The meeting point of the Seattle Bites Food Tours was at the Seattle Art Museum. We initially thought it was kind of odd meeting one block away from the Pike Place Market. It was later then we realized what a perfect place to start off the food tours.
Yesterday, I blogged about the historical aspect of the Pike Place market. Today it is about the many type of food we sampled on the tour. There were altogether seven major stops we made.
This is what Suanne and I had always enjoyed … not just tasting the food but also learning about the stories behind the food, the people and the place.
We met at the informal public seating area just outside the TASTE Restaurant at about 10AM. We were specifically told by Jan Marie to come hungry and to even try to hold off our coffee fix at TASTE — we love this kind of instructions! So, we did not have a bite at all and even not have a sip of the free coffee in the hotel room.
It was a good start … we had a nice hot cup of latte and capp. Some of you remembered that the north west had a freak snowy day on April 1st this year. That morning was cold and wet and so it was a real welcome to have a hot cup of freshly brewed drink in hand.
From the looks of it, TASTE looks just like any contemporary west coast style restaurants. We learned a lot of this restaurant in the tour here as this is no ordinary restaurant.
We were treated to the Smoked Salmon Flatbread. This simple but absolutely delicious item is created by the chef of TASTE with local ingredients. I first started off with just one piece but it was so good that Suanne and I ended up finishing the entire plate.
The amazing thing behind TASTE is that the people behind the food actually personally go to the farms and learn about how the food was grown. They had to work the combines in harvesting the wheat so that they have a better understanding of how their ingredients are produced. They even had to experience the catching of salmon. They work closely with the source of their farmers and fishermen. I was very impressed with the seriousness they take to provide the best.
On every table in TASTE, you will not see ordinary condiments. They are heavily into making sure everything is organic. But what they had on the table is their very own Signature Salt. It was good … not too salty but infused with lots of flavours. We can catch some cinnamon but am not sure what else is there. You got to try this one.
Next time we are in Seattle, we will definitely come here for dinner.
Crepe de France
Crepe de France was our next stop. Crepe de France started off as a small stall at the entrance of Pike Place Market way back in 1991.
It was only three years ago, they moved into this much bigger lot.
Crepe de France is very much a family restaurant. They went to Paris to learn the art of making crepes from the city that is famous for crepes. I remembered the excellent crepes I had when I was in Paris (see here).
All the people we met on the food tour are such friendly and genuine people. We got to chat with Michael who was telling us about his first vacation to Vegas — he is a funny young man.
We had Nutella Chocolate Crepes. It was awesome and yummy — especially when we had followed Jan Marie’s advice to come hungry. We sat by the counter overlooking the kitchen area and listening to Michael’s tales. We enjoyed ourselves a lot.
They make all kinds of crepes. One day we will return and try their specials, like goat cheese crepes! When you are there in Crepe de France and feel adventurous, ask Michael (or Nani, his mum) for these specials.
One thing I fail to mention earlier (and I did not have photos of this) … in every place we stopped at we were given drinks that goes well with the choice of food. Most of them are Dry Soda with lots of uncommon flavours like celery, kumquat, lavender, lemon grass, rhubarb, etc. We were served Dr Brown Cel-Ray here — a popular pop in New York.
I Love NY Deli
Say you’re from New York and had been staying in rainy Seattle for sometime already. You suddenly feel homesick and badly wanted a taste from home. So, where do you go?
You go to the place where everything is shipped directly from New York.
I Love NY Deli is located at the row of food stalls by the entrance of the Pike Place Market. You will not miss this stall … just look for the guys who had kitchen utensils on their head. Maybe it is something about the water here in Pike Place Market (or something like that) … the people here are so wacky, cheerful and happy.
So what did we have?
Very New Yorky … Pastrami Sandwich, Potato Knish and crunchy pickles.
The Pastrami sandwich was very good and brought back memories of the sandwich I had at Katz Deli which I had blogged about before.
Some of the best Knishes you could find are from New York for sure. It is a common and popular Jewish snack food. The I Love NY Deli has a wide variety of Knishes here too.
And NY snacks that you will normally not find in Seattle. This is certainly a place for home sick New Yorkers … or for someone who wants to have a taste of authentic New York food.
Ask for their Kick Ass Reuben.
We went next to Corner Produce. It is called this because … well … it is located at the strategic corner of Pike St and Pike Place.
We had a stop here to taste some unique fruits like these blood orange above. There were quite a lot of tasting.
Jazz Apples. Not that I am an expert with apples but I had never come across Jazz apples before.
We also tried some Muscatel grapes … the ones that are used to make the wines we will be tasting later on this tour.
The Cara Cara Red Navels was sweet … very low acidity. Oranges should all taste like this.
This one is called Grapple. It is supposed to taste like grapes and as much as I tried but it really tasted more like, well, apple. LOL!
And there were also lots of berries.
Pike Place Chowder
The next place was a discovery for us. We did know even know this place existed from our many previous trips … but … what a find.
The Pike Place Chowder had won the Great Chowder Cook-Off for three years in a row. This is no mean feat because the Great Chowder Cook-off (held in Newport, Rhode Island) is considered the premier chowder competition in the US with participation from 25 states.
We tried three types of chowders: Seafood, Salmon and Scallop. In summer, they make and sell 45 gallons of the Seafood Chowder alone. The chowders were absolutely delicious … all three of them. But if you ask me what I like best, I would say the seafood.
Pure Food Fish Market
We next headed to the Pure Food Fish Market. We did not spend a lot of time here because we were running late.
It was also a very busy time when we got there. So, over here we did not get to really speak to the fishmongers. It would had been awesome if we could have given a tour of the seafood that Pike Place Market is so famous for.
Instead, we had some samples of Smoked Salmon and Salmon Teriyaki (the darker piece above). They smoke these from fresh salmon, not frozen. They were certainly better than any we ever had before.
Uli’s Famous Sausage, Inc.
Just a couple of doors away was Uli’s Famous Sausage.
We love this place. Richard was simply hilarious and unbelievably cheerful guy — talk to him and every sentence he uttered is so funny. So here we had entertainment besides sausages and beer.
We just missed Uli by minutes. Uli is a German Master Butcher. If you come here, ask to see Uli’s photos … including his baby pictures. You will love it, I promise.
We had three selection of sausages … the Rare Greek sausage. This one was minty. The sausages here is made on site.
The Regular German sausage was what Uli is famous for. His tasty sausages are of the highest standard and contain no coloring agents or preservatives (except where safety dictates). All recipes have been time-tested, and combine long tradition with creative flair. The result is uncompromising quality and outstanding taste!
Our favourite was the Cajun sausage because it is spicy. Oh, I forgot to include the picture of their dips … particularly, the house made curry ketchup was very good.
German sausages has to go with German beer. I totally forgot what the beer was.
Rose’s Chocolate Treasures
Next up was chocolate. Frankly, by this time we were so full already.
The Rose’s Chocolate Treasures is located at the Post Alley.
As expected, we had a lesson on the production of chocolates. We tasted some raw cacao beans. It was kind of bitter and is like dark chocolate … very dark chocolates without any sweetening.
The chocolates were so pretty and it was really hard to concentrate on what was said with so much mouth watering chocolates around.
Many of them has some uncommon flavours … like the above Wasabi Nori.
We get to choose some for tasting … choosing was difficult. I choose the uncommon varieties. The round one was curry … weird taste. The one in maple leave shape is bacon … and they have bacon bits in it, real ones.
La Buona Tavola
We capped off the Food Tour with wine. We were brought to this place called La Buona Tavola.
This place is about wine … the best of Italian wines. We were taken on a journey of Italian wines. The wines we tasted were hand picked which ensures that there are no unripe grapes.
In all, we tried four types of wines … starting from northern Italy.
The Prosecco is a sparkling wine with grapes grown in the region of Veneto in northern Italy. It looks like champagne and closely resembles champagne.
In Italy, wines are never drank alone and has to be paired with food. So here we had a lesson of pairing wines to food. With the Prosecco, we had raspberry jam. In Italy, the food is chewed before swallowing and drank with the wine to get a burst of flavour.
The second wine we tasted was the Verdicchio Dei Castelli from the region of Marche. The story has it that Mr Marchete only picks the top 1/3 of his crop to make this wine to ensure top quality. Also from the processing, he only skims off the top 40% of the yield.
While this is white wine, it is big body and tastes like red wine.
The Verdiccho Dei Castelli is best served in temperature and not chilled, to get full flavour. We were served green olive cream with this.
There were altogether four types of wines we tasted. It was interesting learning of viscosity, what goes with spicy food, etc.
To cap it all off, the wine shop also gave us popcorns which was flavoured with truffle oil and salt.
It was a very good, entertaining and learning experience. The food was good and we appreciate learning about what we ate. There are so many stories behind the Pike Place Market, the people and the food.
If you plan to make a trip to the Pike Place Market, I highly recommend that you attend this tour. For the food you get to taste and the things you learn here, I find this value for money (although we did not have to pay for this tour).
You can book a tour on the Seattle Bites Food Tours on their website … http://seattlebitesfoodtours.com