Mixing a delicate blend of homegrown ingredients with the tantalizing sensation of new found flavors and textures is what visitors and locals alike will experience on an Eat Seattle tour through Pike Place Market. Whether it be smoked salmon, fresh sausage links, squeaky cheese curds, or yogurt that melts in your mouth, Eat Seattle offers a well-rounded experience suitable for every palate.
The Seattle wind and rain didn’t stop 10 foodies from embarking on a chef-led experience through Pike Place Market on Halloween morning. Le Cordon Bleu graduate Liz McCune, Founder, Eat Seattle, met the day’s culinary students outside of Seattle Coffee Works and provided a few historical nuggets about the surrounding area before heading over to the first stop: Beecher’s Handmade Cheese.
The texture of Beecher’s squeaky cheese is something you have to experience for yourself to fully understand and appreciate. Squeaky cheese, what’s that? It’s exactly as it sounds. And the delicate blending process is also not to be missed. McCune meticulously explained the process of how the Seattle sewer system aids in production of this glorious cheese concoction, and how the ingredients flow freely from farm to table. A sizable helping of Beecher’s Mac & Cheese followed the initial introduction and hooked some of us into returning to the storefront post-tour to have a second helping. We won’t name names.
A quick hop next door to Local Color followed. This 45-seat espresso bistro is a home to locals all year round. With $4 beer and Caffe Vita to pass the time, one might partake in the temptation to pull up a chair and stay awhile. Artists take turns lining their work (all for sale) on the walls stretching toward the back of the house. The Eat Seattle tour sampled fresh vegan doughnuts before heading to the next stop: Frank’s Quality Produce.
How can you feel guilty about eating a piece of doughnut when vibrantly colored vegetables line the very next corner? Obviously this is something McCune had in mind to help her constituents discover the unique sensibility of letting go and getting the grub on. Frank’s Quality Produce offers fresh, local fare for a variety of dish concoctions. There were yellow and purple heads of cauliflower on display, as well as large onions from Eastern Washington. McCune even whipped up an onion-inspired puff pastry the morning of the tour for everyone to share as we walked past the farm stand.
You’ve never had real Greek yogurt until you’ve tried the Australian Greek yogurt found only at Ellenos opposite Rachel the Pig at Pike Place Market. Try saying that five times fast! It’s true. The thick, creamy, unapologetic yogurt is perfectly topped with a splash of natural fruit. Ellenos works with local farmers to produce the best wholesome Greek yogurt imaginable.
Whipping over to Market Spice next door was next on the morning’s agenda. The group indulged in a cup of hot apple cider to keep the chill at bay. Market Spice’s Cinnamon Orange Tea is a fan favorite spanning generations, but if cinnamon and orange are not your cup of tea, not to fret: there are over 200 other blends to keep you warm this winter.
McCune took the party indoors next as we walked past the Atrium Kitchen near Tenzing Momo and over to BB Ranch. This full service butcher shop offers natural, grass-fed meats, including beef, pork, poultry, and game from local ranchers. Vegetarians beware, this is a stop you’ll want to enjoy from a distance as the tour glides through the meat freezer for an <ahem> inside look. Connoisseurs can learn more about BB’s Ranch to Plate program here.
Next door at Britt’s Pickles, take a taste of Curry Kraut, Caraway Kraut, Black Market Kimchi, and more as you learn about the process of pickling for a whole new foodie generation. Whether you enjoy sour, sweet, salty, or spicy, Britt’s has the pickle for you. Want to drink the brine? Go for it, there’s a spigot for that.
From pickles to sausage, we couldn’t imagine a better compliment to continue the tour’s rounded flavor offerings. Uli’s Famous Sausage was the next stop. The group sampled the world famous sausage in the cozy seated spot right next door to the sausage stand. Add a little Curry Ketchup and there’s nothing better. Here’s the cool thing: you can actually try their sausage now and have it shipped back home for later!
It’s impossible to visit Seattle and not enjoy the fresh, local smoked salmon. McCune’s favorite fish joint in Pike Place Market is Pure Food Fish Market. While throwing around large bodies of protein might be enjoyable for some fish markets and their guests, McCune told us she opts for a smaller display where the flavors take center stage instead. You can learn about the fishmongers at Pure Food Fish Market here.
Last, but definitely not least by any stretch of the imagination: indi chocolate. The small batch artisan chocolate store offers everything from chocolate-infused lotion to cacao nibs, chocolate chai tea and coffee. There are even chocolate spice rubs for meats – should that be your thing. The family-owned and operated business is located on the fifth floor of Pike Place Market and cannot be overlooked. Truly, it is an experience worth repeating (try the orange chocolate lotion).
A full list of Eat Seattle partners can be found here.
From Europe to Seattle
For a bit of background, Eat Seattle was founded in February 2015 by McCune. The idea took shape when she spent a year tasting her way through Europe with her husband. While there, they connected with local chefs and foodies. This time abroad encouraged her to research Seattle’s food scene on a deeper level. When she returned to her Seattle home she sought out similar food-educational classes and tours, but didn’t find what she was looking for and decided to create the food educational platform and fun-filled foodie experience she had in mind.
Eat Seattle offers tourists and locals an unparalleled view of how chefs pick and choose their own ingredients on a daily basis. Tour participants learn about the vendors that supply the best chefs in town with their organic produce and sustainable seafood. Unique samples are provided along the route and dietary restrictions are respected.
As with anything, size is important. McCune keeps the class count down to 10 so that a more intimate experience may be had by all. Questions are allowed throughout the tour and social connections between foodies are fostered.