Between the maddening traffic up and back from Tacoma and the crushing crowds, I’d started to wonder last summer if a trip to Pike Place Market was worth the aggravation. Nancy Leson showed me in just two words why right now is such a great time to go — no tourists.
Sure, I want the market's vendors to have big crowds to sell to. I just don’t want to be in that crowd. The punters at this wintertime visit were delightfully sparse.
We started our day with breakfast northern China style at Country Dough. Nance has been following chef Cheng Biao Yang around for quite a while. We gorged on chicken and lettuce stuffed pockets, a crepe with a fried cruller rolled into it and a light and just spicy enough hot and sour soup. That's what I call a breakfast.
After that it was just one long chow crawl: For goodies at Piroshki Piroshki (no line!), a truffle snort at Sosio's Fruit and Produce -- no I didn't eat the fruit free sample. "More for us" says Nance. And of course a visit to Nancy's old pal Auntie Lei's joint, Oriental Mart.
I'd recently come across some Middle Eastern recipes calling for preserved black limes. When I asked Nancy about them she took us straight down to World Spice Merchants where I picked some up at a price that struck me as very reasonable given such an exotic item.
We wrapped up the day at the Goldfinch Tavern in the Four Seasons Hotel, lunching with KPLU supporter Michael Sullivan, M.D. "Wait a second," Nancy said. "I think you treated my son Nate for allergies, years ago." And he had.
All in all, a fine day out at Pike Place Market. No crowds, great stuff. And Nancy says, even in summer you can avoid the mob. Just show up early.
"Nobody goes there anymore; It's too crowded" – Yogi Berra
Originally aired December 9, 2015