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Bus Fare Blues

Exploring the hidden corners of Seattle

Category Archives: Downtown

Pike Market at NightPike Place Chowder is one of those must-see stops for anyone visiting Pike’s Market. It’s a tiny shop with plastic chairs, tucked into a picturesque corner of Post Alley, a few steps from the fruit vendors, fish hawkers, and hordes of camera-wielding tourists. The menu is fairly simple: five types of chowder along with a few salads and sandwiches that I’ll probably never get around to trying. The chowder! Oh, is it good. Alisha bought a cup of red Manhattan and I got the white. The broth is so thick it’s almost cheesy and the clams were incredibly tender; they almost melt in your mouth. At around $6 a cup it’s not the cheapest soup you can find, but it’s well worth the cost. We’ll have to go back and try the salmon chowder.

I asked the lady behind the counter where they get such delicious clams and she leaned in and said “I’ll let you in on a little secret: Washington clams are great flavor-wise, but if you want texture you have to import them from the Atlantic.” Maybe this Northwest classic isn’t as Northwest as I thought, but it sure tastes good.

Tip: go in the morning when the soup is fresh. After a few hours the clams will get tougher from sitting in the broth. They open at 11am, just in time for an early lunch.


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Real Change - Seattle Street PaperWhen you walk around downtown Seattle you might notice homeless people standing on street corners selling newspapers. The paper is Real Change, and it provides a fascinating, on-the-ground view of life in Seattle. Street paper content varies from city to city: I remember the Street Sense paper in Washington, DC was written predominately by the homeless themselves. It contained a mix of opinion pieces, narratives, poems, and local news. Real Change contains high-quality content on a broad range of social issues by staff reporters, religious leaders, and researchers. They recently converted from a monthly into a weekly paper and I assume that has increased their volume.

Street papers are a wonderful idea — they’re an example of microfranchising — a “business in a box” usually adapted for the poorest members of society, that enables them to climb out of poverty through entrepreneurship. Papers are sold to the homeless for $.35, who sell them on street corners for $1.00. So not only do they give a voice to homelessness issues, but they provide jobs in the process — an elegant solution to poverty.




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