Revisiting Pike Place Market: Tulip Time and My Favorite Baguette

Last weekend we took the kids down to Pike Place Market and we browsed around. I worked at the Market for years in my early 20s, and used to go down on my days off, too. But I don't get down there as much anymore. 

That's mostly because we have a toddler who likes to dart around, dash at warp speeds, and pick things up off of the ground and put them in his mouth. I think we can all agree that the Market's floor is a special kind of yucky. Plus, let me assure you, standing at the DeLaurenti counter sampling cheese while juggling a monkey who's fighting to rip all of the crackers off of the display...well, you get the idea.

But I can't think of any better trip to make on a startlingly blue day like today than to head to the market for a huge bundle of tulips (24 for $20! which means you can surprise someone with half) and a baguette from Le Panier.

I'm a sucker for the place; I used to work at Le Panier way back in my college days, but that's not the only reason. I never tire of the buttery scent and those seats right up by the windows where you can plant yourself on a bar stool and watch the foot traffic go by. Along with a baguette--which, I have to say, still is maybe my favorite one in town; its shattering crust and soft inside are so perfectly balanced--I usually can't resist a friand, the dense, moist almond cakes (they now have friands with pistachios, too!). And usually a palmier ends up in the bag, though in my memory they're better than they are now.

Maybe your ritual is sitting at the Market Grill and getting a salmon sandwich, or making lunch of mini donuts and fried chicken gizzards. I think we've all got our special Market finds, and with spring virtually knocking down the door, it might be time to rediscover them.