At the center of a big, round table sits a lazy susan bearing tiny, elegant white dishes. Each holds a mound of intriguing dried leaves that look as though they’ve been emptied from an alchemist’s vial. Over the course of the evening, everyone around the table will watch, smell, and taste as the power of those leaves is awakened through hot water and the deep knowledge shared by Roberta, Experience Tea’s owner. A certified tea specialist, she leads classes on a vast range of tea topics, exploring everything from health benefits to proper steeping techniques to the etiquette of Chinese tea ceremonies or British-tea hot tubs. Within a warmly lit storefront lined by painted brick walls and a veritable library of tea varieties, students can also learn how to create their own signature brew in blending workshops. Even customers who stop in for a pouch of loose-leaf are likely to end up indulging in a rich sensory experience as Roberta offers them a sample and shares tasting notes.
While undergoing spa training in Taiwan, Spa Chi’s owner Catherine Lee was inspired by ancient Chinese principles. It motivated her to create a special place where the entire family could relax and rejuvenate. That’s why Spa Chi combines its spa with a café, art store, and garden all in one location—while one person is enjoying a pampering massage, facial, or paraffin dip, the rest of the family or group can eat Taiwanese-style dishes at the café, take a paper-clay class, or simply enjoy the outdoor asian garden. In keeping with her goals to provide each client with beauty regimens designed for individual healing, relief, and beauty, Catherine frequently journeys to Taiwan for continued spa training. She's even approaching 30 years of experience, the equivalent of 7.5 bachelors' degrees or one PhD in quantum mechanics.
Shnoo Yogurt isn't your run-of-the-mill frozen yogurt stand. Instead of serving pre-made treats churned out in a factory, the staff makes non-fat, gluten-free yogurt in small batches, using minimal sugar and milk from a local dairy??a practice that helps preserve all the nutrients and live cultures that make frozen yogurt healthy. But Shnoo Yogurt's Full Tilt brand ice cream is also good for you; made from all-natural, local ingredients, it's available in 28 flavors, including vegan-friendly varieties. And the health-conscious options don't stop there. One you've chosen your favorite frozen yogurt or ice cream, a full bar of at least 30 nutritious toppings awaits to be mixed in, including fresh blueberries, coconut, granola, honey, and even marshmallows, which count as a vegetable if eaten on Thanksgiving.
The well-traveled pastry chef at Royale Cafe & Bakery's daily, scratch-made selection of pastries fits neatly beneath a small glass counter. The presentation, though, incorporates culinary techniques learned from across the globe via seven years of training and travel. The chef rises early each morning to bake everything from savory souffl? to mini chocolate cheesecake tarts and nutella-filled croissants. These treats come alongside homemade soups, hot paninis, and gourmet salads. Baristas also prepare artful espresso drinks to accompany them, such as mochas and lattes topped with foamy images of flowers, leaves, and hot milk in coffee.
Every day, the staff at Boba Smoothie blend fresh fruits and other ingredients to create smoothies, teas, and non-dairy milk teas. But the sweet flavors of fruit and tea aren't the drinks' only feature?the cups fill with chewy boba pearls, which add a burst of texture to every taste like a lego made of candy. Staff members also serve up fresh scoops of gelato in such flavors as mango, coconut, and cupcake.
At first glance, the kitchen of Trophy Cupcakes and Party could be taken for that of a gourmet restaurant. Pure Madagascar-Bourbon vanilla and Valrhona cocoa from France line the shelves, and local sweet-cream butter, free-range eggs, and fresh fruit fill the fridge. These are the ingredients Jennifer Shea uses to craft her daily rotating cupcake flavors, from chocolate nutella to gluten-free cherries jubilee. With the help of husband Michael Williamson, she distributes her decadent handheld desserts to four Seattle boutiques, which have garnered press attention to rival that of the city's finest eateries. Martha Stewart gushed about Jennifer's innovative and widely varied flavors, and Seattle magazine's readers dubbed them best cupcakes 2011-2014.
To complement their cupcakes, Trophy Cupcakes stocks a curated selection of party supplies. A cocktail-style party room in Wallingford Center, which can accommodate up to 30 guests, is available to rent for birthday parties, baby showers, and superhero business meetings.