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).
Fresh squid. Deep-fried scallops. Szechwan spicy prawns. Live fish. These are just a sampling of the many seafood dishes that help Imperial Garden Seafood Restaurant live up to its name. Here, the menu brims with dried, fried, and fresh seafood offerings next to an abundance of classic Chinese dishes such as Peking duck, sweet and sour pork, and beef chow fun. The eatery also whips up an array of dim sum including prawn with Chinese parsley dumplings, fried taro, and satay beef honeycomp tripe.
O Phở & Teriyaki’s chefs prepare a flavorful array of Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese fare served inside a glowing, golden dining room. Steam rises from healthful bowls of phở, where beef brisket and rice noodles float in hot, clear broth, served with cool bean sprouts, spicy jalapeño, and tart lime for building complexity. Chinese staples such as kung pao tofu and shrimp fried rice accompany tall glasses of honeydew bubble tea, conspiring on tactics to overthrow general tso’s chicken army.
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.