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Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Great Seattle Adventure, Part 1: The Lonesome Traveler

Seattle,_Washington_-_Space_Needle

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!

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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!)

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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!

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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!

Picnik collage kissing fish

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!

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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!

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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.

Picnik collage veggies

Just look at the size of those tomatoes and artichokes!!!

Picnik collage fruits

Apples and berries and pears! Oh my!

And, the flowers.......

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Oh, those beautiful, beautiful flowers!

Picnik collage flowers

Stunning!

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.

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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.

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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.

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(Party on, Wayne!)

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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!

43 comments:

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

Great market photos Susan!

spatulascorkscrews said...

Thanks for the great tour of the market and the beginning of your fantastic Seattle trip. Gorgeous photos. I felt like I was right there with you seeing, tasting and eating all the wonderful things Seattle has to offer. I can't wait to read the rest of your adventures!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Sounds like an awesome adventure! I was in Seattle once on business, and so I did not get to see much of it. But I did see this market and have always wanted to go back! :-)

Dana said...

I am so glad that our special Pike Place Market did not disappoint. It is one of my favorite places in the city.

Nate-n-Annie said...

Great post! Thanks for taking us along with you. I would be so lost in that Market, but in a good way - lost in wonder.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wow, what a great place for a foodie! It looks like you had a lot of fun there...

Cheers,

Rosa

Cathy said...

When I lived in Vancouver Pike was a regular occurence for me :) Thanks for the pictures - looks like you had fun!

iTea said...

I'm glad you were able to take a small bite out of Seattle. Living here for years I have yet to enjoy all of the amazing restaurants and treats the city has to offer. Next time, be sure to hit up Quinn's on Capital Hill, Uwajimaya in Chinatown as well as Lunchbox Laboratory in Ballard. Did you make it to Beecher's to get some cheese while you were in the Market?

Little Ol' Liz said...

A Couple Things:
Godforbid anything every happens to you, but should the unfortunate happen, I have first dibs on Mr. SGCC. He's a prize.
Second - I'm living the PPM through you, since I'll never get there. I would have loved to be your partner in crime, tho.
And third - tell me you knit! There are soooooo many yarn stores and craft stores there that to miss them would be criminal.

Lucky Girl :-)

Ingrid said...

Can't wait to hear about the rest of your stay and see all the photos!
~ingrid

Ciao Chow Linda said...

What a great birthday gift. Looks like you had a terrific time exploring all the wonderful things the city has to offer.

HappyTummy said...

what a great post! sounds like you have a blast...love the pictures! we visited seattle/pike place market for the first time about a year ago, and fell in love with the city.

J.Danger said...

so jealous! Looks like fun!

Jayme Duke said...

I feel kind of guilty now for sometimes feeling very blah about the market! I guess that's what happens when you've lived here your entire life. It is an awesome market :)

And we call that guy 'the balloon guy' too lol. His balloon creations always make my kids very happy as we peruse the market.

Can't wait to read about the food blogger conference!

julie jams said...

I feel a little ashamed that I don't make it to the market more often since it's only 1/2 hour away. Your post has inspired me to rediscover it. Thanks again for sharing!

Karen said...

Great tour! The market is the first stop when I get to Seattle... never been!

Amy I. said...

So glad to hear you enjoyed Seattle. I'm heading there for the first time next month (scouting it out as a possible place to move and also celebrating our 1st anniversary), and Pike Place is also at the top of my list. Can't wait, especially after reading your post!!

Kris said...

I just want to say that I admire your courage travelling all that way(so far!) alone, I have never been on a plane and would have chickened right out! Love the pictures, it sounds like you're having such a fabulous time.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Your cartoons were cute, but I'm glad you provided at least one real photo of you. How else can you prove to us you were actually there?

I don't think I could go anywhere where I had to kiss a fish!!!

I love places like this, but they are so overwhelming. I'd almost rather browse at places like this rather than buy because if I were to buy, WHAT WOULD I BUY? I feel that way in Harrod's food hall or even at the small, but impressive Grand Central Market. I don't even know where to start at places like that.

duodishes said...

So much going on, and we haven't even read about the conference yet. Fun!

The Food Librarian said...

What a great time!! Thanks for letting us come along with you. Such great photos! Can't wait to hear about the conference...it sounds great!

Cakelaw said...

Looks fabulous! I would have to let a serviced apartment so I could cook some of the wonderful produce (because alas, I could not take it home with me).

Esi said...

I love living IFBC vicariously through all the people who got to go. Looks like your first day was amazing. Can't wait to see the rest!

Maryann said...

I used to live very close to the market so this brought back memories. Plus, you used my little "maryann" icon, so I felt like I was really there! haha! :)

5 Star Foodie said...

Thanks for sharing these gorgeous pictures! can't wait to hear about the conference!

vibi said...

You lucky woman! What a week-end!

Elyse said...

Seattle looks wonderful so far! I haven't been back to the city in a while now, but I did love the market. I'm so glad you enjoyed yourself, and I can't wait to see Part II!!

Nina Timm said...

I love the whole market experience through your eyes, but being a singing freak, I would have spend many hours listening to those guys sing!!!

Mary Corbet said...

Now, next stop: Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne, VIC, Australia! That's a great one, too!

Bellini Valli said...

I had the opportunity to visit Pike Place Market a few weeke3nds ago with Seattle Bites Food Tours.It is a must see kind of place:D

Simple Simon said...

Thank you so much for capturing the essence of Pike Place Market in your blog entry. I lived just a few short blocks from there for 11 years and I often did my weekly shopping by walking down a couple hills and entering that wonderful Seattle institution. I learned about the Food Blog Conference reading your last entry and I am very much interested in attending next year. It looked like a wonderful agenda.

Manggy said...

They ship fish anywhere in the country?! Oh, I am sooo jealous! I can't wait to see you and the new friends you've made next post! :)

Tangled Noodle said...

What a wonderful post! I loved all the colorful photos - not only of the scenery and food but also of the people! I hope to visit Seattle some day and see these wonderful sights myself.

Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us; I look forward to the details of the conference!

Helene said...

Thanks for the tour, I'm planning to go in June. Can't wait.

noble pig said...

How wonderful and lucky to be there by yourself. The last time I was there I had kids in tow and well, you can hear the complaints right? Can't wait to hear the rest!

Katrina said...

How fun for you, Happy Birthday! And now I REALLY want to go to Seattle just for that awesome market!!! Can't wait to hear and see more of your trip!

The Mulligan Family said...

Hi, Found you from Foodie Blogroll. Love your site. Great post about Pike Market. We live in Salem Oregon... I love taking any opportunity I can to visit Seattle so that I can go to Pikes.

Hope you had a GREAT rest of the trip. How did you like those razor clams??

Simply...Gluten-free said...

It was so great to meet you in person! Glad you are back safe and sound from Seattle. Your pix are great!!! Finally joined twitter - haven't a clue how to do it! I am seriously technology challanged.

TeaLady said...

OH!! WOW!!! Don't you wish you could bring all that home??? Lucky you.

Proud Italian Cook said...

I could get lost for days there! Mr.SGCC, did good, real good!!

dessertobsessed said...

your adventure sounds amazing! i loved reading about your day and all the photos!

Nicisme said...

How wonderful, and great photos too!

City Girl said...

Love the photos. So glad you had such a fantastic time!