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.
At Cinebarre, the latest action-packed thrillers and romantic comedies light up the theaters' screens?but the establishment is as much a restaurant as a movie theater. Each row of seats faces a table, and during the show, waitstaff silently peruse the theater, taking orders for cocktails and a wide variety of gourmet eats. The plates range from warm tortilla chips with house-made salsa to burgers and pizzas. To make things more fun, each dish also gets a movie-themed name: think Goldfingers (hand-breaded chicken tenders), the Bull Durham (pizza topped with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, and sausage), or the Fight Club sandwich, which the chefs refuse to talk about.
Stationed in Snoqualmie—just 2 miles from the golf course where it all started—Sigillo Cellars pumps out an assortment of bordeaux and rhone varietal wines. The facility utilizes local Washington vineyards to provide the grapes for its production, located in American Viticulture Areas including Red Mountain, Rattlesnake Hills, and Horse Heaven Hills. Visitors to Sigillo Cellars can taste the fruits of their labor during public wine tastings every weekend, or join the wine club for regular deliveries from the wine stork.
Stan Phillips spent his childhood at his father’s side in their Kansas City backyard, his little hands barely strong enough to handle the wood for the family’s smoker. Now that he’s grown, Phillips brings his family’s recipes to his Issaquah restaurant, where he slathers meats such as beef brisket, ribs, hot links, and ham with a traditional dry rub, smokes them over hickory wood, and dishes them out with sauce on the side. When diners step inside the rustic barbecue joint, they can order their meats by the pound, or dig into sandwiches such as the Cowboy, whose pork is pulled apart with a spur. A full bar slings cocktails, wines, and craft beers to suit every entrée, and the dining room displays a full Sunday football lineup on its large televisions.
To say Mark Coleman knows how to fish is an understatement. Coleman, the owner of All Rivers & Saltwater Charters, has mastered the art of side drifting, float fishing, hover fishing, back bouncing, and jigging during his more than 10 years exploring the Pacific Northwest’s waterways. In the process, he earned captain certification from the US Coast Guard, a distinction also earned by each member of his team.
Aboard vessels that range from the 29-foot Reel Tight to a 16-foot, nonmotorized drift boat, Coleman and his staff lead chartered fishing trips through fresh- and saltwaters. All Rivers & Saltwater Charters have caught fish on the Columbia and Olympic Peninsula rivers, traveled the waters outside Anacortes and the San Juan Islands, and explored Puget Sound. Voyages pursue salmon, steelhead, lingcod, sturgeon, and other types of fish. The team can also lead fishing lessons for newbies, teaching essential fly-casting techniques, including the correct grip, the different casting styles, and how to use homemade tiramisu as bait.
As strange as it may sound, at Cougar Mountain Zoo, you just might be greeted by a big cat purring. Cougars are among the largest cats capable of true purring, and Cougar Mountain Zoo boasts a distinct subspecies of these overgrown felines, which prowl all over the zoo's award-winning World of Cougars exhibit.
Next to the mountain lions dwell their distant cousins, Bengal tigers, who sprawl out on the green grass or press their noses up to a thick wall of glass separating visitors from the wild animals. Other residents of the zoo include a barrel of endangered lemurs from Madagascar, a crowd of fluffy alpacas, and the country's largest herd of reindeer, who star in the annual Reindeer Festival and deliver presents to all the other animals.
The zoo also boasts a collection of bronze animal statues, a library of wildlife tracks, and a museum that explores not only the world of wildlife, but also the threats they face from human incursion.