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Always on the hunt for great food for my parties and events, I recently attended the Arcade Lights event at the Pike Place Market. This event happens a few times a year and I highly recommend you grab a friend or two next time it comes around and head on down!

For $25 (or $30 at the door) you get 10 tokens. Each food and drink vendor charged 1 or 2 tokens for a small taste. I found that I was perfectly satisfied with the ten tokens and was able to try a nice variety of things. But they do sell tokens onsite so if you run out and still have places to try (and there are so many wonderful vendors!), you are able to purchase more.

Here’s a peek at what I sampled and the fabulous vendors I visited:

Efeste Wines: The first thing I had to do (of course!) was fill my very cool Arcade Lights glass – why walk around with an empty glass? 🙂

I don’t know much about wine – but this red from Efeste was smooth and delicious!

Pampeana Empanadas: I have been seeing this family-owned vendor’s delicious tweets for a couple of years now and have been dying to try their hand-made empanadas – oh my goodness! Why did I wait so long! SO GOOD!

You can find them at local farmers markets, but they will also deliver (perfect for your next gathering!) a minimum order to your door – frozen and ready to bake.

Mt. Townsend Creamery: I interviewed Julia from Mt. Townsend in my preview post for this event and I could not wait to try the menu item she had teased me with a couple of weeks earlier.

I was not disappointed! Seastack paired with local pickled figs and black pepper crackers, and on the same plate, dessert featured Fromage Blanc served on a nigella shortbread with a lace of local honey and a zest of lemon. Outstanding! I do think this pairing will be making an appearance at one of my parties real soon!

Next time you’re in the market, be sure and visit their tasting room near the fish throwing guys! I promise you won’t find a more friendly cheese purveyor – and the cheese, oh the cheese!

Garlic It!:

These vendors served up a very flavorful cheese and garlic smashed potatoes. You can find their jars of varying types of garlic at many locations throughout Washington and at Pear in the Market and fun garlic recipes on their website. I do love my garlic!

Honest Biscuits:

I don’t usually seek out biscuits because I tend to find them quite dry. But I had been hearing so much about this place lately and I just had to try. This Beecher’s Cheese and Hempler’s Ham biscuit was anything but dry – moist and buttery, I enjoyed every last crumb!

Salumi: Salami is one of my favorite food groups! And the hand-made salami from Salumi in Seattle is some of the finest around. Their little shop in Pioneer Square has lines out the door at lunchtime with local commuters clamoring for one of their famous sandwiches. But the pure, unadulterated salami (and the other fine cured meats they sell at their storefront) would be just perfect on a charcuterie platter at an upcoming party.

I had the spicy in case you’re wondering!

Lu-Lu’s Catering:

These ladies were very hard to pass by! Their delicious Chicken and Sausage Gumbo and mini corn muffins was only outdone by their infectious, positive, fun-loving energy! They just made me smile – and, as if their wonderfully executed authentic New Orleans fare isn’t enough, I would have them cater an event just to have these adorable ladies bring smiles to my guests faces as well!

Bikelava: Okay – I have a confession to make. I did not try the baklava from these peddling vendors, but I just had to share because I know there are some serious baklava lovers out there and their presentation is too much fun!

You can find this adorable, bike loving, married couple serving the tasty treats out of a wagon attached to the back of their unique (and yet, very Seattle!) ride. They attend local farmers markets and are available for event dessert catering.

Jonboy Caramels: I tend to be more of a savory lover, but one of my favorite sweets by far is caramels!

And I have just found a new perfect snack! These babies are pure gold in a brown wrapper. The fleur de sel satisfies my craving for savory while hitting that little part of me that desires a touch of sweet. Sold online or at local farmers markets, specialty stores, PCCs and Whole Foods Markets.

I know what I will be bringing for hostess gifts this holiday season. 🙂

Spot On Foods:

I rounded out the evening with a simple chocolate chip cookie from Spot On Foods. But of course, it was not really so simple – this baked from scratch, all natural, preservative free cookie had me at cocoa nibs – Theo cocoa nibs! Another obsession of mine!

Spot On’s baked goods are available in local retailers and they do catering. Yes!

What a wealth of local food artisans we have available to us here in the Northwest. Next time you are planning a gathering, be sure to check out some of these vendors for something different that will really wow your guests!