Whether you are on your first or 50th visit to Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington, there is always something new to eat. Vegetarian TravelingMom Judy Antell thought she knew where to eat at Pike Place Market. Then she learned even more at the Early Access VIP Tour with Savor Seattle.
On every trip to Seattle, I stop by Pike Place Market. You can go here for a sit down meal, or to pick up some flowers. You can also scout out free samples and get quite full on an eclectic mix of cuisines. But to learn more about Pike Place Market and try some of the best food, I took a VIP Early Access tour with Savor Seattle.
Early, in this case, meant 9 a.m., which is easy to do when you are still on east coast time. I have gotten up so early on trips to the west coast that I am at the market before the fishermen, before the original Starbucks opens for the day.
Where to eat at Pike Place
Since there are so many options at Pike Place Market, the tour is worthwhile to curate the choices. We sampled food at five different places, and our tour guide pointed out several more. And the stops change, so you can take the food tour again and go to different stands and restaurants.
We started our tour at Indi Chocolate, where we got to know each other. Our group was mostly couples, but we passed other food tour groups run by Savor Seattle that included families. The early start might have deterred those with teens. I was happy that we didn’t start the tour with chocolate; we had this at the end.
Though we were far from the south, Honest Biscuits had perfectly flaky cheddar biscuits to start us off. One of the tidbits we got, along with samples, is that any stand at Pike Place has to be the first. So Starbucks began life here, as a roastery, before its global explosion. But if a place becomes a chain, it isn’t forced to leave.
Sur la Table, the kitchenware store, also started at Pike Place. Beecher’s Handmade Cheese is another place that made it big after starting in the market. And the cheddar in our biscuits? From Beecher’s, of course.
Watching the ‘mongers’ toss around fish at Pike Place Fish is iconic. We got a couple of samples of delicious smoked fish here.We learned that the same fish is thrown back and forth, but it doesn’t go to waste. The fish is served up at the Seattle Aquarium to the residents. Of course, Pike Place Fish only sells 100% sustainable seafood.
Feel good food with a mission
We learned that Pike Place Market has affordable senior housing, along with high quality, low cost day care. Seniors volunteer to read to preschoolers and both young and old work at a garden that grows vegetables and herbs for a food pantry.
Donuts for all
At Daily Dozen Donuts, we had warm, vegetarian cinnamon sugar mini donuts. Everyone else got bacon-topped maple donuts. Our donuts were definitely the highlight of the tour.
This store is jammed with every kind of spice and also sells excellent tea. We got a cup of cinnamon orange tea here. Anybody stopping by can get a sample, but this was a good stop since we could wash down the rest of our donuts. Still, Starbucks? Donuts? I sense a synergy.
Country Dough, which specializes in stuffed Szechuan flatbreads, is a new gem off the beaten path. While everyone else had chicken, we had incurably spicy and tasty tofu sandwiches.
Pike Place for vegetarians
Savor Seattle says it only accommodates non-pork requests, and cannot offer dairy-free or gluten free options. But the tour did provide vegetarian options. Just be sure to note this on your reservation. One guy on our tour didn’t eat pork, but there were only no-meat tastes for me and my husband at our stops.
At the end of the tour, we knew where to eat at Pike Place Market next time. We also got coupons for five chocolate truffles and a new appreciation for Pike Place Market.
Note: I was a guest of Savor Seattle for this Pike Place food tour. Opinions and extra calories are all my own.