Fancy Tea and Hot Wings Have More in Common Than You Might Think

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Strange bedfellows.
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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.

 
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