Everyone in West Seattle had seen the notice of a liquor-license application on the windows of a restaurant under development. Wing Dome--the local chain that brings tears to brave patrons' eyes with its 7 Alarm Challenge (think wings slathered in battery acid and curry paste)--was opening up a Westside locale.
With all the excitement over the Wing Dome (4523 California Ave. S.W., 932-9465), it was easy to miss what was under construction at the same time right next door. The Tuscan Tea Room and Romanza Floral (4521 California Ave. S.W., 906-9914) is a place to nibble cookies and cakes while sipping tea poured from ornate porcelain pots and cups covered in roses and butterflies.Aimee Pellegrini, daughter of the family that owns La Rustica, a small Italian bistro near the water, opened her high-tea room one month after Wing Dome started serving up fare so sticky it comes with a moist towelette.
The really hilarious thing about the new neighbors is that they share a front door. The entrance from the street opens into a breezeway wherein are two separate doors to the individual establishments. Standing in the middle between them feels like taking your beer shot-gunning uncle to see your grandmother's thimble collection.
"People notice," says a server at Tuscan Tea. "They say it's Heaven and Hell." Which Biblical moniker refers to which restaurant depends on how much you like the clink of a tea spoon against porcelain.
The thing is, at their core, both establishments are all about self-indulgence. Sure, the woman sipping tea with cream and sugar and nibbling a caramel-chocolate torte looks far more elegant than a man trying to root for the Seahawks through a mouthful of sauce-drenched wings dipped in bleu-cheese dressing. But both are headed to heart disease-ville if they make visits to their respective hangs a too-regular habit.
So while walking past on California Avenue might inspire a double-take, in a way Wing Dome and Tuscan Tea are the perfect pair.