If you read my last post here on SGCC, you already know that I trekked all the way out to Seattle (from Florida!) last week for the International Food Blogger Conference sponsored by Foodista. At the time I decided to go, I honestly didn't know much about the folks at Foodista, nor what to expect from the conference in general. I'd never been to a blogger conference before, but when I saw the stellar lineup of panel speakers, moderators and guests, I knew that I had to find a way to get there! Besides, Seattle had been on my short list of places that I was dying to visit for years, and this was my big chance!
As luck would have it, the IFBC fell on my birthday weekend. So, when I mentioned it to Mr. SGCC, instead of the "SEATTLE? ARE YOU NUTS!?!? THAT'S CLEAR ACROSS THE COUNTRY!" response I was expecting from him, I got a "SEATTLE? That sounds like fun! How about if I give you the trip as your birthday present?"
What a guy!
So last Thursday, Me, Myself and I set out on my great Seattle adventure. I'd never traveled such a long distance solo before, and I must admit, I was a little nervous. But, one long car ride, two plane rides, one 2-hour layover, one taxi ride and two Valiums later, there I was....in Seattle - one of the loveliest cities I've ever seen.
I purposely planned to arrive a day early so that I could take some time to explore the city on my own. I knew that one day wasn't enough time to do everything I wanted, so I had to prioritize. My number one, absolutely, positively, must see place to go was definitely the famous Pike Place Market. I'd read about the market in magazines and on many blogs. I'd seen it featured on The Food Network and other TV shows. The prospect of actually going there had me salivating!
By the time I got to my hotel and checked in on Thursday night, it was about 8:30 - a little too late to go wandering around alone in a strange city. I put on my fuzzy slippers, set up my laptop, ordered dinner from room service, (which, by the way, was the only disappointing meal I had in Seattle) and turned on the season finale of Hell's Kitchen. As an aside, I'm proud to say that Danny Veltri, the winner of HK, is from Sarasota, Florida, my hometown, and a graduate of my old high school as well. He seems like a very talented young man and I hope he goes far with his career as a chef. He certainly is off to a great start!
Anyway, the next morning I grabbed a cab from my hotel and headed down to Pike Place Market. The whole way down, my helpful cab driver, Hassad, gave me the lowdown on the market and lots of tips on where to go once I got there. Thanks, Hassad! (Thanks goodness I didn't run into a driver like the one Jaden had in NYC!)
Now, I knew that Pike Place Market is one of the largest farmer's markets in the country, but Holy Guacamole! That place is HUGE! As I approached the entrance, only another foodie could have understood the feelings that welled up inside of me. My pulse quickened and my heart began to beat just a little bit faster. Once inside, nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. There were stalls upon stalls of the most magnificent looking FOOD I ever saw! The fruits! The vegetables! The fish and seafood! The meats, cheeses, nuts, spices, jams and jellies! It was almost too much to take in!
Someone pinch me, because I must be dreaming!
My first stop was at the world famous Pike Place Fish Market. It was packed with camera-wielding tourists, and is definitely one of the most popular attractions there. And yes, it's true. The "guys" really do throw the fish around. Sometimes, they even make you kiss the fish too!
My eyes almost popped out of my head when I saw all of that gorgeous, glistening, fresh seafood! Cases were filled to the brim with king and dungeness crab, prawns, salmon, halibut cheeks, razor clams and assorted other fruits of the sea. I happened to be there on the first day of the legendary Copper River salmon season. What luck! There was no question that I was going to be ordering a boatload of that stuff to ship home!
And, I did! Not only did I buy a ton of Copper River salmon, but I stocked up on crab, halibut cheeks, smoked salmon and razor clams. I didn't even know what razor clams were, but I knew I had to have some! Pike Place Fish ships their seafood packed in ice packs and can overnight it to you just about anywhere. I got back to Sarasota late Monday night. My fish got here on Tuesday morning. Brilliant!
Of course, the seafood isn't the only draw to Pike Place Market. The produce stalls which are jam packed with amazingly beautiful and impossibly fresh fruits and vegetables are like the jewels in the crown.
Just look at the size of those tomatoes and artichokes!!!
Apples and berries and pears! Oh my!
And, the flowers.......
Oh, those beautiful, beautiful flowers!
There are lots of colorful characters hanging around the market too. I ran across this guy along the way. I'm not sure who he is or what he does, but I couldn't resist snapping a pic of him! I call him The Balloon Guy.
Another interesting phenomenon of the market is the presence of street performers, or buskers, singing and jamming their hearts out right there on the streets.
I ran into these guys right in front of the original Starbucks. They sang a mix of close harmony jazz and gospel. They were fantastic! I liked them so much that I bought one of their CDs.
(Party on, Wayne!)
By the end of the afternoon, I had covered a lot of territory. I must have walked at least five miles, and I was pooped! But, I was happy. Very, very happy! I concluded my tour of Pike Place Market by having a nice, hot latte at the original Starbucks. I promised my coffee-loving Mini SGCC that I would make a stop there. As I sat and sipped my steaming cup o' Joe, I reflected upon that first glorious day of my great Seattle adventure, and tingled with the anticipation of what the rest of the weekend held in store. The only thing that I regretted was that there was no one around for this Lonesome Traveler to share it with. But, that would soon change.
Stay tuned for next time when I'll tell you all about the IFBC, the fun and fabulous food bloggers I met there and more FOOD!
Ciao for now!