La Carta de Oaxaca

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You know you’re in love with a restaurant when you have a specific craving for it. Usually when I visit a different city, I like to eat all my meals at different places to make the most of my trip. But yesterday after horseback riding (more on that later!) I turned to Kristin, Craig’s sister, and said: “I want to go back to La Carta de Oaxaca.” We were there last week and Kristin said the food she ate was some of the best food she’d had in a long time. “I want to go back there too,” she said and so we did go back. And now it’s in my top five favorite places to eat in Seattle.

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My Olympic Peninsula Adventure

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Please unfurl your map of the United States. Now place your finger in the center and drag it to the most northwestern corner of the continental U.S. If you are doing this correctly, your finger is in Washington State. And your finger should be very happy because up there on the northwestern most corner it is in one of the most beautiful locations a finger can experience in the natural world: the Olympic Peninsula, the crown jewel of Washington state. This is where I just returned from after two days of roughing it: and through the magic of my digital camera, iPhoto, Flickr and Typepad, I can now take you there with me. Your finger can come too.

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We Leave Seattle (with meals at Salumi & Dahlia Lounge)

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I knew about Salumi before my thousands of readers told me to go there when I went to Seattle. I knew it because of Mario, because of “Heat” and because, well, because I just knew about it. From the moment I started blogging my Seattle trip my readers have pressed me in the comments: “Did you go to Salumi?” “I hope you went to Salumi!” “I won’t get my heart transplant if you didn’t go to Salumi!” And so this post will finally answer that question. (The picture above and post title kind of give it away). But first…

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We Begin In Bellingham

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When Craig moved from Washington to New York to start film school at NYU, he never realized how much he’d miss his home state. He spent his college years at the University of Washington and spent his post-college years working for the Pacific Science Center where he drove the science van and did presentations for school kids around the state. (Once, during a presentation involving boa constrictors he suffered a spontaneous pneumothorax; another time he made liquid nitrogen ice cream which the children ate. These children are now tongueless adults.) More important than his time in Seattle, though, was the time Craig spent as a child in Bellingham: a pristine, bucolic township one hour north of Seattle. From the moment I met him Craig pined for Bellingham the way Dorothy pined for Kansas: “It’s so beautiful there,” he’d tell me. “I didn’t realize how much I’d miss it when I moved to New York.”

And so Bellingham stood high on the pedestal in my brain when I boarded the plane at 8:30 am last week headed for Washington State. Craig had already been there for a week–I let him spend Christmas with his family before I came for New Year’s–and I arrived wholly excited and curious and ready to experience the city and people Craig had told me so much about.

“I’m so excited that you’re here!” said Craig after I boarded his parent’s car at the Seattle/Tacoma airport.

“I am too,” I said. We spent a moment being cheerful as he merged on to a highway and then I revealed that there was a problem.

“What is it?” he asked with genuine concern.

“I’m starving,” I said with great gravity.

His concern morphed into a smile and he said, “Don’t worry. I know exactly where to take you.”

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