has national awards, they also do Manhattan clam chowder, smoked salmon chowder, mixed seafood chowder, and even a Southwestern-style chowder with chicken and corn. We were lucky to sample 3 of their chowders including a Seared Scallop which was my personal favourite with a "nutty" flavour. This tiny place is tucked away in Pike Place Market's Post Alley.
If you every have the chance Pike Place Market is a must see.