The International Food Bloggers Conference in Seattle is coming up this month. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of taking two friends on day long food tour of that food-centric city. I like to think of it as my “Scouting Seattle” trip. In just a few weeks I will be back for my third IFBC and I can’t wait! With speakers like noted author, Kathleen Flinn and renowned food photographer Christopher Testani, I am looking forward to learning something new.
8 Hours of Eating @ Pike Place Market
When a Seattle food writer recommends one of her favorite bites, you make it your first stop. Mee Sum Bakery, was at the top of Naomi Tomky’s list. “Get the Curry Beef Hom Bow,” she suggested. Julie and I arrived around 10 a.m. to find no line but the Hom Bow we wanted needed five more minutes in the oven. It was the perfect excuse to pop in to The Confectional to share a miniature gluten-free cheesecake. The actual cheesecake wasn’t too sweet and had a mild lemon flavor with a perfectly creamy texture. The buttery shortbread cookie crust was one of the best gluten-free items I have ever tasted. Enjoy this with a coffee from the Starbucks flagship store just a few shops down the street.
Soon the Curry Beef Hom Bow were ready. Biting into the hot bun, the slightly sweet flakiness of the top balanced out the flavorful curry on the inside. The bun was soft and pillowy. It was Julie’s first taste of this Chinese fusion food and she was delighted. Mee Sum Pastry set the bar high for the rest of the day’s nibbles.
Inside the market, Britt’s Pickles was next. Not only is this an amazing place to try several kinds of pickles, kimchi, and get a shot of pickle juice, but you can get great information on fermentation. If you are lucky enough to be there when it is in stock, pick up some black garlic; it will rock your culinary world.
When trying to pack in as many tastes of a place as possible it is important to take some breaks. One of my favorite places to browse is DeLaurenti Food & Wine. I always plan at least an hour to comb the shelves looking for interesting foods and flavors from all over the globe. There is always something new, and this place offers endless inspiration.
It’s nice to plan at least one sit-down meal when food touring. Since neither Julie or Hanna had ever had Vietnamese Pho, Pho Mililani was our restaurant of choice. You know it is good if it is crowded and Pho Mililani was packed. The staff was welcoming as they shuffled us in and found us a temporary seat. “Order now and there will be a table ready when your food is up,” suggested our hostess. She was right and we enjoyed steaming bowls of both chicken and shrimp Pho, with many “Mmmm’s” and “Ahhh’s.”
More shopping ensued up a few blocks at Nordstrom Rack, Ross and TJ Maxx. So nice to have the trifecta of discount stores so close together. With all that walking, Julie needed better shoes. With her new Converse all laced up, she was ready for more samples. It was time for something sweet and I knew just the place, Cinnamon Works. Everything looks so good here, it’s tough to make a decision. Julie settled on a gluten-free Monster Cookie, and I went with my classic favorite, Molasses Cookie. Both were top-notch. Right across the street, we headed in to Sur La Table to browse. As we were munching on bites of our cookies, Julie mentioned it was about time for coffee. Like magic, an associate showed up to demo an espresso machine. Tiny Pumpkin Lattes in hand, we continued to happily browse the beautiful store.
If looking for an energy boost at any time during the day, stop by The Juice Emporium for a fresh pressed Veggie Mix. The gals here serve any combination of juice to order and it always comes with a friendly smile.
After a stop to watch cheese in the making at Beecher’s, we joined the line at Piroshky, Piroshky. To keep things moving, an employee is at the ready, handing eager customers a menu so they can be ready to order once they make it to the counter. We enjoyed a hot Mushroom & Potato Piroshky. There are so many choices, I almost always bring some of these delectable pastries home to my family.
Time for a break, we climbed a few flights of stairs to Storyville Coffee. This place is an oasis in the middle of the Pike Place Market hubbub. Cozied up to the fire, we lounged on leather chairs and recharged our phones as well as our feet. One of the best Mocha’s we have EVER had!
And then it was time for my favorite stop, Oriental Food Mart. Delicious, authentic, Filipino cuisine is served up with humor and sass. I always ask Lyla for a little bit of everything. She always replies, “Do you trust me?” Trust her, this is melt-in-your-mouth food. Don’t pass up the Salmon Sinigang, even if it is on a day when she sneaks a fish head into it. If you have never tasted this tangy tamarind based soup, you are in for a treat.
Right around the corner, back on the street, find Mr. D’s Greek Delicacies. The sesame paste based, Halva, is a must-try sweet. At only $1.50, it’s a deal and easy to share.
Don’t miss the flying fish antics at the entrance to Pike Place Market, but more importantly, don’t miss a visit to MarketSpice for all your tea and spice needs.
With only a few minutes to spare, we made it to the highly rated Daily Dozen Doughnut Company. They had already sold out and closed early but were sweet enough to offer us a few morsels of powdered sugar donut goodness. Note to self: Get here earlier next time!
Our food tour was coming to an end. The rest of our families had been at PAX Prime all day and were ready to meet up at the monorail to head back to our hotel. One more stop, and we will be there. We hadn’t had any gelato yet! Ten samples later, at Gelatiamo, we settled on Orange Cream, Mojito, Maple Pecan, Salted Almond Chocolate, Rice and Hazelnut gelato. My favorites of them all were the Mojito and the Maple Pecan. I am still thinking of my samples of Cinnamon and Cappuccino and will be having those next time I am in town. What a perfectly sweet way to end a perfectly awesome day!
Seattle, I will see you in a few weeks!