Sunday, August 15, 2010

A photo journey through Seattle's Pike Place market

This year summer never came to the bay. It rained a lot till April and somehow we slipped into a late-winter/fall like weather, skipping the summer entirely. Not that I am complaining. I am one of those people who are perfectly happy spending my weekends cuddled on sofa reading a good book with a cup of coffee instead of sun-bathing on beaches. This weekend we were in store for another such chilly trend. Having put off my plans of an outdoor lunch for a more warmer day, I was resigned to stare into the foggy day sitting on my porch and what better past-time to engage in than mind-lessly browsing through pictures of some old happy chilly days, spent with family, laughing and having fun. That was exactly our last Thanksgiving's Seattle trip!

Visiting Seattle's famous foodie-hangout Pike place market was definitely on top of my list. Seeing those old photos rekindled the memory of that market so much, that I thought I will share a small photo journey with you all.

Pike place market is an old marketplace founded in 1907 near the heart of downtown Seattle. It is a wonderful collection of shops overlooking the bay. It proudly boasts of an exhaustive fish market, a permanent farmers market and various specialty food stores. This market is also home to the original relocated Starbucks store (hence their house blend name 'Pike Place Roast'). Being a bay area resident I thought pike place in nutshell is a San Francisco fisherman's wharf on steroids :-)

We started off with a shop with the most unique dipping oils I have ever seen! It had varieties like this 18-year old aged balsamic, fig balsamic, roasted garlic-rosemary cabernet, truffle oil blends, sesame-ginger and many more! I so much enjoyed tasting these dipping oils with their crusty house-bread and an equally engaging  chat with the hostess. After I long tasting deliberation I finally decided to go with the roasted garlic and rosemary cabernet.

Being a seafood fan I then proceeded to the seafood shops and what a variety! The shops and the folks at the pike place celebrate seafood in a most unique way! We saw a variety of fish, oysters, squids, seaweed, lobsters.. you name it! Then there is this unique "flying fish" shop where the tradition is to throw a fish (yes, heavier ones too) from one end of the shop to the other instead of passing it by hand.. here is how it goes: one server who places the order for a fish shouts the name of the fish that was just bought. All the other servers  unitedly echo the name of the fish that they heard and then the server closest to that fish throws the fish in air and other server will have to catch it before the order is delivered. Needless to say heavier the fish more is the fun :-) Unfortunately I didn't get a good photo of this fish throwing ritual but there is one here.

The shops carried amazing fresh variety of seafood like colorful parrot fish or these lobster tails:
or this scary monkfish!

Even if you are not a seafood lover I am sure you will still find a lot of interesting unique shops to keep you entertained like this mushroom vendor carrying a cauliflower mushrooms (at $20/lb):

then there was this chocolate shop carrying the most unique chocolates from around the world including some unique mexican spicy varieties with chilis.. chilis and chocolate, now we are talking!
and a shop I spent a lot of time at with such unique pastas I could ever imagine:
and a varied jelly shop..

There is so much more to pike place than what I have described here. There is a shop with some very delicious chocolate covered cherries, then there are some ethnic clothes stores, an herb and spice shop, shop with the most unique salts that I have ever seen... the list goes on! Eventually I got tired of clicking photographs and just decided to enjoy the place :-) Pike place sure got me feeling like an Alice in Wonderland!


  1. Thanks PJ for the tour. I plan (my dream) to rent a place with a kitchen close to the pike's place and enjoy seafood to my heart's content. Lucky Seattle folks. We have a waterfront in DC but nothing like the Pike Place market.

    We are having the exact kind of weather you describe, gloomy and drizzly. I like a good book but this kind of weather is not my thing.

  2. It seems you have a wonderful journey, love that fishes photo but I can't imagine who will consume that monkfish...

  3. Thanks for the tour PJ. That monkfish IS scary. Never been to seattle but love to someday.

  4. I have lived in south florida pretty much most of my time here.Seattle is definitely one of the places i want to see. Your post inspired me.
    I specially love downtown markets like those ,kind of have gotten tiered of super markets .
    Thanx a lot for the wonderful tour..all the pics are really the one with different kind of mushrooms .

  5. Thanks for the grand tour dear...lovely snap..I felt almost there through your post...

  6. superb interesting like these always remind me of our mandi in india..the traditional market place


  7. As kamalika said, felt almost there thru the tour PJ...Such a nice post...

  8. Indo, what a dream come true that would be! and i dream that you will invite me as guest to your kitchen on weekends ;)

    Treat and trick, yes, that monkfish is sure scary.. they had a thread tied to it and when kids would be staring at the fish, a server would jerk the thread giving a feeling that monkfish itself is moving.. so scary!

    Latha, i agree, it is definitely one of the scary ones :)

    Aipi, its a beautiful city, rains a lot but otherwise great city!

    Kamalika, thanks so much for your kind words dear :)

    Kairali sisters, thanks! I am so glad you liked it.

  9. superb interesting like these always remind me of our mandi in india..the traditional market place


  10. thanks Satya! yes, they are so mandi like, aren't they?! farmer's markets always remind me of indian markets.

  11. Lovely pics pj,loved reading it too...

  12. Thanks for taking us on a tour .I really enjoyed all the pictures!!

  13. has been horrible here as well...we ahve a similar market ehre called Borough market which is an absolute foodies paradise..pike place reminds me so much of that :)

  14. PJ,
    Thanks for taking us there through your post and pics....
    Hamaree Rasoi

  15. tha was a lovely tour Pj. I always prefer market places like this than the supe markets. love the cauliflower mushroom. never heard or sa them anywhere. will look forward to many more such posts from you.

  16. Thanks for sharing the beautiful photo journey, dear PJ.
    Loved it!

  17. I've always wanted to go to pike's all looks so amazing!

  18. Thanks for the grt tour dear! Loved the pics alot.

  19. Thanks PJ for this visual treat, what amazing variety of Mushrooms, have never seen so many.
    My first cousin lives in Seattle, I must ask her to rob this market for me especially the oils and the pastas :-)

  20. I could spend hours here in this market! Love the many of them!

  21. Om my god i have heard of this market but never visited so far... wow awesome pictures and really tempts me to visit soon PJ... Wish I am there when i close my eyes now....

  22. Loved the tour - thanks for the personal guided experience!! :)

  23. Came here wondering why you are not posting anything these days . I have been out of town n missed this wonderful post.

    Looks like a foodies heaven ...
    i love seafood as well as mushrooms n pasta too...oooh !!


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