Okay, last bit.
Getting to the Pike Place Market around 7 am is a good idea, especially on a Saturday, which I would not fully appreciate until about four hours later when the crowd is so bad you have trouble getting around. We had a short list of things folks here recommended--a good number of them from The Travelin Man and one strong recommendation in particular from ayersian. We started at that one, The Crumpet Shop:
The counter where an absolutely delightful staff will take your order:
We settled on ricotta and orange marmalade for me, and Julie got the variation on the maple butter crumpet that also included a schmear of cream cheese and walnuts. Hot tea for Julie and crazy-good hot chocolate for me:
The counter guy must have had our number right off; he said "I'm gonna cut these in half so you girls don't fight." Julie said 'oh, it's penuche' when she bit into the maple butter crumpet. She was very stingy with the sharing, as I recall, and when she was finished she said 'Tell Chris (ayersian) I owe him a beer the next time we see them.' Which is not to downplay the ricotta/orange marmalade version, but that maple butter one is fantastic.
A crumpet, for those like me who were not quite sure, is like a pancake cooked in a ring on a griddle so it's about an inch thick and maybe five inches across. We sat up front near the window facing the street, right next to the griddle and this was my best shot of about three tries at a good picture:
He arranges the rings on the griddle, pours batter, discards the cooked crumpets into a big bowl, and goes again with the rings. The Crumpet Shop is also charmingly accommodating:
And if we'd been to the produce stalls before we got there we probably would have taken advantage of that. Hey, by the way, the colorful poster behind the sign is for some Wagnerian-style farce having to do with barbecue. I was intrigued, but not enough to actually remember the name of the production.
We spent some time walking through the flower stalls
goggling at the seafood on display
looking at the interesting signs
and decided to spend the rest of the morning wandering about--we walked down to the pier where the giant cruise ship was docked, and along the waterfront--and hitting various food stops whenever we felt like a bite. I did not take a picture of the $.70 worth of luscious gold-and-red Rainier cherries we bought for a walking nosh, but they were lovely. When we started back eating, we could not resist Jack's Fish Spot:
Part of the menu:
I ordered off the other half of the menu, and got fried halibut (and the angels sang) and chips:
From this point on we got wise and started doing splitsies so we'd have more overall room to try things. We savored these babies because we knew they'd likely be our last Pacific halibut for a while, and those fries were no slouch either. Eeeexcellent. Now, while we were seated at the crowded counter waiting for our food, I noticed the name 'Strom' on one of the many signs hanging around and I peered closer to investigate:
So it would seem that Jack is kind of a CNN troubadour, and has penned several original songs in response to news and culture topics of the day. We located the lyric sheet for 'Weeping Willow,' the song about Strom Thurmond and racism; if you go to the large-size version of this picture at flickr http://farm3.static.flick...37621_8c667c6366_b.jpg
you can actually read the lyrics. Personally I think he's giving Strom more credit than he's due, but it's a lovely sentiment throughout.
Huh, fried fish *and* entertainment. Was not expecting that.
So we made our way to a few more stops. Julie always wants to check out the soups and chowders so we stood in line at Pike Place Chowders:
What to choose, what to choose. We went with the basic clam chowder, and a strawberry lemonade:
You get both french bread and oyster crackers for accompaniment. The chowder had a very creamy, smooth base and as much clam as potato. Really delicious. We walked this off a bit by shopping--Julie bought a necklace--and looking through the produce:
and then we needed sweets! We hit the Three Girls Bakery, which has a charming wood-and-glass-cabinet paneled stall with a front window and a small counter with seats in back. Some goodies in the cases:
That's from left an Earl Grey cookie, a chocolate drop, and a macaroon brownie. They had about four or five brownie variations in the case and Julie wrestled with herself mightily--she loves plain old brownies so much that they really don't need any fanciness for her to be delighted, but she's beset with the idea that she'll miss out on a great variation, so she chose the macaroon and ended up picking out all the macarooniness about halfway through. These were all quite good--the Earl Grey tasted exactly like the tea, the chocolate drop cookie was a big chunk of fudge in the middle of a not-too-sweet buttery cookie. With a cup of hot green tea this was a perfect polishing off to a great day.
Let's see, what else. If I were ten percent more of a rube I'd have happily taken a picture of the six-foot-tall Glamazon fixing her teased updo and makeup in the Macy's ladies room where we stopped before getting back on the train.
We had a lot of wonderful home food this trip too--my mother's oven-roasted ribs. My brother (the chef!) made me a wonderful crepe with yogurt and strawberries. My grandmother's shrimp chowder and jello-cream-cheese-pretzel-crust Lutheran church lady congealed salad, and the two jars of cherry-rhubarb jam she pressed into my suitcase after I spent the week decimating the jar she had in the fridge.
We had a lot of fun on this trip. Thanks for tagging along!