Diane’s Tour through Pike Place Market

Posted: April 14, 2014 by jennroig in Chronicles, English
Tags: , , ,

I confess, I fell for Seattle. It would be the perfect place to start over if the threat of a big earthquake didn’t hang over the city’s neck.

Anyway, Seattle has many great things to offer: the Needle, access to Murano glass blowing classes, mountains, ocean, lakes and a border with Canada… The Pike Place market is for sure among my favorite places.

seattle pics (1)

(c) jennroig, Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington State, March 2014

(c) jennroig, March 2014

Diane LaVonne, March 2014

This may have a lot to do with the fact that I got introduced to Pike Place Market by Cheff Diane LaVonne. She’s the proud owner and founder of Diane’s Market Kitchen, where I had the chance to taste a delicious salmon with vegetables for lunch.

Diane argues that in addition to cooking and creating recipes upon request, she has the mission of teaching people and raising awareness about how to cook in a better, healthier way that it’s also easy and quick.

Check the salmon skin

Diane showing the salmon skin and explaining differences between a farm and a wild fish

Diane knows how to compel her audience because her arguments are meant to the senses, not the rational part of the brain. Her dishes are nutritive and healthy, but they are also colorful and tasty, bringing a heavenly aroma. She makes a point I will remember forever: “if the food tastes well when it’s raw, it will taste good when cooked”. We were talking about salmon and vegetables such as carrots and beets, I’m not sure she would say the same about red meat or chicken.

I would risk saying that few people in Seattle would know the Pike Place Market as good as Diane. In fact, by the way she describes the operation of the market, the kiosks, her favorite products, and walks around with the familiarity of someone that it’s a long time member of the community, you can feel her passion, involvement and commitment.

pike diane

Where you should go to get your spices in Seattle

She took us first to the most amazing spices store. Different kinds of curry, tea, cayenne, cardamom, sugar, cinnamon, saffron, paprika, chili, and every other spice will be for sale there. The special thing is they will tag the origin of the spice, they will make sure it is naturally grown and all of this for a price that you wouldn’t dream to get at any supermarket.

The thing is the Pike Place Market receives public funding that helps to subsidize small businesses owners such as farmers, bakers, traders or producers of other handicrafts.

Chukar Cherries at Pike Market

Chukar Cherries at Pike Market

Diane showed us her place-to-go for the best chocolates. Chukar Cherries offers a very special recipe that manage to keep the nuts crunchy inside the chocolate even though it had to be melted by force. Diane says she rather thinks it’s magic. The owners once asked Diane to create a recipe for her shop, which she did after having researched the business and being sure about the nature of the woman owner.

Uli’s Famous sausages were also part of the tour. Uli’s story is peculiar. He went to Germany to get trained on how to professionally cook sausages. He returned to Seattle to open his shop where he offers a range of different sausages claimed to taste exactly as the original ones. According tourists and travelers, the way Uli cooks a Chorizo Picante, a Hot Italian, a Merguez or any other is dead on.

Diane walked us to other of her usual suppliers’ kiosks. A place where I tasted black garlic for the first time, and learned about cheese making and why the paving stones are engraved with thousands of names -a memory of a time where Seattle citizens bought the chance to have their names on those stones as a way to donate to the market.

The Pike Place Market is unmissable.

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