The 3 Best Things to Buy in Seattle

updated May 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Charity Burggraaf)

From salmon and crab to berries and wild mushrooms, the Seattle region’s natural resources make it an eater’s paradise. For visitors, a week eating here can feel like a fantasy — but how do you capture all those magical bites and take them home? I can’t beam you back to your favorite restaurants, but I can tell you that some of Seattle’s best bites actually do travel well.

Skip the Space Needle-shaped keychain and the dried flowers from Pike Place Market — here’s what you want to stuff in your overhead bin on the flight home.

(Image credit: Charity Burggraaf)
(Image credit: Charity Burggraaf)

1. Salumi

It’s a tiny slip of a sandwich shop in Pioneer Square, but since Armandino and Marilyn Batali (yes, that Batali family) started selling salami and other porcine delights in 1999 as a retirement project, they’ve become famous for big flavors. Think chipotle-inflected mole salami, bright agrumi salami with cardamom and orange peel, and their classic spicy sopressata, plus beautiful whole cured coppa and guanciale.

Stop for a salami sandwich right when you land, or grab some of their famous salami to go on your way out of town — wrapped in a log (which doesn’t need to be refrigerated for shorter trips) or sliced and ready to eat.

Where to find it: Salumi Artisan Cured Meats (Monday through Friday for lunch, 309 Third Ave. S.)

(Image credit: Charity Burggraaf)
(Image credit: Charity Burggraaf)

2. Sea Wolf Rye Bread

When handsome brothers Kit and Jesse Schumann moved their bread-making business from a rented kitchen to their own airy, sparse bakery just north of Lake Union, Seattle’s bread-lovers took notice. Crackling baguettes and chewy sourdough loaves, previously hard to get, could become a dinner table staple, and the bakery also added perfectly flaky croissants and über-Germanic lye pretzels to its tiny menu.

Stop in for coffee and a pastry, but take home the dense rye bread — it’s sturdy enough to travel and keeps well, so you can slice it thin and toast it for breakfast well after you get home.

Where to find it: Sea Wolf Bakers (7 a.m. to 3 p.m., 3621 Stone Way N.)

(Image credit: Charity Burggraaf)
(Image credit: Charity Burggraaf)

3. Pike Place Fish

Every summer, salmon season hums through the city, but you don’t have to live here to appreciate the catch at home. At Pike Place Fish Market — home to the rowdy orange-clad fishmongers famous for throwing finned friends to one another as customers order — you can get fish to fly.

Pick out a fat filet of King salmon, Alaskan king crab for a party, or a few pounds of local spot prawns, and the fishmongers will carefully pack it for a chilly trip home with you (usually with a wink). If you don’t want to suffer the jokes of fellow passengers, Pike Place Fish also ships overnight — so you can pick out your halibut cheeks in person and have them on your dinner table across the country the next night.

Where to find it: Pike Place Fish Market, at the corner of Pike Street and Pike Place at Pike Place Market (86 Pike Place), $5 packing charge.