Your pre-IFBC food guide to Seattle

Hi, IFBC people! It’s the Monday before for the International Food Bloggers Conference, and I can’t wait to meet you all.  Hopefully I’ll have enough time to bring cookies.

While IFBC isn’t the best time to actually explore Seattle, I know a bunch of you who are flying/trekking in are coming early, so this is to cover some places to check out that are nearby.

The guide I wrote before PAX covers about the same area, so I won’t write about those spots here, except for an obligatory nod to Pike Place Market. This is slightly more far-reaching, as most food nerds I know will absolutely travel for food, and a bit higher price range.

The NW Chocolate Festival: Really. It’s running at the same time as IFBC, is within walking distance, and, at $30 for a day pass, if you have a few minutes on Sunday it’ll be worth walking in.

I didn’t attend nearly enough of it last year, but with chocolate from Theo to Fran’s to Lillie Belle in attendance, it’ll be the best dessert ever to top off your weekend.

IFBC

Pike Place Market: Like I said before PAX, it’s worth the trek, especially for things like Piroshky Piroshky and Chan. The catch, like last time, is to time it right: I still stand by my belief that Pike Place is best visited outside of prime tourist hours. On the plus side, we’re just outside of tourism season and it has been raining near constantly, so the optimal visiting hours should cover almost all of your free time.

Farmers Markets: Yes, none are super close, but there’s the U-District Market on Saturday and the Broadway Market on Sunday, and they rock. The Sunday Market is closer and has awesome quesadillas, and the U-District Market has Port Madison Farm, who sells some of the best chevre I’ve ever eaten.

Either way, plan to bring cash, as only a smattering of stalls take cards.

IFBC

Melrose Market: Last time I only discussed Homegrown, which is a disservice to all the awesomeness that’s inside.

First, if you’re super early – or a local who doesn’t know about this – Sitka & Spruce does Taco Mondays. As in, stop reading this and go plan a seriously awesome night out right now. Also, the most expensive food item on the menu is $11. Go feast.

Second, you can set up the most epic picnic ever between Rainshadow Meats, Calf and Kid, and Taylor Shellfish. It’s a short trek to Bakery Nouveau for some amazing bread, and you’re set.

The Pike/Pine Ice Cream Crawl: This is painful, but delicious.

Here’s the damage for Pike/Pine:

While there are restaurants on the Hill serving ice cream, these are the ice cream shops, and they’re all within a few easy blocks of each other. Hit as many or as few as you like, but they’re all awesome for different things. (I’m partial to Bluebird’s chocolate pudding and D’Ambrosio’s melon sorbet.) Also, Cupcake Royale does $2 scoops on Tuesdays.

IFBC

This is far more fun to walk with friends, especially as it’s easier to share the giant scoops of ice cream. A few have vegan options, so don’t leave your lactose intolerant buddies out of this. And if you need more of a sugar rush, the nearby Central Coop carries Full Tilt, Pink’s, and a whole bunch of other local ice creams. Just come hungry.

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