One of the most enjoyable elements of our trip to New York was that we were given a self guided walking tour of food place on an online message board. Extending it and adding our own interests, we ended up spending a day walking–we totaled it up to about 12 miles, and eating. It was an amazing experience, and I felt that I had truly gotten to know the city, walking the streets and eating just a small nibble at each place. We ended up often eating between the two of us, about half of each item, then giving the other half to the nearest hungry looking street-person. So we even added a little civic duty in.
It was so wonderful, such a great experience, I decided to design a mini version for Seattle. So, tourists, please feel free to try this and report back, Seattlites, please give me feed back–what should be added?What subtracted? I tried to include things that stood out as unique to Seattle as well as that are representitive of the larger food culture. So here it goes:
Your tour begins with a little breakfast at 5th avenue and Blanchard (2124 5th Ave). Top Pot Doughnuts are now sold in Starbucks nationwide, so they are a little less special, but here you can have a look at where it all started. If you are fearing overfulness, this is not a hard stop to miss, as you are going to get doughnuts at the next stop too. Leaving Top Pot, take a left out of the building and then cross the street and head west (a right) up to 4th ave. Take a left on to 4th and at 2001 4th Avenue, you’ll find your first bit of lunch. Dahlia Lounge was the beginning of Northwest Cuisine. Chef Tom Douglas is our homegrown celebrity chef, and this is the restaurant in which he exemplifies what that cuisine is about. My personal favorite here is their seafood cobb, but the menu changes and I would reccomend any dish, especially seafood. His crabcakes are famous, but most anything will give you a good idea of the style. For dessert, be sure to order the doughnuts. Now you get to walk this off a little bit. Walk south on 4th about 2 blocks to Stewart, then take a right on to Stewart and walk all the way down to Western (one street past 1st). Take a left onto Western and you will see a beautiful view if it is a nice day, and a whole lot of homeless people either way. At the south end of the park, Western splits off down the hill and if you stay uphill, you are on Pike. Do that. Walk south on Pike in to the Pike Place market. At 1526 Pike you have the Mee Sum Pastry. Please follow directions here to avoid disaster. Only order the humbao. Preferrably the baked. And really it is the curry beef one that is amazing, though the chicken one is quite good. But whatever you do, do not try to flesh this out with say, a potsticker. This place has amazing hum bao, and the Curry beef is very good and very unique. I used to save up my allowence as a small child to get there. But the rest of their stuff is sub par. Keep going down this side of the street and at 1912 Pike you will find the original Starbucks. If you are a coffee drinker, you should probably order something so you can say you made the pilgramage. Then cross the street and witness the chaos that is the Pike Place Market. Now you get in to the true Northwest stuff. Stop at Jack’s and try some market fresh seafood cooked up to order. Pike turns there, and you can stop and watch them throw the fish if you’d like, but a better idea is to sample the fresh fruit across the street at the produce stand on the corner. Pike will dump you out onto 1st, take a right and walk down 1st ave. Anytime in the next 8 blocks, you can take a left up to 2nd and keep walking south. After Yesler, 2nd starts to go diagonal, and when 2nd crosses 3rd, you are at Salumi. Timing here is pretty important, as Salumi is only open tues-fri 11-4. I’m hoping if you started this tour around 11 with doughnuts and lunch at Dahlia, you’ll be here around 2 or 2:30 and the lunch crowd will have faded. You might end up with an hour or longer wait if you end up here anytime before about 130. It’s hard to say what to order, it is hard to go wrong with any of the meats. I love the Finocchiona personally, but they are all amazing. Order a sandwich, split it. You’ll be more than well fed. Pick up some extra meat to bring home and give as gifts and pretty much for anything else you can use meat for. After you leave Salumi, continue to the corner of 2nd and Jackson, and go east (left) on Jackson, then take a right onto 6th avenue. About two blocks down, on the corner of 6th and Weller is Shanghai Garden. Here you order the Barleygreen hand shaven noodles chow mein. They are amazing. If you can fit anything else in your stomach, they do great food here, but the noodles are what is most impressive. And then you are done. If you want to do some non-caloric shopping, there is a very cool asian bookstore attached to Uwajimaya across the street, and at 6th and Jackson a very cool asian kitchen supply store, called Pacific Range Hood (ok, not really, but that is the sign over it).
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