Seattle Spring 2009: Seattle Bites Food Tours at Pike Place Market

ChowtimesNoWord32x32This is a complementary tour from Seattle Bites Food Tours.

We had been to the Pike Place Market for so many times we have actually lost count. After a first two visits we thought we had seen everything. When I told a friend that we’re going to the Pike Place Market (again!), I remember him telling me that the place is so boring, nothing to see and do.

This time it is different. This time we were there for a purpose … to learn, to experience and to chow!


I can’t think of anyone who had been to Seattle and had not visited the Pike Place Market. After all, this place is the oldest farmer’s market in the US and is considered the mother of all public markets.

I am going to do this story in two parts. Today, I am going to share with you a little about what we learned at the Pike Place Market. I am going to also describe the Seattle Bites Food Tour. Tomorrow, it will be all about the food at the Pike Place Market … awesome food, and lots of it too.


We had an invite from the Seattle Bites Food Tours to experience the Pike Place Market in a way that is not possible if you are there on your own. When we got the invite we jumped on it. It so happened too that I had to clear my vacation days (which had ballooned to over six weeks).

We went with the primary expectation of tasting the food. What we encountered was beyond our expectations. Not only is this a walking food tour but it is also a historical journey of the Pike Place Market.


The meeting point was at the Seattle Art Museum which is located one block from Pike Place Market. We met Jan Marie Johnson who was our guide for the tour. She is very familiar with the market and knows the merchants very well.

We had a little tour of the Seattle Art Museum where Jan Marie pointed out to us many interesting facts and historical buildings around the Art Museum.


Suanne and I were given personal listening devices. It was particularly useful when walking through the din in the market. What I like is that this allows me to roam away to have a closer look at other stores while at the same time keeping in touch with what is being said.


We were also issued shopping bags in the event we wanted to buy anything from the market or from the places we went to.


The history of the Pike Place Market started way back in the early 1900’s. You know where the exact place where it all began? It was at where the UPS truck you see above. Jan went on to describe (illustrated with old photos) of the early days — I felt that I was there!

Throughout the entire 2.5 to 3 hour tour, Jan Marie brought us through starting with the events leading to the founding of the public market, to the depression era, the expansion years, World War II, the near demolition of the place and to the modern day. It is today a flourishing public market like no other.


We had always wonder about the bronze pig at the entrance of the Pike Place Market. This is Rachel and it’s a real piggy bank. This piggy bank has in it just about every kind of currency in the world.


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Searching on Chowtimes

We received an email from a chowtimes reader (Eric) who asked us if there is a better way to look for restaurants on the site. In particular, Eric was asking if he could look for, say, all Chinese restaurants in Burnaby. Yes, you can … to a great extend.

I can understand Eric’s needs. Chowtimes had grown over the years with a large throve of information. Getting to what you want is not always easy.


We always had on the sidebar a listing of categories by cuisine. Over the many years, we had amassed quite a lot of restaurant reviews (almost 400 now). Some of the categories were too large. We wished we had the time to go back and revamp the categories but that would involve way too much work. The above is hierarchical view by categories.


As a short term solution, Suanne and I had spent a couple of days and categorized all restaurant reviews by the cities in Metro Vancouver. We are categorizing only Metro Vancouver because most of our restaurant review readers are from Vancouver. That list above may help a little.

But what I wanted to point out to you is our Tag Cloud.


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Free Easy Recipes


rrlogoBen is a picky eater, despite him always declaring that he is not.

He is.

He definitely is.

So is Arkensen.

So is Nanzaro … they are ALL picky eaters.

Because of this alone, cooking meals for them is such a difficult thing. Without fail, they would ask at least once a day “what’s for dinner?” … each! I know the boys, they all expect me to cook something different, something nice, something like what I blog about from the Community Kitchens.

Believe it or not … I had only started cooking way after I had gotten married. Yup … mum and maid did all the cooking at home and I never had to do any cooking at all. It was only the past few years I started cooking … serious and not kidding. I started just a few short years before I got pulled into this food blogging madness by Ben!

Now you know that I had no formal nor informal cooking training. I rely a lot on the internet to get many of my recipes. So, a site like Free Recipes from is heaven sent to me. (more…)

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Threaded Comments Now on

Whew. That was a lot of work. We had just migrated chowtimes to the the latest template. I hope you like the softer colors better. I personally like this better myself.

In the earlier template I had a choice of 10 (dark) colors to play with. I like changing colors because it gives a fresh new look without having to revamp the entire site.

But with this new upgrade template, I have an additional ten lighter choices. I think food sites look better in softer colors, don’t you think? The dark colors looked more … errr … “corporatey”.

What is really cool is that chowtimes now supports “threaded” (or “nested”) comments. You can now respond to individual comments if you want to. Your comments will be nested correctly so that you can follow the discussions better.


Some of the posts have lots of comments, like this one on Moist Chocolate Cake which has almost 100 comments. Such posts with that many comments makes the page outrageously long. This new template now supports “paged” comments.

I am still working out the kinks on this new template but let me know if you find anything wrong so that I can attend to it. For your info, this template works well with Firefox and Google Chrome but has some problems with the utterly hopeless IE.

For you WordPress bloggers out there who are looking for a site facelift, the following is a sales pitch …


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