The first trip to Seattle is always a culture shock for a Southern Man (sorry Neil Young). As we left the hotel and walked towards Pike Place Market I swear I could hear Nirvana in my head. We were hungry and by the time we walked the 6 blocks to the market we had 3 different referrals for a place to eat. Once we got in the market it became clear what our dinner would be. In the market vendors offer cups of this and samples of that so we decided that our dinner would be whatever we saw that we liked as we strolled through the Market area. My mind was reeling as as it took on sensory attacks of food, drink and the color Pikes Market had to offer. You can’t help but stop at every stand just to see what was offered and hear the merchants sing their Sirens song.
The first food came from a seafood vendor ( I’m sorry I forgot the name as my mouth was watering from anticipation) who was offering cups of Dungeness Crab cocktail. For $7 you get a cup of fresh crab with lemon and hot sauce. I could have stood there all night, but we moved on. As night approached (at 4:45 I might add) the sounds of music came from virtually every street corner. The original Starbucks had musicians waiting in line to perform with their guitar cases and tip jars begging for dollar bills. You could literally hear music from 3 directions at once. We wandered in an alley across from the market and came across Pike Place Chowder. I love clam chowder and I thought I had tasted some good chowder before. WRONG. Pike Place Chowder boasted it’s award winning recipes. I had the champion chowder and my wife had the seafood bisque. I should use expletives here as with out a doubt both were the best we had ever had. Rich and meaty and with ingredients that made this dish far and above anything I have ever tasted. If you are in Seattle this is a must eat place.
It was time for a drink. We walked back through the market and settled into the Athenian Seafood Restaurant and Bar. It was happy hour (lucky us) and with a purchase of a drink you are eligible for a discounted appetizer. One drink, one appetizer – interesting concept! I had a martini and my better half ordered wine and then we had the waitress bring us some oysters on the half and fried calamari with Jalapeno Aioli sauce. For you southerners the oysters in the Northwest are slightly different that the gulf oysters we are used too. They have a stronger seafood taste, less of a salt taste and are slightly smaller. But still worth having if you are an oyster nut. The Calamari was obviously homemade and had a much better taste than the frozen and fried we are used to. The view of the Seattle Harbor is spectacular and you can tell this place is favored by the locals.
If you want a taste of Seattle then do the Dinner Stroll at Pike Place Market. You will find something you will like and have fun along the way. More coming from Tastesliketravel.com in Seattle.