Pike Place Market (Seattle)
Whenever we're in Seattle, we make a beeline straight to Pike Place Market. The daily market has brought together farmers, fishmongers, and bakers since 1907. Even if you haven't been there, you're probably familiar with the iconic fish toss. "Hali-BUT! Hali-BUT! Heyyyyyy!" Next thing you know that slippery fishy is being hurled over your head and slapped onto a bed of ice.
We wish every city had a daily market as lively, colorful, and delicious as Pike Place. Not to mention have a mascot as great as Rachel, the bronze pig statue. In addition to the fresh produce and seafood, we love the hot dogs, doughnuts, chowder, and other snacks from vendors all over the market. Try Pike Place Chowder for a bacon-laced bowl of creamy goodness, or head to Beecher's Cheese for a bowl of mac n' cheese or a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich that will warm the body and the soul.
Pike Place Market: Pike Street, Seattle, WA (map)
Gourmet Dog Japon
Of the several suggested topping combinations available at this odd-couple shop—like beef sausage, meatballs, chicken sausage, or Polish Kielbasa with a slew of Japanese toppings (around $5 apiece)—the most interesting was the Kabuki, which combines grilled cabbage, bonito flakes, pickled red ginger, Japanese Worcestershire, and a few squirts of Kewpie (the sweet, thick Japanese mayonnaise that should probably go on everything).
Biting into it, the initial impression is very similar to that of takoyaki, the Japanese street snack consisting of batter-dipped chunks of octopus cooked in spherical cast-iron molds. Like these dogs, you can get them with a diverse array of toppings, most of which combine sweetness in the form of teriyaki or Worcestershire, pickled elements, and intensely savory notes from bonito flakes or nori.
See our full review here.
Pike Street and 2nd Avenue, Seattle WA 98101
Chicken Valley Fried Chicken
The fried chicken is fine if you get it fresh (unlikely), but the real stars at this eatery are the assorted fried chicken giblets. Salty and crisp hearts, slightly chewy gizzards, and creamy (if overly livery) livers can be ordered individually (between $6 and $8/pound), or in little mixed baskets with all three ($3 per basket). It's like a perfect little bag of chips to take around with you while you figure out what to eat next, but meatier.
1507 Pike Place, Seattle WA 98101; 206-624-2774
Daily Dozen Doughnut Company
There are fresh doughnuts, and then there are doughnuts plucked from the Donut Robot Mark II before the conveyor belt even tips them out. A toss in of sugar, sprinkles, or cinnamon, and they're handed over the counter moist, squishy, and crunchy with sugar. On a cold, grey morning—and on the Seattle waterfront, your odds are good—bite into a doughnut, start to chew, and steam will pour from your mouth. We'd already eaten breakfast (in truth, we'd eaten two or three), but five of these doughnuts disappeared before we'd walked ten feet away.
93 Pike Street, Seattle WA 98101
The Crumpet Shop
How often do you eat crumpets? Probably not enough. This is something you realize at The Crumpet Shop. Slightly richer-tasting and thicker than English muffins, these edible sponges soak up honey, blackberry preserves, thick pats of butter, or whatever else you decide to slather on top.
1503 1st Avenue, Seattle WA 98101 (b/n Pike and Pine Street); 206-682-1598
Beecher's is as much a museum as it is a cheese shop and small cafe, which claims to sell The World's Best Mac and Cheese. Though maybe not the best, it's definitely a luxury mac and cheese, as creamy as they come with a depth of cheese flavor. The glass cases also house all kinds of rounds, hunks, and wedges, piled high from quaint-sounding farms in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Plenty of knowledgeable cheesemongers (who are super friendly, no cheese snobbery here) are waiting behind the counter, ready to educate you on some lesser-known styles and feed you samples of fresh curd nubbins.
1600 Pike Place, Seattle WA 98101; 206-956-1964
There are nearly a dozen different breakfast sandwiches on the menu at Seatown Seabar, which makes a decision tough to make. Get the one with sablefish and cream cheese (buttery, gently smoky fish, cured in house, with their own whipped cream cheese and fresh watercress) or "The Three Little Pigs" (pictured here) with porchetta, premium Kassler ham, and whipped lardo--that'd be pure pork fat. You can't talk us out of pork fat in the morning.
2010 Western Avenue, Seattle WA 98121; 206-436-0309
Piroshky (or pirozhok—but not to be confused with pierogi) are the Russian version of an empanada, calzone, or any other stuffed hand-held pie. Common fillings include poppy seeds, sausage, cabbage, or whatever else the babushkas over the years had lying around. Piroshky Piroshky adds a Pacific Northwest twist with a version that rolls up smoked salmon pate ($4.50). The dill-flecked dough pocket is filled with the soft fish paste. They also have plenty of sweet flavors, like the Apple Cinnamon Roll ($3.70) or Fresh Rhubarb Piroshky ($3).
1908 Pike Place, Seattle WA 98101; 206-441-6068