As the summer approaches, slowly..very slowly, we are encroaching upon days of sunshine when we will enjoy picnics at the park and long summer sunsets. And if I had to pick the perfect neighborhood to spend the day picnicking and soaking in the sun at the park, it would be Belltown.
My husband and I went to Paris last year, and everyday for lunch we spent time exploring each neighborhood’s local farmers market. We selected a baguette, a bottle of wine, stinky cheese, and some jambon (ham) or the french version of prosciutto. And then walked to a neighboring park with our feast and just simply enjoyed. We people watched, talked, laughed, sketched, read, ate our feast, enjoyed the weather, flipped through all of our pictures from the day..it was really fun. So I am beside myself thinking why we hadn’t, until last weekend, reenacted this sort of thing for a date day in Seattle! I mean we have one of the best farmer’s markets in the world right at our doorstep!
Well regardless if you picnic with a date, or if you just want to pick up some goodies to go with a great book and a solo sunshine day, I’ve got the best places for you to pick up all the ingredients for a great day.
For something a little bit French, visit the Paris Grocery. They’ve got everything from wine, cheese, bread, jam, everything! And you know that you are in the right place when you walk in to the smell of pungeant cheese that smells like B.O. My husband says the more pungent, the more delicious, but I am not a believer in that sentiment. I prefer aged Gouda and other hard cheeses that have less of an aroma, but that is besides the point. It is a legit place that has everything french.
To get there Go to Pike’s Place Market and right where Virginia meets Western by the park you will see an option to walk down a hill instead of straight into the North Entrance of Pikes Place. Walk down the hill, and you will see the Paris Grocery near the middle of the hill on the left.
For something a little bit Spanish, grab your goods at the Spanish Table. I lived in Spain for a semester abroad in college and I will tell you that many of the goodies you will find there will make you say ¡Ole’! In addition to a beautiful selection of Rioja wines, you will find music, children’s books, and what I believe to be the worlds largest paella grilling pan. It’s a hoot! Again, all things Spanish you can pick up here.
It’s located right next door to the Paris Grocery, down the hill from the corner of Virginia and Western.
If you’re grilling, swing into World Spice Merchants for your seasoning. Located just a small skip down the hill from the corner of Virginia and Western on the right hand side of the street. You can smell the spices from the street.
You can pick up your meat for the grill at Don and Joe’s Meats located adjacent to the famous fish throwing place by the pig on the south end of the Market. You will also see Bavarian meats to the North of the fish throwing place, which are dynamite for brats and sausages.
For a true Belltown Gem, head to Macrina Bakery on 1st and Battery. Choose your coffee beverage of choice and the fruit and cheese tray which comes with one of their delicious famous baguettes. You will also stock up on savory desserts there as well and/or an amazing sandwich to-go. And then walk north down the block to the Olympic Sculpture Park on Broad and Western to enjoy your treats.
*Also, coming to Belltown setting to open in a few weeks (6/21) will be the Mercantile at Local 360 located on the corner of Bell and 1st. They will have wine, cheese, a butcher, bread, bakery items, the works. It is a little store past the main restaurant on Bell.
And last but certainly not least is the Pike Place Market Picnic Experience.
Bread: Le Panier (Also pick up a Macaron or two, pistachio kind is the best)
Cheese: Beechers or Quality Cheese which is located on the south end of Pike’s place near Corner Produce. Jesse prefers quality cheese over the zoo like environment of Beechers. But, he’s a snob ;)
Fruit: Fruit has overtaken pike place market. You will not have trouble finding fruit.
Wine: Pike and Western Wine Shop or La Buona Travola Truffle Cafe or the Tasting Room in Post Alley
*Also in Post Alley…see the Perennial Tea Room and do not miss Cafe Campagne for breakfast.
I recommend the Olympic Sculpture Park or Myrtle Edwards Waterfront Park for the best views of the water, people watching, and plenty of grass to plop down on. You’ll find that the park by the market gets too packed with people to really enjoy. OSP and Myrtle Edwards are located on Broad and Western, just a few blocks north of the Market.
*Also, Boat Street Cafe, which is my favorite place in all of Seattle for brunch and lunch, is a short block North from the Olympic Sculpture Park on Western. You can pick up delicious sandwiches from there and take them to-go for your park adventure if you’re stacked for time or just plain lazy. You won’t be disappointed with this option either!
I hope you enjoy your sunny day in the city!