A poorly trained barista in front of a top-notch espresso machine is like an 8-year-old behind the wheel of a car—he has no idea the power before him, nor how to use it. Enter owner Bob Burgess—a specialty-beverage entrepreneur for more than 39 years—and his team at Seattle Barista Academy. For just less than a decade, Burgess and company have taught intense hands-on training programs that focus on crafting coffee, espresso, cappuccino, macchiato, and mocha drinks using advanced techniques and equipment. From learning the life cycle of a coffee bean to mastering grinding methods, extraction techniques, and latte art, students walk away with a wealth of knowledge that makes them more employable. Like deeply unpopular one-man shows, the classes consist of one-on-one attention, since class sizes are limited to no more than seven participants.
Seattle Barista Academy's staff members—all of whom have been professional baristas at some point in their careers—have up to 19 years of experience in the field. These sessions provide clients with the coffee-making and marketing knowledge they need to grow their coffee cart, kiosk, or fort built from coffee beans.
Garlic Jim's menu was handcrafted with nothing more than a dream and an incredible reserve of pizza-making expertise. Open an order with some gourmet chicken wings, available in barbecue, garlic, and hot, before moving on to pizza territory. Put an end to eating Legos by piecing together a custom pie. Choose from the hand-thrown thick, garlic thin, or gluten-free crusts, slathered in one of seven sauces (from classic red to zesty chipotle pesto), and then slap on any of 15 standard and 11 gourmet toppings (14-inch large pizzas start at $11.99, extra-large $14.99; each additional topping for a large is $1.50). To achieve customization without the stress of having to choose, turn to one of the pre-determined specialties. Meat-maul hunger with the Hercules (salami, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, beef, spicy Italian sausage, and bacon; $18.99 for large, $21.99 for extra-large), or discover the secret of pizza-temperature fusion in your head with Jim's bacon-cheeseburger pizza (beef, bacon, red onions, tomatoes, mozzarella, and cheddar; $18.99 for large, $21.99 for extra-large).
At Curry & Kabab Indian Restaurant, the chefs sauté diced cuts of meat and heat up their tandoor oven to char savory, tender kebabs. They cook pieces of lamb in a slightly sweet coconut curry, and serve goat Kashmir-style with chunks of apple, golden raisins, and a spicy cream sauce. To soak up these flavorful juices and curries, chefs prepare 11 styles of bread, such as paneer-stuffed naan, roti cooked in the tandoor oven, and bhatoora, which is made with a yogurt base.
The desserts offer flavors that are just as unique. Gulab jamun, for example, features condensed and powdered milk kneaded together into balls, deep-fried, and drenched in syrup. For drinks, the chefs serve up glasses of Punjabi chai as well as chilled rose milk—a beverage that's delicate and flavorful, much like a snowflake blown through a candy factory.
It's not easy to draw attention away from the belly-dancer that performs at Spiro's Greek Island on Friday and Saturday nights. But the aroma of tender gyro meat is up to the task, pulling diners' focus towards the kitchen. Inside, chefs labor over traditional Greek dishes, seasoning beef, lamb, and chicken with natural spices, sea salt, and housemade marinades. They also slice tender cuts from imported Greek broilers, and fry falafels before wrapping them in pitas, scattering them across salads, or dressing them in miniature togas. For dessert, warm honey drizzles onto flaky bougatsa, a custard-filled pastry lauded by reporters from Seattle Times Newspaper. Servers bear the plates out to the bright dining room, where paintings of Greek scenes adorn the walls.
At Gyro Time Restaurant, the titular offering features curls of just-sliced lamb, smothered in tzaziki sauce and nestled into pita bread. In addition to gyro sandwiches, the kitchen whips up equally savory Greek street-food favorites, such as falafel and shawarma paired with yellow rice and crisp salads. The eatery's wide windows let in lots of natural light to feed the plant flourishing in the corner so it doesn't have to survive on feta stolen from diners' plates.
Brothers Alex and Mark Rechichi always enjoyed constructing hearty, Dagwood-esque sandwiches, but noticed that most of the breads they employed in these edible masterpieces literally crumbled under the pressure of supporting a glorious quantity of healthy meats, veggies, cheeses, and sauces. Naturally, the brothers fell in love when they discovered the sturdy pita, which was both nutritious and versatile. Flatbread in hands, the two brothers founded Extreme Pita in 1997 with a goal of delivering enormous, structurally sound sandwiches to the masses.
Since then, the eatery has spawned franchises throughout the U.S. and Canada, where customers can enjoy a variety of pita-based creations ranging from made-to-order wraps to pizza-style flat bakes to jalapeño cheddar chips. Extreme Pita's locations put an emphasis on reducing their carbon footprint by implementing an array of green practices, such as recycling and reusing, using energy-efficient light bulbs, and warming pitas with the sighs of a dragon.