Saturday, July 20, 2013

West Coast Vacation - Seattle Day 3

One of things I was most excited about seeing in Seattle was Pike Place Market.  It is a farmer's market down by the water front that has been around since the early 1900s and is very popular with tourists and locals.  We got up early Monday morning and headed over there, and this time we decided to take the toll bridge.  It was SO much easier, and straight forward to get downtown.  The GPS did a good job of getting us down there, even with all the oddly angled streets in downtown Seattle.  We had a bit of trouble finding the public parkade at Pike Place but after getting a little frustrated, we found our way around the block and ended up finding a parking spot, within steps of the market!
 (A view of Puget Sound from Pike Place Market)

(We were amazed by how steep some of the roads were in Seattle, and certainly the ones down by Pike Place were the steepest we saw.  It was hard to get a photo with perspective, and this one seemed to work becuase of the straight line of the garage door in the background of the photo.)

The nice thing about parking in Seattle, is that with a handicapped placard, you can park at any meter without having to pay.  I can't remember what the time limit is, but it is quite extensive....possibly 24 or 36 hours, for free.  This was very handy!

When we first got to the market, it was about 9:30am, and the main market doesn't fully open until 10am.  When we got there, a lot of the vendors were just starting to set up their tables.  However, there weren't too many shoppers in there yet.  I was told before we went that it is super busy, and expect it to be shoulder to shoulder people, whenever you go.  It wasn't too bad.  Even though not all of the tables were set up when we got there by the time we made our way back through toward the van, we got to see them all set up. 

The food vendors were quite generous in giving samples to taste.  While we walked through, we were able to taste different types of cherries, peaches, nectarines and some dried fruit.  There was this one bakery across the street, that had a huge lineup of people down the sidewalk, and it smelled really good!  One of the fish vendors, every once in a while would give a shout to his coworker at the other end of the booth, then send a whole salmon or some crabs flying through the air and his buddy would catch them.  That was pretty cool to see as well.  There were so many sights and smells in that place.  It wasn't all food either.  There was plenty of handmade art, clothing, jewelry, etc.  Pretty neat!

 (Not sure what they were making, but this bakery smelled amazing!)

When we were done at Pike Place we headed over to Glazer's Camera for Jay to do some shopping.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but I think I thought it might be a bit bigger than it was.  I wasn't too interested in shopping there, but Jay bought a few items that he has enjoyed using since we got home. 

After that we decided to try a restaurant that had been recommended to Jay by a lady who works with a photographer in Seattle that Jay is a fan of (more on that tomorrow).  The restaurant was called The Whale Wins.  It was a unique experience.  It was a really nice place inside, and the way it was set up, all of the food is prepared behind counters right in plain sight.  So you watch all of the food being prepared at different stations.  The menu was quite unique.  It was explained to us that probably you should order a number of dishes and share them.  Each dish was about $10-15 and for two people you would probably want to order at least four dishes.  We started with a really tasty croissant with butter and jam.  Then we shared a roasted cauliflower salad.  For our entree, we decided to order the special, as everything on the menu looked a little, um, adventurous...for me.  Things like clams and sardines and some sort of seafood mousse, I think....yeah.  The special, I didn't quite hear what the waitress said, but I heard the word salmon, so figured we would be good.  When it came, it was beautifully plated, but I soon realized that it was raw salmon.  At first I thought maybe it was smoked salmon, it had that look to it, but it didn't taste smoked.  It turned out that it was called salmond gravlax, which when we looked it up explained that it is cured salmon.  I was not feeling too keen on eating it, so Jay had it, and I ordered another salad.  I have to say that the salad I ordered was probably one of the most delicious salads I have eaten!  It was a basic lettuce salad dressed with lemon juice and oil, but it had fresh chives, dill and tarragon in it.  It also had toasted pistachios and fresh parmesan cheese.  It was so flavorful and I enjoyed eating the whole thing!  Mmmm :)

 (Mmmm, love croissants!)

 (Lovely plating for raw salmon.)

When we finished lunch we headed over to Gas Works Park (which happens to be the park we were trying to check out when we ran into the naked cyclists on Saturday, haha).  It is a park with a big hill and nice views of downtown Seattle.  It is called Gas Works because there are old tanks and pipes that were left behind, which gives it a unique feel.  We enjoyed exploring around here for a while, then headed back toward Kirkland.

 (When we were taking pictures of each other, there was this guy taking pictures of us, taking pictures of each other.  We thought this was funny enough, but then he got on his bike and road away, then he went and was chasing some geese.  Not sure he was entirely with it....)

While our lunch was certainly flavorful, I would say that we were not all that full when we were done eating it.  So we decided that we would go for a late afternoon coffee.  When we went to Cactus for supper the previous night, we noticed a coffee shop, Cafe Rococo, across the street so decided to give it a try.  It was quite busy in there, but we snagged a table at the back and had a latte and shared a cookie.  I have to say the coffee was not the best, it was kind of bitter, but it was good to sit and relax after a busy day.  We appreciated that the city of Kirkland had good free Wi-fi, which was nice, since we didn't want to access data in the States.  After our coffee we headed back to the hotel for the evening, and just had some leftover snacks for supper.  We also enjoyed the one purchase we made at Pike Place, peaches!  They were huge, and SO juicy and sweet.  Best peach I have ever had!

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