The salty sea air in Seattle is inspiring and lethargic (in a good lazy way!) at the same time. The city itself is alive with tantalizing treats around every corner, but it’s those tasty treats that encourage me to hunker down for a while and see, taste, listen and breathe in the deliciousness that awaits.
Enter: Purple-(thepurplecafe.com) a wine and cheese bar on 3rd and University where the service is unparalleled and the flavors diverse and sprightly. I ordered the ‘Hard to Say’ white wine flight and was pleasantly surprised by the chosen ones that sat infront of me. A Gewürztraminer (by Villa Wolf) that was subtly sweet and friendly, a Georgian specialty (Kindzmarauli Marani Wines Kisi) that was full of fruity sass, and a Chilean white (Cucao Pedro Ximenez) that was soft yet springy, etc. The chosen fare?: Cranberry chicken salad (no lettuce allowed!)- think Waldorf salad minus the mayo, with Northwestern spirit and given extra crunch with a base of celery shavings, and smoked tomato soup which was excellent with a dollop of local goat cheese on top. Be sure to take home a little box of their melt-in-your-mouth house sea salt chocolate caramels.
Another stop along the treasure hunt of cuisine included Peso’s Kitchen (pesoskitchen.com), a local favorite Spanish joint famous for it’s eclectic decor and cocktails (Try: ‘Beijing tapwater’- their self proclaimed ‘citywide phenomenon’). Have a taste of the Lemongrass-Chipotle Chicken Lettuce Cups and Rockfish and Shrimp Ceviche. Bonus: They serve fresh made salsa (flavors vary daily) and warm from the fryer chips while you wait.
Further towards the western waters we visited Miners Landing on the pier and checked out Fisherman’s (fishermansrestaurantseattle.com) for a towering seafood appetizer platter like none I’d ever seen. The crab cakes (with Asian cabbage-cuke slaw) were to die for- savory and sweet, spicy and refreshing, crunchy crust yet tender centers… I’m salivating all over again.
Now, let’s get to the real goods here, my Mecca; or shall we call it by it’s more common name, Pike Place Market (1st & Pike, pikeplacemarket.org). Head there early in the morning to experience the fish mongers center stage. As fresh catch sails through the air, be sure to sample the smoked salmon from one of the local seafood stalls. They are super friendly and knowledgable. Best of all, most of them will ship your selection anywhere. Pike place is almost sensory overload. From the flying fish, to the fragrant floral bouquets wrapped in paper, the fresh local produce to the dried fruits and spices, you can find it all here at this historical city gathering place. Local artisans and crafters also set up shop here to sell their wares.
Don’t miss: Rainer cherries, the original Pike Place Starbucks, $5 peony arrangements.