Hungry in Seattle

pike place market

Join guest blogger Michelle Nelson, All Star’s Senior UX Product Manager, for a mouth-watering tour of the Pike Place Market. 

Working in downtown Seattle for the past 10 years, I’ve spent a lot of lunch hours in the market. There are the well-known restaurants and “hidden gems” that you may already know, but skip the gum wall and let’s take your appetite on an adventure.

You’ll start at DeLaurenti for a customer-focused artisanal cheese-tasting experience. The cheesemongers are always eager to dish out recommendations (and samples!). As you exit through the back door, let your nose be your guide, and indulge in a paper bag of freshly made mini-donuts from The Daily Dozen Doughnuts. The maple bacon ones are decadent and worth a try, but sign me up for the cinnamon sugar every time.

Now it’s time to take that sinful paper sack and dive into the heart of the market. Visitors love the theatrics of the Pike Place Fish Market, and will line up to snap a pic with Rachel, the iconic market pig. Locals know that just behind the fish throwers and cheering tourists is one of the best butchers in town.

don-and-joesStop by the counter at Don & Joe’s Meats for a robust (and esoteric!) selection of high quality provisions, including homemade breakfast links, lamb, duck and quail. These butchers supply some of the best restaurants in town and have never let me down. Ask for a $5 bag of “trail mix” and leave with a Ziploc baggie of house-made jerky and smoked cheddar.

Toss a buck into a busker’s guitar case as you head north into the crowds. Stop by Uli’s Famous Sausages to pick up a few links for later, or step inside for a bite and a beer.

parpadellesKeep going until you reach the bins of colorful pasta at Parpadelle’s, where you’ll be offered a bite of chocolate linguine while you browse. I’m always inspired by their selection: I picked up some incredible saffron orzo last night to go with Uli’s rosemary chicken sausages! The produce guy directly behind you is my favorite – I love that you can pick up bunches of herbs for a dollar apiece, and they always have weird things like rambutan, a lychee lookalike.

Duck out the service door and head across the street, where you’ll find a $4 beer waiting for you at Local Color. This artsy coffee shop is just one block away from All Star HQ, and a great one for people-watching while you catch your breath. There’s almost always a street performer outside to entertain you.

cityfishNext, cross back into the main market arcade through the large door at the bottom of Pine Street, and stop by City Fish to pick up a shrimp cocktail or some oyster shooters. Turn left, heading down the ramp to reach the lesser-known lower floors of the market. If you’re looking for cheap Chinese food with a great view, Pike Place Chinese Cuisine is the place. I recommend getting a sweet sesame ball from the display case at the front door, and continuing on.

Your culinary adventure is almost over, but consider walking to the end of this hallway and checking out “America’s oldest comic shop.” Pick up an old-school Alf lunchbox to show off at the office tomorrow, or a Hello Kitty tote bag to ferry all your market finds.


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