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.
The Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum celebrates the thrill and wonder of hydroplane racing, and its the only museum of its kind in the United States. Along with historical books, race programs, trophies, and photos from the last century, its collection of hydroplanes from the past 70 years tells the story of the watery sport. The staff has brought seven famous Gold Cup and Harmsworth winners back to their fully operational states, and will even take members out on the water in one of their historical vessels for a Ride of a Lifetime.
Offering a glimpse back in time, they boast than 200 hours of racing footage dating back to the 1940s and share stories of legendary drivers including Mira Slovak and "Wild" Bill Cantrell, who was famous for solving crimes with the help of his artificially intelligent hydroplane.
However, the museum isn't just about the past. A lineup of regular events invites folks to show off their powerboats and hot rods to fellow enthusiasts, and races bring the excitement of the sport to the present day as boats cut through the waves vying for titles.
Great American Casino brings a little bit of Vegas to the Northwest, gathering hooting and hollering patrons around table games such as baccarat, Texas Hold 'Em, blackjack, and other styles of poker, such as Progressive Fortune Pai Gow. Most tables have a betting limit up to $300, and aside from the top-shelf thrill of walking away with the pot, regular players can earn rewards redeemable toward electronics, meals, hotel stays, and Great American merchandise.
Like the best Vegas casinos, Great American brings more to the table than just gambling. There's live entertainment most nights, including local bands and musicians from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. There are full-service dining rooms where the menus also bear an Asian influence, with dishes such as pad thai and Kalbi ribs. The menus are slightly different at each of the four locations, but generally encompass an international spread that might include pizza, pub-style fish 'n' chips, and creme brulee, much like the meatloaf served in the United Nation's cafe.
There's an extra reason to celebrate holidays at Champion Arms. Whether it's Halloween or Valentine's Day, the shooting range often hosts "Top Shot Club" competitions on special occasions. To get ready for these competitions?or just safe gun use in general?instructors lead various gun classes, including introduction to handguns. Other classes move into more nuanced skills, such as an intermediate handgun class that covers how to draw from a holster or shoot while using a flashlight.
Riverbend Golf Complex is a multifaceted training facility that fosters golf-game improvement from tee to green. Golfers hunt birdies and pars across the complex's 18-hole, 6,701-yard course or hone their approach technique with a round at the par-3 course, ideal for those seeking their first hole-in-one or still potty-training their pitching wedge. A 32-stall covered, lighted, and heated driving range helps golfers add new weapons to their on-course arsenal as they take aim at eight target greens spread out in the distance, and a five-member instructional staff of PGA and LPGA pros and apprentices offers a variety of lesson types to keep swings on track. For a more casual session, guests can putt through the tree-lined greens of Riverbend's 18-hole miniature-golf course. The complex also boasts a discount golf store where guests can replace golf clubs they broke while trying to pole-vault across a creek, with equipment from Adams, Bridgestone, Callaway, and other top brands.
The buzz of motors rises and falls as bright-red blurs zip around the track at PGP Motorsports Park. Here, in the shadow of Mount Rainier, racers ages 15 and older loop around an 8/10-mile track at speeds of up to 48 miles per hour, leaning back in the ergonomic seats of Italian-built Birel N35 karts. The 30-foot-wide asphalt track can be altered to take on 12 different configurations and is centered in a velodrome, which puts spectators at an elevated angle so they get a good line of sight no matter where they sit.
For safety reasons, drivers should wear long sleeves and pants and closed-toe shoes. Drivers are equipped with helmets and driving suits, and since races take place rain or shine, they will also be provided with rain gear that includes waterproof gloves and booties.