Saturday, November 16, 2019

Eat Seattle Tour of Pike Place Market Tour #WGTravel #eatseattle #pikeplacemarket #foodietravel

Earlier this year, The Weekend Gourmet team enjoyed a memorable morning exploring Seattle's iconic Pike Place Market during a fun and informative Eat Seattle Chef-Guided Food Tour. This foodie mecca is located in Downtown Seattle. It has tons of space to explore for a relaxing -- and tasty --morning or afternoon. It's also a hugely popular tourist Seattle attraction...attracting 15 million + visitors each year. Pike Place Market is quite large...with more than 500 storefronts located over nine acres. That means a guided tour is an ideal way to make the most of your time at the Market! Pike Place Market is comprised of a farmer's market, lots of great specialty food vendors and dining options, and a craft market. The Pike Place Market historic district was created by the City of Seattle in 1971 to protect and preserve the Market...and its buildings...from future commercial development -- and to safeguard it for generations to come. If you love food? Then Pike Place Market is a must-visit attraction when visiting Seattle!

Eat Seattle's signature chef-led Pike Place Market tour takes small groups on a 2-hour walking tour of the Pacific Northwest by tasting some of the Market's very best artisan vendors. Our tour guide Chef Liz was friendly and informative. She helped us focus our tastings on the best of the Market and our personal tastes...and she shared a bit about Pike Place Market's history. Our tour included stops at the following vendors: Ellenos Yogurt, Frank's Quality Produce, Chukar Cherries, Beecher's Handmade Cheese, Pure Food Fish Market, Uli's Famous Sausage, and Pike Place Chowder. Helpful hint: Pike Place Market has vendors that are located both indoors and outdoors -- so be sure to dress appropriately for the weather when you visit!
Our first tasting of the morning was at Ellenos Yogurt. This ultra-creamy, rich Greek yogurt was served with a swirl of sweet-tart fresh rhubarb. We absolutely loved this yogurt! Michael and I agreed that it's literally the best we've ever tasted...if we could only get it here in Texas! At the moment, this small-batch artisan yogurt is only available in the Pacific Northwest. Guess we'll have to come back to Seattle to get some more! Our next stop was to enjoy fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables at Frank's Quality Produce. This family-owned produce stand hand selects and trims its fresh produce every morning. Their produce is absolutely gorgeous -- colorful and nicely sized! We sampled some of their juicy, sweet cotton candy grapes.
From there, Liz led us inside the Market to visit more vendors. Our first stop inside was Chukar Cherries. This local family-owned company has been growing cherries in Washington since 1988. Their Pike Place location opened in 1991. Chukar offers a wide range of products at their Pike Place location -- including naturally sweet dried cherries, decadent chocolate-dipped dried cherries. and flavored nuts. We sampled five Chukar items and were really impressed! The dried cherries were plump and moist..bursting with tart cherry flavor. 
There are so many beautiful sights and smells to experience while exploring Pike Place Market...and not just food! We also saw huge displays of colorful fresh flower bouquets available for purchase! Our next food stop was to sample authentic savory Bavarian sausages at Uli's Famous Sausage. German Master Butcher Uli Lengenberg opened the doors of his combination butcher shop/restaurant at Pike Place Market in 2000. This is the real deal, y'all! All sausages are made fresh in house daily from quality meats and authentic seasonings. The end result is a wide variety of juicy, flavorful sausages. We sampled a classic German combination: pork sausage links paired with tangy sauerkraut. So good!
After enjoying our savory sausages, we made our way to Pure Food Fish Market to take in their amazing variety of fresh and smoked Pacific Northwest seafood. Talk about history...Pure Food Fish Market has been selling freshly caught seafood at Pike Place Market since 1911!! To say they "know seafood" is an understatement. The wide variety of seafood available for purchase here is mind blowing. We sampled some of their delicious made-in-house smoked good! 
Another Pike Place Market tip: be sure to come HUNGRY! All of the samples included in our Eat Seattle tour were starting to make us full...but we still had a few stops left to make. Chef Liz led us back outside, where we made our way over to Beecher's Handmade Cheese. Their iconic, award-winning cheese has been a favorite of mine for I knew we were in for a treat. We sampled cubes of their signature aged Flagship cheese on well as their "World's Best" Mac & Cheese. The Mac & Cheese was creamy and rich...and bursting with a sharp cheese flavor. It got this name for a reason, folks!

The final stop of our tour was at one of Pike Place Market's most popular locations: Pike Place Chowder. Hungry visitors line up  to purchase a cup of their creamy, award-winning clam chowder. It definitely did not disappoint! It was rich and creamy, with plenty of clams and chunks of potato. What a satisfying end to our tour! With that, we bid Chef Liz goodbye. Then? We decided to make one final stop before we left Pike Place Market.
The Pike Place Starbucks store -- i.e., the Original Starbucks -- is the first Starbucks location. It opened at Pike Place Market in 1971. We love Starbucks, so it was pretty cool to visit where all that coffee goodness began! The beverage menu is nearly identical to Starbucks locations across the country, but the look and decor is quite different. The Pike Place location has kept its early appearance over time, and it's subject to design guidelines due to its historic significance. It's definitely a tourist attraction for Seattle visitors, so anticipate a line that goes out the front door!
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With that, our morning of exploring Pike Street Market was finished. We were caffeinated and ready for a busy afternoon exploring Seattle. I highly recommend Eat Seattle's Chef-Guided Pike Place Market Tour! The chef tour guides are friendly and knowledgeable...and they really help streamline the large complex to ensure you visit Pike Place Market's very best food vendors! Tours last 2 hours and include up to 16 different tastings. Tickets are $49.99 per person and can be booked online ahead of your visit -- which I highly recommend. One of the things we liked best about our Eat Seattle tour was that they feature groups of no more than 10 people! Eat Seattle is a registered and approved tour of Pike Place Market. All of their chef tour guides are required t0 pass a Market administered exam to ensure all of our history, building, vendor and history facts are current and accurate.

Disclosure: Eat Seattle provided The Weekend Gourmet's four-person team a private chef-led Pike Place Market Tour to facilitate this feature. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

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