Welcome to Seattle: the yin and the yang

As Seattleites we are dictated by two juxtaposing cycles, the cold and the warm.  This yin and yang results in a net effect of two very different cities. During the cold, Seattle’s wet, noir-like appearance and 3:30 pm sunsets invariably force us inward both mentally and physically. Just when we think we have forgotten the sun completely, we are given a reminder almost overnight, that familiar scent of new growth in the air. Winter is losing its grip. And almost as quickly as it takes our iPhone to roll its clock back for daylight savings we are catapulted from our hibernation. Seattle’s zeal is palpable. Trees are once again green, flowers are in bloom, boats litter Puget Sound, restaurants and bars have opened their patios and are packed with hungry patrons. Daylight doesn’t dwindle until late in the evening. I’m hard-pressed to find a city that compares to Seattle’s beauty during the Spring and Summer months.

Pike Place Market has it all

It’s during this time that I love to take advantage of one of our famous staples, Pike Place Market. Having been built in 1907 makes it one of the oldest continuously operating public farmers markets in the country. It’s here that you will find the best of Seattle’s fresh and local culinary offerings, oddities and curiosities, art and northwest fashion. Even when it’s clogged with visitors, its romance permeates. This landmark is one of the few bastions of classic Seattle that remains unscathed by surrounding development. It’s easy to understand why the quaint to contemporary condominiums in and adjacent to the market are rarely for sale.

Having a love for all things culinary it’s easy for me to be swooned by the market’s offerings. Making my way through the crowded corridors in search of only the day’s fresh ingredients feels very European while looking turn of the century American. The Pike and Western Wine Shop is typically a great place to start as it’s on the Markets outskirts and sometimes it’s fun to change it up and plan a meal around your wine pick. Whether you’re an amateur or aficionado, proprietor Jason Marvin is a great guy to seek advice. If I’m baking bread and in need of a specialty oil for dipping, I’ll swing by Sotto Voce.  Small batch, craft oils, and herbed wine vinegars great for cooking, marinating and, dipping. Franks Quality Produce is an excellent choice if you’re in need of fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables. It’s also a favorite of many local chefs. If cooking isn’t necessarily your forte, The Pink Door and Il Bistro are fabulous choices for Italian fare within the market.  An absolute favorite restaurant of mine is Maximilien. Their Duck Confit is outdone only by the French themselves and the view of Puget Sound from its charming, cozy dining room is superb.

The Soul of Seattle

While most come for the food, Pike Place has much more to offer that is so indicative of Seattle’s soul. As I write this, I’ve come to realize that a day spent at the market is essentially a walking tour through the different traits that make up Seattle’s personality. From Independent improv/comedy at Unexpected Productions Improv in Post Alley to a hodgepodge of hobby shops, coffee, music, more coffee, activism, art, and diversity. These are many of the elements that define our eclectic city by the sea.

Keeping within the theme of LIVE | LOVE | OWN ® Pike Place Market definitely falls under LOVE. A cornerstone of our city’s identity and a reminder of where we came from in case we ever stray too far. The good news is that Pike Place, however, isn’t the one and only. Seattle is flush with farmer’s markets! Here are some favorites of mine to consider on your next adventure:

EVENING MARKETS:

  • Columbia City, Wednesdays, 3:00 – 7:00 PM, May 9th to Oct 10th
  • Bellevue, Thursdays, 3:00 – 7:00 PM, May 17th to Oct 11th
  • Phinney Ridge, Fridays, 3:30 – 7:30 PM, June 1st to Sept 28th

YEAR ROUND:

FOR KIDS:

  • Queen Anne, Thursdays, 3:00 – 7:30 PM
    • Roots to Shoots Program: Sponsored by Windermere Queen Anne, this program runs throughout the summer with a table catered to the little ones. Kids can participate in activities such as crafts, composting, planting and more as they earn Root Bucks to go towards a purchase of fruits and/or vegetables from the market.

Blog Author: Andrew Dolmseth, Broker, Windermere Queen Anne