Getting the can open, however, is a pain in the…neck. It required sifting through the utility drawer to employ three different can openers all which I concluded were worthless. My wife and I determined that it was time, regardless of cost, to acquire the Rolls Royce of can openers.
The Pike Place Market (0.39 miles from the Convention Center) is nirvana for the gourmand. Not only is it a destination for incessant eating of every conceivable ethnicity, it is also a source of all possible food items and the tools to prepare them.
Any trip to the Market should be begun as soon as possible. By noon all the amateurs are there and pedestrian traffic increasingly becomes dysfunctional. And, since the wise begin early the sine qua non initial stop should be Le Panier (self described as “the very French bakery”).
Getting there you will probably walk by the original Starbucks. So now you can say you have seen it; keep walking. The coffee is far better at Le Panier and with a dizzying array of savory as well as sweet pastries.
During the rest of my shopping natives looked covetously at my shopping bag; when I got home the bags were largely spotted with the butter oozing from the pastry.
There are of course many other bakeries at the market such as Chinese, Russian (e.g. rich pierogies that leave you paralyzed after eating one). Fortunately, though, my appetite is on hold for hours after a visit to Le Panier.
Tourists should be sure to go to the fish stalls to see the renowned flying fish at the Pike Place Fish Market. Years ago the staff at the fish stalls developed a routine to amuse themselves as well as to entertain customers and drum up business and which makes their work fun -- buying selecting and buying fish is quite the performance. You request 2 lb. of salmon, for example, the clerk waiting on you yells your order across the store, and another wraps it up and throws it like a football to the one who called in your order while he and his colleagues bark back and forth like seals. (Guess you’ll have to go there to appreciate it.)
Walking through the many different stalls you immediately get great intentions about going home and later making incredible meals and you leave with bags of incredible fresh vegetables (of course they were less expensive 3 stalls down you discover after buying them), and fruit that you are compelled to sample as you continue shopping, meat, and then you have to buy a bouquet of flowers.
My friends were return visitors, so they had certain destinations in mind. An ongoing favorite on their list was Milagros, an incredible Mexican folk art store that specializes in Oaxacan works, with many focused on the Day of the Dead. I have frequented this store for years and have acquired a number of black Oaxacan pottery pieces in the process.
Another of my favorite stops is the Seattle Cutlery Store. While I no longer need any more chefs’ knives I like to go in and ogle and fondle the amazing merchandise. My son has a new found interest in making sushi and wanted a specific Japanese sushi chef’s knife, but determining I’d need to finance a small loan I deferred that purchase.
So based upon the power of suggestion we dodged the many street musicians and walked a few steps down to the Pike and Western Wine Shop. While hardly Seattle’s best wine shop it has a nice array of wines from around the world, and a good representation from the Northwest, as well as a nice collection of appropriate vintage specific Riedel stemware. After all, after buying all the other groceries you need to complete the meal – right? Therefore this shop is very convenient. The pal accompanying me is a white wine drinker, so we left with several excellent bottles of Oregon Pinot Gris.
And, yes, I got the can opener – some state of the art German gadget at the market at Sur La Table – a mecca for cooks. Sur La Table is another of those dangerous places where you find yourself surrounded by things you don’t need but suddenly feel compelled to have. If you visit there perhaps you should only bring cash.
While I managed to frequently exercise my charge card, fortunately this was a short trip to the Market, as my friends and I were en route to the Experience Music Project (location for the NACAC social) to see the current special exhibit American Sabor (the Latin influence in contemporary music; it is great – sorry the exhibit leaves before NACAC).