Ode to Casa Que Pasa

I can't believe it.

They shut down Case Que Pasa.

Now, I've heard the rumors (unpaid taxes, drugs, gambling, reckless defiance of the smoking ban), and I've read the article in the Whatcom Independent, but still: like a table with one missing leg, this town feels terribly off-balance without Casa.

See, on those nights when we'd be at a loss for someplace to go, my friends (through high school, college and these odd post-college years) had a saying. It went like this: after several failed suggestions, we'd look at each other, smile and say, "Well, there's always Casa."

But there's not. Not anymore.

O Casa! What memories I have of you! Napping in the booths after midnight, as I waited for Mitch to finish his closing shift as a disreputable Casa cashier; ordering potato burritos, my fifteenth summer, after a swim at the lake; afternoons spent in the sticky green booths of the cantina, sipping margueritas and studying those strange Brandi Fairbanks paintings...Alas! On my twenty-first birthday, I came to you, dear Casa, for my first marguerita. But those days are gone, now.

Yes, your food was notoriously inconsistent, and I did notice that the margueritas grew weaker and more watered down as the evenings wore on (and yes, Casa, I knew about the mice in the dining room), but still: perhaps a good carnitas burrito was that much better for all the mediocre ones that proceeded it.

In all your seediness, sweet Casa, you were a place of comfort for me.

I stood outside your darkened (broken and duct-taped) windows last night and shook my fist at your CLOSED sign. They cannot close you! I cried, not as long as you live on in my heart! Then I sought out an inferior marguerita at Chiribin's and drank it, with head bowed.


bugorama said...

oh! yes yes yes.

i'm not even there, but i know exactly what you're talking about. i can picture it all. my own first oatmeal stout. the brandi paintings. everything. the flying burrito being shot down by chefs! ... casa was where we went when we tired. where we went we wanted a break. or when we were just hungry.

but i'm still saddened more by the loss of the old village books and stuart's. those were casey and my places (stuart's was where we went on our first 'date'). sigh. i suppose their absence makes it easier for me to move on.

but there's still mallard! and so much more! i'm glad you're loving bellingham these days. it is such a gorgeous place. (ok, that's an understatement.)

AZMom said...

:) we had sweet memories of an ice cream store on State street. Mitch's dad and I use to visit it a lot.. called.. Rawls. they have the best ice cream cones... ohhhhh.. yes. Sweet memories are great to have. Love ya sweetie

Anonymous said...

Do not despair-the potato burrito shall return. Stay tuned for more information. Viva la Casa!

Thea said...

Whoa! Who are you, O mysterious leaver of comments who bears such interesting news? I will indeed be staying tuned.

Anonymous said...

I recently came across this in the Cascadia Weekly online classifieds:

Casa Que Pasa

some of the rumors you've heard are true! we are at the origional location, same delicious menu, new local owners! now hiring kitchen and waitstaff, send resumes to p.o. box 2623 opening soon!