's Sites We Love Saveur Magazine has listed The Skinny Gourmet among its "Sites We Love"

I've been having a great time checking out Nashville's high end dining on the cheap thanks to Groupon. Have you tried it yet? Its awesome. I don't know why I ever hesitated.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Seattle's Pike Place Market

Markets are one of my great loves. For me, walking into a marketplace is like emerging from a sensory deprivation chamber. Suddenly you are surrounded by a throng of people with the colors and smells of the market all around. Fish, chocolate, ripe nectarines, and pungent onions all swirl together. Its intoxicating. Shopping in a market is a great way to fall in love with your food.

Shopping a farmer's market is also a wonderful chance to challenge yourself to try some new fresh produce. Find something you barely recognize and chat up the farmer about it. On my trip to Seattle's Pike Place market I bought flowers for the table and found myself inspired by some rhubarb and celery root. Today I post my market adventure, with several photos. Tomorrow recipes for the creations that grew out of the adventure!

Seattle's Pike Place Market is a landmark beloved of locals and tourists alike. They seem to have an informal photography policy that borders on exhibitionism, so many roam its cramped corridors with cameras in hand (myself included). If you like photographing food and you are passing through Seattle, this is a must-see. The market celebrates its centennial this year. Originally started in 1907 as a cluster of farmers' carts on a plank boardwalk, the aracade style building opened later that year with financing from the gold rush. The market has survived many attempts at relocation or renovation, and so retains most of its original charm. Click here if you would like more information on the history of Pike Place Market.

The charismatic fishmongers are one of the greater attractions of the Pike Place Market. Mostly staffed by young, tattooed men who sing a variety of songs (for tips, for purchases) in a family-friendly modern presentation of yesterday's bawdy fishermen. Endless varieties of just-caught fish lay on ice waiting to become tonight's dinner. If I weren't cooking dinner for a vegetarian, we certainly would have had some type of fish for dinner. The salmon in the Pacific Northwest was particularly delicious. It will be incredibly depressing to go back to Chicago's pale impersonation of salmon.

No mention of Pike Place Market would be complete without mention of the flowers. I would estimate at least 100 market stalls selling every color and variety of flowers imaginable. Many of these stalls are operated by small scale family floral farms belonging to the area's considerable Asian population. Bouquets ranged from the size you might give a blushing date to copious arrangements that might swallow your table, and none were more than $17. I am a sucker for non-traditional flowers (my husband learned early not to give me red roses), so I found the variety and lush colors very attractive. I'm no Martha Stewart, so you won't find our table forever graced with flowers, but given the variety and the low cost of these arrangements, I couldn't resist. I finally bought a large yellow and purple arrangement as a hostess gift (along with two bags of chocolate covered dried Washington cherries--yum!).

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