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Jujubee

Pike Place Market for non-tourists

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My husband, daughter, and I will be living in Seattle for the summer, about 2 blocks from Pike Place Market. For the most part, we won't have a car, though we could borrow one occassionally or get a Zipcar. I would like to do most of my grocery shopping at places that are walkable, but I've heard that there aren't really grocery stores in that area. Thus, that leaves Pike Place Market.

But what I'm wondering is, do locals actually shop there for food on a regular basis? Or is it mostly completely overpriced for tourists? Is the stuff actually better (i.e. organic and/or locally grown)? What vendors offer the best value and/or quality? Are there any alternative nearby, such as a weekly farmers' market that doesn't cater to tourists?

I have this idyllic vision of browsing the market every morning (ok, maybe not every morning, but you know, often) with my young daughter, picking out still warm from the sunshine produce and glistening fresh fish for dinner. Is this possible, or should I plan on scrounging up a car every week or so to do some grocery shopping?

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You can do very well shopping at the market - you might want to run to Bartell's Drugstore sales for toilet paper and marshmallows (!)

The Market is very crowded in the summer, but if you go early, it is lovely. Also, not too bad just before closing (6 p.m. for the most part.) On Wednesdays and Sundays (not sure about that) there is an added emphasis on organic food stalls out in the street.

Frank's Produce and Sosio's are well respected for fruit and vegetables. The two meat markets will do you well. Find your favorite fish market - I like Pure Food Fish. Cheese - DeLaurenti's and Beechers will spoil you. Plenty of bread, chocolate, gelato, nuts, the Pike Place Market Creamery is a must visit (though you pay a premium), sausages, yes, spices - the best are down on Western - coffee, yup, and plenty of wine.

Sunsets - beautiful. Music and entertainment, plenty of action.

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All of the above. You're not going to get many bargains shopping at the Market, but the prices are generally fair. To add to the tsquare's list, I like The Souk, for Middle Eastern and Indian ingredients, including less expensive spices (but not as good as World Spice). There are a couple small groceries in the Market as well, but definitely more expensive than one of the larger chains.

You actually won't be all that far from the new Whole Foods (2210 Westlake) and Metropolitan Market (100 Mercer). In either case, you could walk to the store and then bus or cab back with your groceries. A new full-sized grocery store is supposed to open at 3rd & Pike this year, just a couple blocks for the Market, but the planned opening date seems to keep slipping.


Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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You already got lots of good advice, and yes, it's definitely doable.

I also live near the market, about the same distance as you. I can't remember the last time I went to a chain grocer like Safeway or QFC, but I do go down to the International District a few times a month for Asian grocery shopping.

There are bare basics available at Pike Place Market, namely a few fruits and veggies at Lina's Produce, and the shop connected to the Filipino food stall for dry goods and bottled and canned items, but the selection is still quite limited, as well as a lot more expensive compared to the ID. Ex. Chaokoh coconut milk is .69 a can at Viet Wah, but $1.79+ at the market, and there won't be any fresh galangal or lime leaves whatsmore. Basically, if Asian ingredients are important to you, you'll need to make extra trips elsewhere.

Also, in addition to the farmers on Wednesdays and Sundays, there's an organic fruit and veg stall. iirc, they're next to the dried hand-made pasta stall.

Lastly, there is no organic or pasture finished meat available. For those, you'd have to go to a Whole Foods, PCC, and the like. Or go to one of the neighborhood farmer's markets. Or alternatively, have Thundering Hooves deliver you some: http://www.thunderinghooves.net.

Pat


"I... like... FOOD!" -Red Valkyrie, Gauntlet Legends-

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Lastly, there is no organic or pasture finished meat available. For those, you'd have to go to a Whole Foods, PCC, and the like. Or go to one of the neighborhood farmer's markets. Or alternatively, have Thundering Hooves deliver you some: http://www.thunderinghooves.net.

Pat

Yes, this is the big glaring omission at the market, if you ask me. I've never been able to understand it.

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Or is it mostly completely overpriced for tourists? Is the stuff actually better (i.e. organic and/or locally grown)? What vendors offer the best value and/or quality? Are there any alternative nearby, such as a weekly farmers' market that doesn't cater to tourists?

The market is thronged with tourists but apart from the fish vendors who will ship salmon for them, the food vendors don't cater to them. Tourists just don't buy lettuce and raw meat and ethnic ingredients. They mostly just walk around taking pictures of those things. I like Frank's Produce when I'm there and need a few things but in general, I like the organic wednesday and sunday stalls better--they are set up on the cobblestones. These are actual growers selling their produce, where as the produce stalls at the market no longer have their own farms (they used to, but the farms are all suburban subdivisions now). The closest farmer's market to you would be the Queen Anne market. It just started last year, so I don't think it's as big as other markets, but it might be worth a visit.

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The tourists just get in the way of the stuff I'm actually there for... Damn it, move, I'm trying to buy my vegetables! Stop gawking, start walking! Of course, I'm too much of a Northwesterner to actually voice my frustrations.

Whole Foods is usually more expensive for lower quality produce, in my experience. Prices at the Pike Place Market aren't generally much worse, and depending on what's in season sometimes noticeably better, than at good supermarkets.

There are a few grocery stores in or near downtown, however, including Ralph's (a bit pricy and minimalist), the Whole Foods mentioned, and a not-quite-finished-yet IGA on 3rd. Also, the small grocery store in the north end of the market may cover most of your needs. The drugstores may fill in the rest.


Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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The key to avoiding crowds is to shop early and mid-week, especially in the summer. Some of the vendors open by 7:00 (Frank's produce, for example) so you can hit those first and then get to the others as they open. I'd love to live close enough to the market to walk there several days a week and would have no trouble putting together great meals from what I find.


Jan

Seattle, WA

"But there's tacos, Randy. You know how I feel about tacos. It's the only food shaped like a smile....A beef smile."

--Earl (Jason Lee), from "My Name is Earl", Episode: South of the Border Part Uno, Season 2

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The key to avoiding crowds is to shop early and mid-week, especially in the summer.  Some of the vendors open by 7:00 (Frank's produce, for example) so you can hit those first and then get to the others as they open.  I'd love to live close enough to the market to walk there several days a week and would have no trouble putting together great meals from what I find.

agreed and also if it is raining out the tourists aren't as bad. I love to go when it is raining!

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Yes! Like right now! The snow and hail fell, and the streets cleared! I just got all my shopping done in 10 minutes!

Pat!


"I... like... FOOD!" -Red Valkyrie, Gauntlet Legends-

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I believe my favorite hispanic-owned organic farm from the Yakima Valley shows up at Pike Place. Love the peppers I get from them in Pasco.


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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Probably Alvarez farms? I see them on organic days.

I believe my favorite hispanic-owned organic farm from the Yakima Valley shows up at Pike Place.  Love the peppers I get from them in Pasco.


Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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Probably Alvarez farms? I see them on organic days.
I believe my favorite hispanic-owned organic farm from the Yakima Valley shows up at Pike Place.  Love the peppers I get from them in Pasco.

I believe so - it's been quite a few months. :sad:

Well, asparagus will be starting before long...


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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Just saw an update that the new Kress grocery store on 3rd between Pike & Union is scheduled to open in June.


Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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The key to avoiding crowds is to shop early and mid-week, especially in the summer.  Some of the vendors open by 7:00 (Frank's produce, for example) so you can hit those first and then get to the others as they open.  I'd love to live close enough to the market to walk there several days a week and would have no trouble putting together great meals from what I find.

agreed and also if it is raining out the tourists aren't as bad. I love to go when it is raining!

Speaking as a tourist, y'all kin bite me -- and don't get between me and the grouper cheeks. :wink: Though, now that my buddy's sold her crib in West Seattle and moved to Longview, I guess I'll have to do my Seattle cooking on a hot plate in my hotel room.

I can't give the advice that the locals can, but I can say that if I lived two blocks away I'd drop in in the morning before I headed off to work (schedule permitting). Forget the tourists, last time I shopped there there weren't even any locals, the guy laying out the grouper cheeks bragged quietly to me that the only other gent in the stall was a prominent local chef (not Tom) (this was not the fish-throwing stall, do I get local cred for that? :laugh: ) and at the next place down or so I spent 10 blissful solitary minutes by myself picking through the wild chanterelles for the 30 or so I needed that were just the exact same perfect size -- first chanterelles of the fall season, they told me, and I believed 'em.

If I lived two blocks from Pike Place, I'd give up morning sex for shopping.

Also, I'd catch the bus to Salumi once a week, but that's a different thread.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Just saw an update that the new Kress grocery store on 3rd between Pike & Union is scheduled to open in June.

Was this the Ross space on the corner?

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Speaking as a tourist, y'all kin bite me -- and don't get between me and the grouper cheeks.  :wink: Though, now that my buddy's sold her crib in West Seattle and moved to Longview, I guess I'll have to do my Seattle cooking on a hot plate in my hotel room.

I can't give the advice that the locals can, but I can say that if I lived two blocks away I'd drop in in the morning before I headed off to work (schedule permitting). Forget the tourists, last time I shopped there there weren't even any locals, the guy laying out the grouper cheeks bragged quietly to me that the only other gent in the stall was a prominent local chef (not Tom) (this was not the fish-throwing stall, do I get local cred for that?  :laugh:  ) and at the next place down or so I spent 10 blissful solitary minutes by myself picking through the wild chanterelles for the 30 or so I needed that were just the exact same perfect size -- first chanterelles of the fall season, they told me, and I believed 'em.

If I lived two blocks from Pike Place, I'd give up morning sex for shopping.

Also, I'd catch the bus to Salumi once a week, but that's a different thread.

Good point - if you shop in the morning, you will hear the chatter between local chefs and sellers. I like to try and place the ones I don't recognize - either chat them up or ask after they are gone.

Salumi is walking distance, if you want to burn off some of the calories!

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No, it's between Epicenter Fitness and Starbucks, I believe. Likely a fairly small shop, perhaps smaller than Ralph's.

Just saw an update that the new Kress grocery store on 3rd between Pike & Union is scheduled to open in June.

Was this the Ross space on the corner?


Edited by JasonTrue (log)

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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No, it's between Epicenter Fitness and Starbucks, I believe. Likely a fairly small shop, perhaps smaller than Ralph's.
Just saw an update that the new Kress grocery store on 3rd between Pike & Union is scheduled to open in June.

Was this the Ross space on the corner?

That's where the entrance is, but the store is going to cover the entire basement of the builiding, so it will be a full-sized grocery.


Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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Funny, there was a grocery store where triple door is now, many years ago. So this is almost next door!

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While I love the farmers market and yes there are lots of things to find there as have been mentioned above ..I like the Wed shopping the best too ...if you want to expand your shopping route a bit ...then there are some of the best Southeast Asian markets (mainly Vietnamese) in the Little Siagon area...just a short bus trip (or walk if you want to hoof it and get some awesome exercise!) up the hill on Jackson (they also have parking for each of the markets as well and because it is not visited by tourists like the Chinatown area below the parking is easy ...very inexpensive and usually quite fresh (depending on the season and what is available it is hit and miss sometimes) produce ..fish and meat .....lots of variety and friendly folks selling...

sometimes in Yessler Terrace there are women selling greens they grown in their gardens right there on the curb (not sure how legal it is but at a buck for a huge bunch of freshly picked herbs and greens I always grabbed some!)

...I have picked up some awesome stuff around that area

it takes some wandering to find the stores you like best ... when I worked at Harborview it was a regular walk down the hill hitting the markets ...to the train ..picking up items for dinner.....decent meat and fish and also premade Vietnamese deli items to make a fantastic and very inexpensive meals

..I still make the trip up there for food shopping as often as I can

especially when the jackfruits are in season!


why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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sometimes in Yessler Terrace there are women selling greens they grown in their gardens right there on the curb (not sure how legal it is but at a buck for a huge bunch of freshly picked herbs and greens I always grabbed some!) 

...I have picked up some awesome stuff around that area

I just moved to the neighborhood, I will have to see id I can find these women!! that sounds amazing


Gnomey

The GastroGnome

(The adventures of a Gnome who does not sit idly on the front lawn of culinary cottages)

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sometimes in Yessler Terrace there are women selling greens they grown in their gardens right there on the curb (not sure how legal it is but at a buck for a huge bunch of freshly picked herbs and greens I always grabbed some!) 

...I have picked up some awesome stuff around that area

I just moved to the neighborhood, I will have to see id I can find these women!! that sounds amazing

If I lived closer I would show you today!!! just wander up and down the street check out every little market and also try some Pho there!

I think they have the fresh jackfruit in now ...

you can pick up Vietnamese sandwiches..or even just terriric French rolls for cheap and Pho well there are a ton of Pho Joints in that area so you have to try a few to choose your favorite ..there is one on a corner I wish I knew the name that is mine still $5 a bowl and that is all they serve ..

the Seattle Deli click is a Vietnamese deli and great to start at the top of the hill ... in it is right across from the Maylay Satay Hut (on one my favorite restaurants)Malay Satay hut

you can park someplace in that area and walk down one side and up the other on the hill on Jackson from there

you can drive but the buses are easy frequent and mostly free downtown ..I liked walking myself

dont take any of the paths from Yelsler Terrace through woods or fields stay on the roads for safety sake


Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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I work at Pike Place Market. Here is the thing to remember as it goes for tourists and townies. We all need each other. There are not enough locals coming down to downtown to do grocery shopping, yes there are some but not that many to keep a market that big up and running seven days a week. Tourists also need the locals for a market like that, tourists are not taking bags full of produce home with them. It is such a beautiful place lets all just enjoy it.

You can get everything you need at Pike Place or in a few blocks just around there. If you are living downtown enjoy it. Also go on the weekends there are vendors and farmers there on Saturday and Sunday you will never see M-F. I work for an organic cheese farmer that is there on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only. Sosio's produce is the best produce, they have the rare stuff no one else gets. They even have Oregon truffles most of the time. All the seafood, the meat counters, DeLaurenti's needs to be experienced (they sell Salumi meats). The market deli has plenty of regular grocery items. And most of the prices are comparable to a Whole Foods or Metropolitan Market. Get to know some of the vendors as well most of the vendors know each other, including the competing vendors.

One last thing if you want the best fresh doughnuts get a small bag and eat them while they are still burning hot once those things get cold you might as well eat a spoon-full of crisco. Enjoy it all though, there are people from all over the country wishing for something as wonderful as what we have here.

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you can drive but the buses are easy frequent  and mostly free downtown.

Excellent observation about the free downtown bus ride and often overlooked. Here's map of the downtown Seattle Ride Free Area. http://transit.metrokc.gov/tops/bus/area_m...eattle-rfa.html

Here's a chart of the routes. A bit convoluted, but know that buses on 2nd and 5th go South; buses on 4th and 6th go North. Buses on 1st and 3rd go both. http://transit.metrokc.gov/tops/bus/Bike-l...ad-RFA-1007.pdf

Route 174 and 194 on 2nd will drop you off in front of Salumi and 1/4 mile from Uwajimaya Asian Grocery. This is the end of the Free Ride Zone. You can also get yourself to Westlake Center and Olive Way and ride the SLUT to the new Whole Foods.

Enjoy and welcome!


Drink!

I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

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