One thing I love about Mr. S. is that he’s not too cool for school. He’s willing to indulge the food nerd in me and do cheesy things like a food tour while on vacation. Except Savor Seattle’s tour wasn’t cheesy, not one bit. When I picture food tours, what comes to my mind is a muddle of people being shepherded from one tourist trap to another. However, the only cheesiness we came across during SS’s food tour was the cheese we got to nosh on at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese.
If you’re in Seattle, I highly recommend signing up for one of SS’s tours. They offer up three tours – the Pike Place Tour, the Gourmet Seattle Tour and the Chocolate Indulgence Tour. I’ve been to Pike Place before and enjoyed it, but it was such a giant CF when I was there that I didn’t really feel like I got to experience all that it had to offer. Since Mr. S. had never been to Pike Place, let alone Seattle before, we opted to go with the Pike Place Tour. There was a morning and an afternoon tour available; I argued for the afternoon one since I am grumpy in the morning but Mr. “Early Bird” S. got his way on this one. He promised to buy me a big cup of Fonté coffee, so I relented and we went on the morning tour.
Our tour guide, Caroline, was amazing. Vibrant, friendly and extremely knowledgeable...within a few minutes of meeting up with her, she felt like an old friend. She kept us organized, interested and our tummies full. We had about a dozen people in our group- some couples, some singles; coming from a myriad of places (I remember one couple coming from Chicago and another from New Zealand).
Our 2-hour tasting tour consisted of hefty samples of:
Daily Dozen Doughnuts – fresh, warm mini doughnuts that melt in your mouth
MarketSpice – a hot cup of their house-blend tea
Pike Place Fish – 2 different kinds of smoked salmon and 1 salmon jerky
Frank’s Quality Produce – fresh seasonal fruit
Pike Place Chowder – pipin’ hot cup of chowder
Chukar Cherries – delicious chocolate covered, dried cherries
Beecher’s Handmade Cheese – homemade mac and cheese
Piroshky-Piroshky – two kinds of piroshkies
Etta’s Seafood Restaurant – a delectable crabcake
At each stop, we got to meet the storekeepers and learn about the history of the shop. (One lucky guy in our group even got to catch a fish at PPF!) As we walked through the open-air market, Caroline pointed out various points of interest like Rachel the Pig and the Japanese-American mural watching over the marketplace, which may have normally gone unnoticed in the throngs of people.
SS even accommodates those who may have food allergies and intolerances. I advised them I was lactarded when I made the online reservations and they made arrangements for me to taste a non-dairy specialty at Pike Place Chowder and at Beecher’s. Of all the samples we tasted, my favorite were the Chukar Cherries. The Cabernet Cherries were fantastic! A tart dried cherry covered by sweet dark chocolate with a hint of cabarnet wine…it was oh so decadent and delicious. We loved the cherry treats so much we bought a few boxes as X-mas gifts for family. I was also quite enamored with the Alderwood smoked salmon. I purchased a pack and brought it home to share with some girlfriends at a get together. Served with goat cheese and water crackers, it was wonderful. Now from the look of contentment on his face, Mr. S., I believe fancied the New England clam chowder at Pike Place Chowder. It was thick and creamy, flavored with bacon and hosted nice, big meaty pieces of clam (no shirking here). I was quite jealous that I couldn’t have any (too much dairy in it) but I did get to have some fab Manhattan clam chowder.
Are you hungry yet? Well, if so and you find yourself in the Emerald City and want to do some exploring, take advantage of one of the tours offered by Savor Seattle. The Pike Place tours are $39, the Gourmet Seattle Tour (3 hour tour of Belltown, downtown Seattle and Pike Place Market) is $69 and the Chocolate Indulgence Tour (2 hours) is $49. They go on rain or shine, so be sure to pack an umbrella! The cost covers the tour, food/beverage samples, the use of the audio equipment and a 10-15% discount card for all of their food partners (this includes shops that are involved with all three of their tours).