Hello, there. Oh my goodness I am so excited to gush about this outing. I must admit, it isn’t really something organized by the city of Seattle. It’s more like I’m letting you in on a little holiday tradition that I’ve created, and it’s my favorite tradition of all. Truly, you can do this during all seasons of the year, but Christmas is the most wonderful time to walk around the city.
Once you are in the city, head to The Chocolate Box (on Pine, between 1st and 2nd Ave). They sell fantastic chocolate products from Seattle-based companies like Theo and Fran’s. Walk directly toward the back of the store, where there is a very small bar (did I mention they also have wine?). Here is where you can have some of the most delicious hot chocolate. That’s saying something, because I am a very picky hot chocolate person! I often get a sipping chocolate with some whipped cream. The sipping one is very rich, and they only sell it in a small size. If you’re looking for a bigger drink, or something less strong, the traditional chocolate is also delicious. There are add-ins that are available, such as cardamom and orange (that’s the only 2 I can remember right now). Don’t pass up the offer of whipped cream, either. It is homemade and fresh— the perfect compliment to the chocolate. The drink is made of the chocolate shavings from Chocolate Vitale. The Chocolate Vitale hot chocolate shavings are available for purchase at the store, too.
After you have your chocolate and are beginning to warm up a bit, continue on Pine Street to Pike Place Market, only 1 block away. On your way, you’ll walk by Inn at the Market, on your right. At this point on your outing, I highly suggest you take a detour, and visit Watson Kennedy before hitting the market. To reach this dreamy store, make a right at the entrance to Inn at the Market on Pine Street. Continue straight back, and enjoy the delicious aromas of the restaurant as you walk by the back door. There will be the revolving door of the hotel on your right, a fountain and benches to your left, and Watson Kennedy directly in front of you. I must warn you, it is beautiful. Every time I enter the store, my breath gets cut, and every time I leave, my heart sinks a bit. I truly can’t explain to you how magical it is, so I suppose you’ll just have to visit!
After you’ve finished looking around Watson Kennedy, you can leave the way you came in and continue down the hill to the market. It is quite wonderful to visit at this time of year. Truly, I can’t explain a method to the madness for you. Just walk through the stalls, and enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations. I will, however, point out a few stores on the opposite side of the street that are not to be missed. The first I will point out is Le Panier, one of the best French bakeries in Downtown (if not the best). Their Sablé aux Noisettes is amazing. It’s a giant hazelnut shortbread cookie that would go quite well with that hot chocolate, if you have any left. Also, their Feuilleté Provencale is an incredible flaky, tomato-y treat. Even just walking in is an experience, as you’re hit with warmth and the smell of a french bakery. With my french background, I have been to many bakeries in both France and the United States, and this is one of the best. Another place to visit is Beecher’s Cheese. They have samples, and there are big glass windows along the right side of the store so you can watch the cheese being made right there. It’s so cool, and their cheese is delicious. If you’re a fan of Mac & Cheese, try Beecher’s version. It’s pure heaven. The final store I like to visit is the original Starbucks. I must admit, there are very few times that I’ve ever actually gotten into this store, due to the long lines of tourists. However, if you’re never been inside, it’s certainly cool to order a drink from the original Starbucks at least once.
Are you getting cold? Head up Pike Street a few hundred feet to Storyville Coffee. I wrote a post about it a month ago, and you can find it here. Well, that concludes today’s fun downtown outing! I hope you enjoy yourself, take time to revel in the moment, and take pictures.
Price: The hot chocolate is around $4. The pastries at Le Panier are between $2 and $6, depending on what you buy. I don’t know how much Beecher’s is, sorry! But, walking around is free!
Local Trick: My favorite stand in the market is the fish stand at the end (or the beginning, depending on which way you’re walking), under the big Farmers Market sign and next to the pig statue (at Pike Street). It has been a longstanding tradition to watch the men throw the fish whenever we visited the Market, and I highly recommend you pay a visit to these guys. If you like cupcakes, Cupcake Royale is neighbors with The Chocolate Box, so be sure to visit them too!
Locations: The Chocolate Box: 106 Pine Street, Seattle WA 98101
Inn at the Market & Watson Kennedy: 86 Pine Street, Seattle, WA 98101
Le Panier: 1902 Pike Place, Seattle, WA 98101
Beecher’s Cheese: 1600 Pike Place, Seattle, WA 98101
Starbucks: Pike Place Market, 1912 Pike Place, Seattle, WA 98101
Dates & Times: Anytime, any day! (that makes it easy!)