The Northwest Flavor Issue
Chefsteps' Guide to Pike Place Market
Grant Crilly of culinary website Chefsteps shows us around his favorite Pike Place spots.
The heart of Pike Place Market might seem an odd place to launch a culinary website, especially one dedicated to modernist cooking techniques. But when inspiration strikes, says cofounder Grant Crilly, he can dart out the door and procure exactly what he needs for experiments that might yield a recipe for fried tendon puffs or a video detailing how to confit a squash in a microwave. He and his four development chefs make as many as 20 such trips a day, not including lunch runs (his go-to is the gyro salad from Mr. D’s Greek Delicacies). ChefSteps staff even applied a graphic map of the market to one of the windows where they scrawl names of current favorite purveyors onto the glass so passersby can benefit from their knowledge instead of just gawking at the wizardry happening inside.
1. Sosio’s Fruit and Produce
In the summer, I’m obsessed. The staff have ridiculous stone fruit hookups in Eastern Washington—peaches, plums, and cherries. Sosio’s really fine tunes the ripeness of its fruit; the strawberries are especially good. sosiosproduce.com
2. City Fish Co.
We buy from a few places, but these guys have a really high standard of fish and great customer service. They’re honest with the tourists too. I’ve seen it play out differently at some other places. cityfish.com
We get all our pantry stuff here, plus ingredients for special projects and wine for events. Nate [Plutko, the food buyer] sources obsessively. If you don’t like it, you bring it right back. And they let you taste anything. delaurenti.com
4. World Spice Merchants
If spices sit for too long, they go bad. The staff is really, really serious about having low inventory, ordering fresh stuff, and moving things quickly. With spices it’s better to buy fresh and run out than have too much. All our basic spices come from here. worldspice.com
5. Britt’s Pickles
We don’t use them for work, but we eat the original pickles all the time. I like that they actually make and ferment the pickles from scratch, and they can talk to you about where they get their cucumbers. brittsliveculturefoods.com
6. Mt. Townsend Creamery
You get to have a different type of relationship and conversation when a vendor makes its own cheese from scratch. I like the Seastack. mttownsendcreamery.com
7. Frank’s Quality Produce
These are the best vegetables and herbs in the market. We have some staples, like squash and really nice Vidalia onions, that are always in the kitchen. franksproduce.net