Hooks for Cooks™

Seattle-A Cook’s Paradise

July 10th, 2009

photo-by-carolyn-trainerWhen I moved to Seattle from New York fifteen years ago, I was immediately struck by the quality of the foods found here.

Simply by strolling through the grocery stores, natural foods coop and farmers market, it was obvious that things were different here. The fish looked cleaner, shinier, fresher. The shellfish smelled like the ocean.

The abundance of berries was amazing and their supersweet taste was shocking. The organic and whole grain choices were off the charts. The farmers and shopkeepers were knowledgeable and informative.

Of course, as a food writer and home cook, the city’s universal respect for high quality fare impressed me. I knew the culinary opportunities here extended well beyond a classroom, my kitchen and even my desk. Over the years, I’ve traveled far and wide throughout the Pacific Northwest and formed opinions on local favorites.

Inspired by the post I wrote yesterday on Waitrose, I’m offering this info for residents and visitors alike. If you are a resident, you probably already shop at these places. If you are a tourist, go to these places! They might be a little off the beaten path, but they can give you a true taste of Seattle. And, they are a great resource for stocking your Vacation Kitchen, whether that kitchen happens to be in a rented RV, a hotel room, a backpack, a house or even the trunk of a car!

PCC Natural Markets–Puget Consumers Coop is the largest natural foods coop in the country and has been serving Seattle’s residents for well over fifty years. When it comes to organic foods and specialty diets, these folks are the masterminds. There are nine stores scattered in neighborhoods throughout the city, and the resources are endless. The deli counters offer high quality meals, many of which are made with organic ingredients. The bulk bins offer endless choices and are a great way to buy in small quantities, which is helpful if you are here for a short stay or happen to be carting a backpack through local trails. Customer service is a top priority here. So, don’t be shy. Ask questions. You’ll get thorough answers.

Uwajimaya–Located in Seattle’s International District, this massive Japanese grocery store has been family owned and operated since the 1928. The Asian choices are endless and the fish counters are awesome. There is a wide range of prepared foods and an endless selection of ingredients. The produce turns over quickly, and the prices can be very good.

Neighborhood Farmers Markets–Seattle has an amazing array of farmers markets held on varying days and in varying locations. By all means, locate one and go. The array of local produce, fruits, flowers, seafood, meats, cheeses and beverages is astonishing. Bring a totebag because you’ll have no trouble creating an impromptu picnic for your Vacation Kitchen.

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