As my first visit to the Pacific Northwest, I was expecting rain, fir trees and delicious seafood from Seattle. While I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of moisture, even though the sun was out the city does have a certain darker, misty, grungy vibe like the thing to do is see a show, climb Mt. Rainer and reflect in a coffee shop. I was not expecting an awesome pier town where almost everything is boat accessible, including the University of Washington football stadium. Another bonus, they serve Ivar's clam chowder all over town - the stadium, the airport, wherever you are there is no shortage of fresh chowda. We saw the Flagship Nordstrom's, the first Starbucks, and the real hospital they film Grey's Anatomy in (yes, they actually rent out a floor in Seattle; it's not just a sound stage in LA).
But with all the iconic landmarks, the food undoubtably impressed me the most. Here are a few of the must-eat stops around "the Peerless City."
Pike's Place Market
The staple indoor/outdoor farmer's market on the water, Pike's Place is a cross between Navy Pier in Chicago and Reading Terminal Market in Philly. With a slew of fresh caught seafood, the fishermen booths make a show out of tossing the larger than life fish around. Enjoy numerous bakeries, $5 flower bouquets, organic farm fresh produce, homemade arts and crafts and worldy goods as you stroll the multi-level open air market. Try to go during off-peak hours as it gets crazy busy and hard to walk through on the weekends.
Touted the best chowder in town, we can't disagree, though we didn't try many else to compare. Located directly on the pier near the Aquarium, watch the yachts and houseboats as you indulge in the fresh catch of the day. Seattle is known for their planked salmon and halibut and both will melt in your mouth.
Great for group gatherings or the fam if you don't mind waiting upwards of an hour for a table, enjoy a group "seafeast" fiesta. Order a platter to share and all the goods are dumped straight on the table to enjoy. Recommended to us was the "Pacific clambake," which includes steamed clams, mussels, dungeness crab, snowcrab, oysters, shrimp, halibut, salmon, andouille sausage, corn and red potatoes aka no shortage of food. Don the signature bib and get to cracking with a hammer and other tools. No one seemed to mind the delicious Cajun spices that'll cake your hands.
The Crumpet Shop
The highlight of my trip, this adorable little mom and pop shop is in an alley of hidden gems right near the market. Try both a sweet and savory crumpet (a cross between a pancake and an English muffin). The favorite was the Vermont maple butter with cream cheese and walnuts. Seattlers love cream cheese and put it on everything - eggs, hot dogs, you name it. They also have an all you can drink tea service with my favorite, the rare South African rooibos.
Beecher's Handmade Cheese
If you ever dreamt of bathing in a giant vat of cheese, well, you won't get that chance, but there is a plethora of cheese to taste and it is crafted in giant vats. With mac and cheese chosen as one of Oprah's favorite things, Beecher's is the only artisan cheese shop in Seattle, so popular they recently opened a second outpost in the Flatiron District in New York.