Spice King and the “Mix Wrap”
It may not be the most predictable location for an Indian restaurant, a Renton warehouse, but appearances can be deceiving. The building houses a COSTCO-sized international market, and the kiosk-sized Spice King fits that profile perfectly.
On the menu, you find a selection of classic Indian dishes—all well worth trying—but the purported “secret” is to look down to the “Wraps” section. Specifically, the “mix wrap.” Chicken and paneer (the Indian cheese) in a yoghurt sauce, wrapped in a fluffy and charred naan. The dish is fresh-tasting—almost light—which is no small feat considering its size.
There are a couple of tables around the counter, or you can take your order to go. Either way, setting aside some time for a walk around the DK Market is worthwhile. The place is crammed with groceries from all over the world, with an emphasis on South Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.
Café Avole: Ethiopian Coffee
This Ethiopian coffee roaster recently opened its second location, fittingly inside Rainier Beach’s Ethiopian Community Center. I will contend they serve one of the region’s best cappuccinos.
Here’s the thing about a proper cappuccino: It should pack a punch. Too often, it’s prepared as a small latte1 and not the breakfast drink it should be. Avole’s cappuccino is dry, and the coffee is the predominant flavor, not the milk. It’s just a legitimate cappuccino powered by Ethiopian beans. I might have a bit of a bias there, mind you: Ethiopian beans, with their juicy, black-currant profile, generally are the base for my favorite coffees.
As for their location, Avole has a decidedly cool vibe. The interiors are clean and streamlined, and the outside seating is tucked far enough back from Rainier Ave for it not to be a nuisance.
And apropos of nothing: The building also houses a 55+ community. I find the juxtaposition of the two amusing.
Rainier Beach has its share of good coffee spots—perhaps most famously Caffé Vita—and Avole sits firmly in the neighborhood’s top tier. Find them in the Ethiopian Community Center at 8323 Rainier Ave S—their website is a bit out of date, so Instagram holds more information.
Which is not to say anything bad about Avole’s similarly coffee-forward lattes. ↩