Seattle | Small Bites At Pike Place Market (And Beyond)

Monday, March 18, 2019

My trip to Seattle in January has been my 3rd trip to this lovely city fondly nicknamed "Emerald City". I have always said that if I have to move outside of the San Francisco Bay Area, it will be Seattle.

Seattle has lots of nature to explore, plenty of fresh produce, vibrant food scene, and diversity.  And I love the mood weather -- rainy and cozy! (Confession: In the three times that I have visited Seattle, it has not rained! How did I manage to do that?!)

This time around, I was in Seattle for a total of 4 nights and 3 days, and once again, for work. The schedule was packed with business stuff but I managed to get plenty of lovely time exploring. I stayed  downtown at the Grand Hyatt so the places that I visited were in between the hotel location and Pike Place Market. Actually, every free time I had, I spent at the Pike Place Market because I loved it then and I continue to love this wonderful market now! 

As I have mentioned in my previous solo travels, I really do not eat big meals when I travel by myself. I like to grab little things, bring them to my hotel room and enjoy them while in my jammies. Unless I am being taken to a reception or having dinner with colleagues, I like casual eats. Seattle's Pike Place is small bites mecca and so perfect to grab those noshes.


I love exploring places after hours when the crowd is gone and the place is still open but almost deserted. I arrived in Seattle at almost 5:00 pm and was determined to go to the Pike Place on my first evening. By the time I got out of my hotel room,  it was already dark  being in the winter month. Even the hotel concierge discouraged me by telling me that the shops were already closed. I am glad that I did not listen. The market was quiet  and cozy. Some of the stores were still open while some were  closing and getting ready for the next day. I find that there is romance  in witnessing the activities of locals at dusk such as the workers at this old-time market as they were getting to go home to their own lives after putting in a hard day's work.

I walked around just taking in the sight of the market getting ready to close down.  The wet seafood market was being washed down for the night. There were still places that were open and were perfect for getting those small bites.


Well, let us start our Seattle foodie tour with coffee. And the best place to start is the Original Starbucks which is located at the Pike Place Market.  Touted as the first Starbucks that opened in 1971, this Starbucks oozes old school charm and so different from the sleek and modern city Starbucks that we are used to.  This one at the Pike Place Market is a historic although it is not really the first Starbucks. It is the second one. The very first Starbucks was located on a different address from 1971-76 then it moved to its present location. Regardless, tourists do not care. The place was packed at close to 9:00 pm. I walked just for a looksie and take a couple of pictures. There were vintage looking mugs and bags of coffee beans that are available for purchase. Of course, you can grab your Americano here but I do not get it, the coffee will taste no different from other Starbucks, yeah? I did not stick around to find out. Maybe it is the thrill of getting your "venti no foam latte" from the very first Starbucks ever in the world.


It was lust at first sight when I lay eyes on the hand-held pies at this tiny walk-up bakery. My eyes feasted on different kinds of sweet and savory pastries. The workers here were very patient and nice. I was told that it was "Happy Hour" at 7 pm where the pastries were discounted. Since it was already 6 pm, I decided to do more exploring and return at 7 pm. On my first evening, I got a Curry Chicken Piroshky and  Cherry White Chocolate. The next day, I returned for another Curry Chicken Piroshki then Potato and Mushroom.  I ate half of the Chicken Curry  for dinner and finished it for breakfast before I went to my first meeting. I was like, "OMG!" This is so good! And uttered "OMG" when I had the Cherry White Chocolate! I actually bought 6 different kinds of piroshki for Mr Sweetie. 

TIPS: The line can get really long at Pirosky Pirosky but it is all worth the wait! Pastries are discounted at 7:00 pm but many pastries will be sold out.


Two words: Hom Bow. I thought that I was pretty well-versed in dim sum talk until I encountered hom bow at Mee Sum. Mee Sum is a walk up Chinese bakery at Pike Place Market.  Hom bow is pretty much a baked bun by any other name. I am a lover of dim sum but was going to pass up this place because dim sum is plentiful in the Bay Area. The hom bow got me intrigued and I just had to try the pork bbq one. I am so glad that I did! For just about $3 and some change I was rewarded with plump and piping hot meat bun. I took it to  the waterfront behind the Pike Place Market. I cannot believe that there were plenty of seats. I ate my bun while enjoying a million dollar view of this side of Seattle. 


Pike Place Chinese Cuisine is your generic no-frills Chinese restaurant WITH A VIEW!  That is pretty much the draw here. On my first night in Seattle, after being discouraged by the hotel concierge to check out Pike Place because it was already dark and most stores are already closed at 5 pm, I had my first dinner at this restaurant.  (By the way, Pike Place has its own charm after dark. Some places are still open and the place was serene.) After walking around, checking out Starbucks and buying a pastry at Pirosky Pirosky, I saw this cute tiny restaurant with an awesome view of the Seattle waterfront. I walked in, ordered a fish with bokchoy rice plate and tea. It came with a side of soup. Service was fast and actually very kind. I was the only person there and I really enjoyed the quiet ambiance. Pricey for my humble little plate -- $20 with tip! Regardless, I really enjoyed my quiet dinner and it was a great way to have my first meal on my first night in Seattle. (My friend Russell accompanied me on the phone for a little bit while I was waiting for my food.)


When it comes to food, follow the crowd. It is not 100 percent fool-proof but it does make me wonder what people line up for. I walked by this store about a dozen times in my 3 days here in Seattle. I saw grilled cheese sandwiches and mac and cheese on the menu that is supposed to be super-famous. You can also watch cheese being made at Beecher's while you are getting your lunch. Very fun and educational. Luckily (or unluckily) for me, I have totally given up eating cheese this year. I am allergic and my life is just so much better as I am no longer suffering. So I resisted until I was at the airport and I gave in with what I thought my tummy could somehow tolerate. I got a cheese bread and it was great!



Cafe Yumm! is not at the Pike Place Market but it is right next to the Grand Hyatt where I stayed at. (Grand Hyatt was about a 15 minute walk from Pike Place.) I was drawn to this place due to the proximity and convenience, and because the menu offered healthy options such as brown rice, tofu, etc. Wine was also a big plus! It was not great but at least it was reduced guilt meal. 


I had a super-lovely evening here with friends both old and newly met! We met up for a glass of very nice Washington red wine (that sounded like fiesta! Ha! Ha!) It was recommended by someone in our party but she could not remember the name. Our server steered us to the right one. Since I have not eaten I ordered a bread basket and devoured it with my wine. Purple Cafe and Wine Bar is definitely a place I would return to next time. I love the bar (just look at the floor to ceiling wine collection!), the vibe and the wine!


Sometimes I regret not having 4 stomachs like a cow. There were so many little yummy bites that I wanted to try while Seattle. Well, definitely next time but here they are:

Daily Dozen Doughnut Company

Inside the Pike Place Market. I could not find the website but definitely try to find this little walk-up donut stand! It is not hard to find as it is in the general area where most eateries are inside the market. Get your freshly fried piping hot donuts and a cup of coffee. Go to the waterfront in the back and feed your inner fat kid. I wished that I did but I just finished eating a hom bow. 

There are lots of breweries in Seattle. I walked by this cool looking place also inside the market. I am not a beer gal but just in case you are looking for a spot.


Most of these places are walk up/grab and go bites. Grab your little dishes and find a seat at the back of Pike Place. Enjoy your food while enjoying this view! Honestly, I  would take comfort food with an awesome view like this over fine dining. This is just my preferred style of solo eating.

Everytime I am traveling solo, my usual style it to grab a bunch of little meals, stop at store to get a bottle of wine (or order room service) and enjoy everything in my pj's while in the comfort of my bed. Turn Netflix on or open a book and enjoy my meal! Ah, this is delicious life at its best!

Seattle has so much to offer in terms of dining whether it is seafood (most esp seafood!), fine dining, casual eats, breweries, wine bars, etc. I did not even include getting a fresh crab at the market, having it cleaned and ready to eat. (I guess we have plenty of those in San Francisco as well but next time!)


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