Finding the EAT in S*eat*tle

When JJ turned 6, we began to ask him to weigh in on a decision that affects our budget, vacation plans and scheduling.  I know, that’s a lot to put on a six-year old.

“Would you rather have a birthday party or take a vacation?”

Every year the answer is the same: “Both.”

When asked to reign in his greed and to choose only one, he always picks vacation.  As he got older, he got more specific.  “I’d like to take a vacation in New York for one week.”  I finally asked him last year about the consistency of his answers and he simply said, “A party is only for a few hours.  A vacation lasts a long time…”

So this year, we chose Seattle as our destination based mostly on its proximity and that we’ve always wanted to see for ourselves the mythical stories about fish throwing and Starbucks and the year round rains experienced by our neighbors to the north.  We soon discovered that much like our other vacations, this one was going to be about the food.

Breakfast was at Biscuit Bitch, this awesome and unapologetically profane purveyor of greasy, fatty comforting foods where biscuits are not only the vehicle for salty, crispy fried bacon and spicy hot links–biscuits in these parts reigned queen.   As evidenced by his facial expressions, JJ admitted to “having problems with the inappropriate language” and I struggled with having to explain why this word is only OK inside this place.  But somehow, his 9-year old mind could not fathom the importance of reappropriating words and symbols.  So we stuck to talking about how crispy the bacon was on his Bitchwitch (actual menu item) and how garlicky the grits were on my Hot Mess Bitch (same).  And their awesome playlist rotation that included 90s hits from Lauryn Hill and the Fugees, SWV, KD Lang, Dionne Farris–seeing a pattern yet?

We visited Pike Place Market everyday during our visit and after our initial excitement with the fish throwing at the fish market, we moved on to other more practical eateries which were easier on the wallet.

We found ourselves returning to Piroshky Piroshky again and again because it was filling and good.  Both sweet and savory kinds ran you about 5-6$ and so lunch for our little family of 3 was less than 20$.  But we always wound up spending twice that because we had to sample different varieties–they weren’t bad cold either as we snacked on them in our hotel room.



The signs are what drew us to this Filipino eatery, Oriental Mart.  We never sampled the food but the lines at the counter and the multiple to go orders we saw were enough to convince us that this was a legit place.  I read all the signs and kept hearing my Tita Precy’s voice, the requisite Filipino accent with passive aggressive undertones and just a hint of hostile paranoia.  But Tita Precy also made really awesome pancit canton so the funky attitude was forgivable.  Almost.


I loved these signs


The Pike Place Chowder lines were long, so long that they had to separate them in two and put a line monitor out there to keep unobservant patrons from ignoring line #2, lining up in the back of  line #1 and thereby inciting a riot.  They moved that line fast though and within about 15-20 minutes we were seated and enjoying steaming bowls of hot chowder.


We opted for their 8-variety 5-oz sampler because we are an indecisive, greedy lot.  The chowders were creamy and thick with the salty, briny taste of the ocean.  The clams were perfectly cooked with just the right amount of give.  Admittedly, I didn’t have a favorite  because my palate isn’t evolved enough to distinguish between each chowder but they were all delicious.  My only regret was not coming back for their seafood rolls.


Nothing like chowder on a cold and rainy Seattle day

Beecher’s Handmade cheese was probably our most disappointing find.  It was only OK and didn’t quite live up to the Yelp hype.  The ‘World’s Best’ Mac and Cheese was definitely sharp and very cheesy but the bechamel sauce was a little gritty and had a slightly pebbly texture which suggests that the cheese may have been melted too quickly causing the protein to clump up.

Pro tip: Come at opening, 9am for shorter crowds and a front row seat to their cheesemaking action.




The Chukar Cherries origin story I imagine is a lot like the story of the first person who ever tried to eat an oyster.  Company founder Pam Montgomery one day basically decided to try some shriveled up, going bad cherries on her family’s cherry tree orchard and luckily found that the cherries had become chewy over time and had sweetened in their own natural juices.  Many innovations later, Chukar Cherries was born.  On the main floor of the market, we returned to their stand twice twice and wound up getting 10 bags of varying flavors with intentions to give them away as souvenirs.  We’ll see.


JJ loved the smell of sweet chocolate covered cherries


Ellenos Yogurt was our final find. Their yogurt is so creamy and tasted so decadent that you’ll swear you were eating melted ice cream.  We sampled the passion fruit, mango and lemon meringue before finally settling on the marionberry with pie crust crumbles to give it that extra crunch and a touch of sweetness to balance out that tart flavor.


As you can see, we did most of our eating in Pike Place Market.  It was convenient, fast and cheap.  For families the variety makes it possible to sample different things while remaining budget conscious.

Oh, and we saw a bunch of awesome things too like the Space Needle (undergoing renovations til summer, I would skip this until June as most of the areas were closed off and boarded up ), the Bill Speidel Underground Tour (go for the history and the interesting background on what happens when city planning decisions aren’t well thought out).  The Pacific Science Center will entertain your kid for hours with the many interactive exhibits and displays and the enclosed butterfly house.   The infamous gum Wall was gross but it’s part of the eclectic weirdness that is Seattle so you can’t miss it.  Most of all, don’t miss the Chihuly Gardens and the glass blowing demo.  You’ll be awed and amazed by the works of art lovingly curated in this space.


Flagship Starbucks: long lines that moved fast


Chihuly Garden glass sculpture


From JJs perspective, one of the most beautiful displays in Chihuly Garden


Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour


En route to the top of the Space Needle (which was meh in its current state)


“I dare you to stick me to the gum wall!”