Antoine and I woke up bright and early on the day of our anniversary, with a long list of things on the itinerary. We exchanged cards/gifts, gushed and even cried a little. Then we got our butts in gear, got ready and headed toward Pike Place Market. You may remember the how much we loved the Edible Canada tour of the Vancouver's Granville Market. It, surprisingly enough, turned out to be our favorite part of that trip! So, when we were researching things to do in Seattle, Pike Place Market was a definite must. So when we saw that Savor Seattle offered at tour of the market, we knew we had to try it and see how it compared.
A couple things to note about the tour, it's kind of pricey. But, if you're a foodie who likes learning about the history of a place and getting a behind the scenes tasting tour of some of the best spots in the market then you'll realize that it's totally worth the price tag. Plus, with the Savor Seattle tour you get a little VIP card that gives you discounts on at all of their affiliated vendors, and that includes restaurants throughout the city. This ended up being a great little tool for us and guided us on what restaurants to check out while we were in Seattle and saved us probably $15 in the market and around the city. Plus, our tour guide Nick gave us incredible suggestions on places to check out and there wasn't a place that we tried that disappointed us. They know their stuff at Savor Seattle...just check the reviews on Yelp!
The tour met up in the theater that happens to be at the gum wall. Antoine and I were early for the tour so naturally we brought some gum and contributed to the wall. The original gum wall is actually pretty full so the gum has migrated to the other side of the alley. That's where we put our gum, directly on a sign that said not to put your gum here...oops!
It was our anniversary, so we obviously made a heart out of our two pieces of gum!
The tour took us around the market tasting a variety of goodies from chai tea to three different kinds of smoked salmon. From chowder to dried and chocolate covered cherries. It was a lot of delicious samples and suprisingly, I liked all of it. There wasn't one sample, out of easy twenty, that I didn't like. Savor Seattle is very conscious of food allergies and when you book your tour they ask for a list of allergies and dislikes. And then, day of, our guide Nick made sure everyone got to try something at almost every vendor. So the lady who didn't eat fish, got a vegan chowder and a chicken chili at Pike Place Chowder. It was nice and very accommodating. (And she seemed really pleased with both samples!)
I will also say that Nick was awesome about people who were taking pictures. He'd stop and pause while he was handing out samples so the photographers in the group could get a good shot.
Our tour guide, Nick, at Beecher's Cheese.
Oh, and also...Nick was a kickass tour guide. Have I mentioned that already?! Like I said, he recommended places to eat inside and outside the market to try. Sometimes even very specific dishes, like the peanut butter cookies at Dahlia Bakery. He gave us a historical background of the market that was entertaining and informative. And he told the corniest jokes, which I loved! I was actually quoting things he'd said after the tour...particularly the one when he referred to himself as a cute baby triceritops (with a plate of food samples) that we had to surrounded and protect from the evil, T-rex-like onlookers who might try to get at our tasty sample with their little T-rex arms. Love it! He referred to it as the Costco complex...people flock to seemingly free samples and hone in. Hence the surround-and-protect-your-tour-guide maneuver.
While it wasn't just the two of us on the tour (like Vancouver, in the off season), Nick referenced each of the 11 or so people on the tour by their first names and somehow gave us each some one-on-one attention. Oh, and you could tell he actually loved the food we were all sampling. It was so obvious but made all the difference. If you take the tour and get Nick as your tour guide consider yourself lucky!
A view of the market from the other end.
That is food porn, people. Take it in and be sad you can't eat it.
There were a couple of things that we sampled on the tour that we absolutely loved and had to get more of...like Beecher's Cheese and smoked salmon which we took back home as gifts (as well as some for ourselves). But when it came to deciding what to have for lunch in the market, the decision was so easy...soup from Pike Place Chowder. Before our tour I had never tried a clam chowder I liked, but then I tasted this. And surprisingly enough, my favorite (even over the tasty chowder) was the seafood bisque. If someone would have said "Jessica, you are going to love the seafood bisque at Pike Place Chowder! It is going to be like magic on your tongue and you are going to crave it once you get home!!", I would have laughed in that person's face. But, it's true. That stuff was like a magical unicorn baby that shot rainbows out of it's horn. And when Antoine and I sat down for lunch, he in front of clam chowder and me in front of my bisque, I swear we didn't say anything for a couple minutes. We were lost in a wonderland of rich, creamy broth and the freshest seafood imaginable. If I lived in Seattle I would get this once a week, no joke.
Oh, and no Pike Place Market tour would be complete without a demonstration of the famous fish throwing! Lucky for me, I was front and center with my camera ready. So I decided to make my first ever GIF, since the photos were really just begging for it...
I'm pretty happy with how the GIF turned out. Even happier that I didn't actually get hit in the face by a fish! But all in all, the market tour was a blast and I'd highly recommend it to anyone, especially if they've never been to the market before. The food, guides and history lesson are all top notch.
Have you been to Pike Place Market? What was your favorite part?
Check out what we did after our tour and lunch at Pike Place Market here and here.
*Savor Seattle did not ask me to write this post, nor did they compensate me. It was just a fantastic tour that I wanted to share with you all.