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Mar 20, 2012 09:49 AM

Another Market question

I’ve reviewed past threads, but I can’t seem to find any recent ones. I’m going to be staying in Seattle, but unlike the last few times I’m very excited because I’ll be renting a house so I’ll be able to cook. I figure I can take advantage of the Market- dreaming about getting fresh fish and produce. We’ll be there at end of June. My plan is to go to the market early the first morning we are there (a Thursday). Or would Friday be better?
Here is what I’ve gleaned. Please correct or update if needed.
For fish I should go to either Jacks or Pure Food Fish.
For Produce Frank and Sosios seem to be the place. Then the Low stall v high stalls. Now is this literal? Do I just pick food from lower bins or is this nomenclature for something else? An area maybe?
I think there is a store called Central market near where we are staying that’s suppose to be interesting.
Thank for any advice.

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  1. All of the produce should be good in June. Vendors frequently pull older produce from under the counter rather than disturb their beautiful displays. Look into those plain brown bags before leaving the stall to make sure the vendor doesn't stick you with produce on the verge of spoilage. I would just stroll through The Market's main aisle before deciding what to get. Deciding which vendors you're going to hit now could mean you miss out on some really good fish, produce, flowers etc.

    Enjoy your stay!

    1. you are going to have such fun! "low stalls" simply means that they are selling only what they grow/produce/catch themselves just like a farmers' market; "high stalls" are more like standard produce merchants who sell products from anywhere. jack's fish spot has the only tanks in the market so it's THE place for crab; the rest is not so nice. pure food fish and city fish are owned by branches of the same family and have the market's 'best' fish but, sadly, not nearly up to the quality of uwajimaya (which i think is seattle's finest). sosio's (a 'high stall')consistently has the best fruit, non-standard vegetables (ramps, sea beans, etc) and forest mushrooms; leah (across the aisle) has a variety of asian produce and corner produce always has a large variety of greens. the farmers set up on wednesday, friday, saturday and sunday so shopping on friday will allow you access to produce that may be only hours old as well as vast hordes of cruise ship passengers. central market (155th/aurora) is probably the best supermarket in seattle with a superb asian section, superior bulk selections and quite respectable produce, fish and meat departments.

      5 Replies
      1. re: howard 1st

        Since I don't eat shell fish, will have to concentrate more on Pure. (I think the family would be disappointed if we didn't get some fish from Pike Peak Market).
        Forest mushrooms--ohhhhh (sorry, just day dreeming)
        Can one tell the difference between "high" and "low" stalls by sight or is it a knowledge thing?

        1. re: Goofy Yno

          Pike *Place*. Pike's Peak is in Colorado.

          1. re: acgold7

            At least it wasn't Pike's Place :)

            1. re: paulj

              OMG, I'm so embarrassed. I'm trying so hard to learn the lingo. Of course I know it's PLACE, but was concentrating on loosing the "S". ya win some, ya loose some.

          2. re: Goofy Yno

            low stalls may sell ONLY what they produce themselves: high stalls are like standard produce stands - anyone selling pineapples or bananas is a high stall. there aren't many low stalls this time of year but honey and hazelnuts and smoked meat (all the flower vendors are technically low stalls) and one farmer who sets up on the street every friday, saturday and sunday

        2. First, by Market, you mean Pike Place? Is the place you are renting within walking distance of downtown, or do you expect to drive? If driving, have you looked at what parking will cost. I live in the north suburbs, roughly halfway between two Central Markets (Shoreline and Mill Ck), and only go to downtown Seattle by bus, which limits what I can buy at Pike Place.

          If you will be staying near the Shoreline Central Market, you might find my 'new whole foods' thread under Chains useful. Another poster has sketched out shopping options up that way. Roughly speaking Central is in the Whole Foods league. Though the produce section at Central is quite a bit larger than that at the new Lynnwood WF. There's also a 99Ranch up that way. If you are from California you may already be familiar with that. PCC Natural Markets is another area option.

          8 Replies
          1. re: paulj

            Sorry Paul, I was trying to be hip and cool by calling Pike Peak Market, "the Market". but yes, that's what I mean. I will be driving in. We are going there whether I buy stuff or not.

            I'll be with in a mile of the one on 155th/Aurora)

            1. re: Goofy Yno

              Then Central should work well for filling in the holes after shopping at Pike Place. It's too expensive for me to shop there on a regular basis, but the alternative requires more driving around (a butcher here, a produce stand there, Trader Joes somewhere between).

              For restaurants in that north Seattle area, look at

              e.g. Fu Man Dumpling House, El Sabor taqueria

              1. re: Goofy Yno

                I think you'll dig the Shoreline Central Market. It's enormous, like all of Pike Place under one roof. Very expensive seafood but amazing quality, and their meats and produce, while not cheap, aren't obscenely priced, especially if you look for sale items. The produce section -- at least when I was there a couple of weeks ago -- had two of the most amazing apples I've ever eaten, which are a little hard to find elsewhere. One is called Junami and the other is called Kiku. If you like apples that are both crisp and crunchy, very juicy and sweet with strong apple flavor, these are for you. If you're a Granny Smith fan, maybe not so much.

                Huge amazing live seafood tanks (too bad shellfish isn't an option) and a real butcher counter. Way at the other end of the store is a really good food court with a vast array of olives and other deli items, including some damn fine Serrano Ham IIRC.

                As you may suspect, this is one of my favorite places to take out-of-towners, maybe even more than The Market. (You weren't wrong calling Pike Place "The Market" -- we call it that too.)

                1. re: acgold7

                  Now I'm really excited. I'm on a Junami hunt! although, maybe I'll have a Kiku with my Kiwi? they both actually sound good.

                  1. re: Goofy Yno

                    Kikus are sweeter.. they have been called the World's Sweetest Apple. Junamis have a wonderful tart backbite after they explode with crisp juiciness... they've been called the Most Thirst-Quenching Apple Ever. No kidding.

                    Now watch, they'll be out of both when you get there.

                2. re: Goofy Yno

                  Think I would still hit The Market for the sheer freshness and the fun of supporting local Washington farmers. The Market is just full of life. If at all possible, avoid Thursday through Sunday at noon to avoid the cruise ship denizens.

                  1. re: firecracker

                    I was there on a Saturday afternoon 2 weeks ago, and it was a madhouse.

                    1. re: paulj

                      ...and the cruise ships are still two months off. I love the Market, but I just don't go there from mid-May through mid-September. When it's that crowded, I just don't trust myself not to commit mayhem.

              2. Go to 'The Market' on a weekday morning is best, earlier is bestest! Get some pastries and coffee, and watch them set up. Lot's of thread comments around about where to snack and graze!

                "Low stalls' are as mentioned elswhere on the thread, farmers selling their own produce; these are on lower tables at the northern end of the main market arcade. Mixed in with lot's of Hmong flower sellers, honey, crafts, t-shirts, etc.
                High Stalls are in the main 'elbow' of the main arcade, beautiful set displays of fruit and veg. They pick items for you from boxes behind the main display. As mentioned, look at what they offer you before paying, and don't be shy about trading for another specimen if you feel it's not perfect.

                You will enjoy Central Market. Especially if you like asian or latin cuisines - they are well stocked with produce, fruit and staples - a couple of aisles of them - for both!

                Please take some time to go into DeLorenti's store for the Italian and European imports, cheeses and deli counter.
                I also strongly encourage a trip down the stairs through the bowels of the market down to Western Ave (where lot's of market parking is anyway), and make a stop into The Spanish Table & it's sister Paris Grocery; both are stocked with amazing products that can inspire many a meal. A couple of doors away is World Spice; they supply many of the local restaurants with herbs, spices, and custom blends. Wonderful place to stock up. Also good tea selection there.

                Let us know how your visit goes:)!

                3 Replies
                1. re: gingershelley

                  Good thing we're early risers. Plan is Thursday morning probably between 8-9. coffee and pastries will do the trick.

                  thanks for the DeLorenti tip. I love Italy and all things Italian. May have to pack some Barolos for the trip:)

                  1. re: Goofy Yno

                    DeLaurenti (note correct spelling) is indeed worth braving the crowds at The Market. If you're indeed there early, you must have the hot fresh little donuts from a stand right by the entrance to DeLaurenti. Those are our must-sees whenever we go.


                    Do not neglect the shops across the alleyway from the main building. In some ways they are even better.


                    1. re: Goofy Yno

                      Gingershelley is right. DeLaurenti's is the best. The staff behind the cheese counter is uber patient and very, very knowledgeanble. Make it up to the wine loft for wonderful wines to go with the meats, cheeses and crackers. Nirvana!

                  2. If you're here at the VERY end of June, you can catch Farm Days on the Cobblestones. The Market + even more farmers! Although I would only ever go on Wednesdays before work when I worked downtown.