The inside of ViaVita Café & Wine Bar traces the timeline of a single day. Floor-to-ceiling windows cast morning light onto a display case of pastries and cheeses—an addendum to the counter that bears morning coffee orders. Nearby, granite-topped tables sit far enough apart to suggest an open, Parisian patio, but close enough together to support a cross-stream of chatter over lunchtime sandwiches. The day ends on the other side of a semicircular wine bar. There, walls wearing distressed paint encapsulate a rustic alcove, where hanging plants and Greco-Roman-style pottery evoke the dining room of a hillside villa.
The decor and seasonal menu at ViaVita Café & Wine Bar champion a European-flavored escape, where diners can stop at any time for a meal, a snack, or a glass of wine. From the crepes and omelets of brunch—served with duck-fat potatoes and chocolate-orange butter—to afternoon paninis and dinners of pan-seared Alaskan salmon, meals realized by imaginative chefs spark and fuel long conversations. Imported and domestic beers, as well as wines from small vineyards on multiple continents, complement the diverse bouquet of flavors and pair especially well with cheese and charcuterie boards. During special events, guitar music acts as a soothing soundtrack for bites, and sommelier seminars instruct patrons on how to age libations without sending them to PG-13 movies alone.
An osprey hovers 30 feet in the air over Lake Washington, virtually silent until it spots something beneath the water's surface. Quickly, it folds its wings and plunges into the water, emerging seconds later with a fish ripped firmly between its talons. Nearby, Cascade Canoe & Kayak Centers' founder, Dan Henderson, floats by silently. This slice of the pristine outdoors happens to be his workplace, but none of it would have happened if his mother hadn't forced him to take a canoeing lesson in 1972. Despite his initial reluctance, Mr. Henderson took to the water like a robot to a magnet store. He went on to race whitewater canoes and flat-water Olympic-style canoes, eventually earning four medals as a member of the U.S. national team. Later, Mr. Henderson became a coach and set out to train a new crop of water athletes. To this end, Cascade Canoe & Kayak Centers serves as the natural continuation of Mr. Henderson's journey: a place to, in his words, "share paddling with the community in a manner that is fun and safe."
Under the leadership of expert guides—many of whom learned their trade directly under Dan Henderson's wing—visitors embark on day trips into inlets and bays, paddling in the shadow of the Olympic Mountains or tailgating orca whales. The staff also leads canoe and kayak classes that aim to take novices from beginner to expert. Their efforts have proved fruitful, as three of Cascade Canoe & Kayak Centers' students have made it to international-level competitions.
Length, grace, and a healthy body. These are the focuses of barre3 founder Sadie Lincoln. To achieve these results collectively, however, Sadie knew she needed to come up with a completely new routine. Working with yogis, professional dancers, doctors, and athletes, she created the barre3 system. It's a three-step sequence that consists of isometric holds, low-impact movements, and recovery stretching. This combination strengthens cores and aligns postures while sculpting long, lean muscles and burning calories. While upbeat music fills the studio, instructors lead small groups through a heart-racing sequence of yoga-inspired poses and pilates-based exercises. The ballet barre comes into use when striking muscle-building dance poses and stretches.
It's a system that has had proven results, which has spurred the successful growth of barre3 locations throughout the country. Today, fitness enthusiasts can find a barre3 studio in 16 states. An easy-to-follow routine, barre3 can also be performed at home with online workouts. These workouts are designed to fit busy schedules with routines that range from 10?60 minutes. All that's needed for online workouts is a barre3 core ball, weights, an exercise mat, and a sturdy, waist-high surface such as the top of Danny DeVito's head.
Spread across 17,500 square feet of training space and a 5,000 square foot indoor turf field, CrossFit Bellevue's huge equipment cache ensures that members have the ability to challenge themselves within a safe and supportive environment. But just what kind of equipment are we talking about? Try two indoor sprint tracks, 21 regulation-size lifting platforms, ropes, rings, bars, and medicine balls. Yet with all those options, safety remains the key priority for the coaches?including former members of the armed services and competitive athletes?who monitor each student's technique to help minimize injury risk and maximize effectiveness.
These CrossFit workouts emphasize the importance of functional exercises that mirror the kinds of movements people use in everyday life, such as running, jumping, climbing, lifting, and throwing. With the help of kettlebells, free weights, sandbags, and other objects, trainers can teach people of all fitness levels how to scale the load and intensity of each exercise. It's that extra level of care and individualized attention that helps keep members feeling confident and motivated as they work toward their fitness goals.
Ben Chen has experienced his share of success in his nearly 30-year photography career?his work has been published in such publications as Cosmopolitan, The Los Angeles Times, and ESPN Magazine, and he has lent his expertise to some of the nation's largest corporations, including Procter & Gamble and The American Red Cross. In 2006, the photographer began to notice that more and more novices were purchasing complex DSLR cameras, and that gave him an idea. Chen decided to share his wealth of knowledge with aspiring photographers by creating the 4-Hour Newbie Photography Boot Camp, which teaches students how to shoot manually with their DSLRs and create artistic, professional-quality photos. Since then, more than 5,000 students in 20 cities throughout the country have benefited from these classes. In 2013, he acquiesced to student demand and created Part II of the class, which goes beyond photography basics by diving into post-production techniques. Nowadays, students can take both Part I and Part II in the same day, helping them go from student to master in less time than most action-movie montages.
A tall glass of wine, a sizzling plate of food, and a serene room can make for an exquisite meal. The team behind Chantanee Thai Restaurant & Bar know that well, and for almost 20 they have brought their refined Thai staples and chill service to the downtown Bellevue community. Duck dishes arrive wok-crisped and glazed with rich garlic sauce or slow-cooked in a fragrant combination of coriander and five-spice powder. Platters of stir-fried vegetables and cashews get a kick from housemade chili paste, which can be used to make any dish spicier or just more red if you happen to love the color.
On one wall, a large Thai-inspired art piece gleams gold over the room and a circular booth with lime green cushions pops amid earth-tone chairs and blonde wooden tables. In another artistic play, a row of stout wooden planks hangs from the ceiling, visually separating the dining room from the nearby lounge area. There, a curving bar winds the length of the room and bartenders mix up complex drinks, pour absinthe, or set their signature Blue Blazer drink on fire.