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You poor, deluded man.

Sandwiches. I swear to God.

What you really want to do is stop at either La Tarasca in Centralia, and have the carnitas, or Super Taco Express in Hazel Dell, where an eight-year-old boy will ring up your (practically free) taco order.

Posted by Fnarf | August 7, 2008 11:32 AM

Fnarf knows of what he speaks. Also Kalama freaks me right the fuck out.

Posted by kid icarus | August 7, 2008 11:36 AM

La Tarasca is THE BOMB. No "huge cheap sandwich" comes close.

Posted by Uncle Vinny | August 7, 2008 11:37 AM

is la tarasca easy to find??? i wanna go! how do i find it?

Posted by princess | August 7, 2008 11:43 AM

I'm heading down to Portland Monday en route to LA, but unfortunately it'll be through Yakima, so no cookie for me. Which sucks, because with no Tim Horton's in the US, I'll need to get my sandwich-and-cookie fix somewhere else.

While I'm here, does anyone know if there's any decent camping in Yakima? Is there any decent ANYTHING in Yakima? I want to buzz right through to Portland, but the boyfriend wants to take his time.

Posted by Irena | August 7, 2008 11:44 AM

You know what they say, Dan. A moment on the lips. . .

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | August 7, 2008 11:50 AM

Princess, get off at the main Centralia exit and head towards town on Main. Just follow all the signs towards "City Center" or "Town Murals" (do not look at the murals, your soul will die). If you get all the way into the downtown area you've gone too far. On the left. Funky little place with angled-out windows, might have been a XXX Rootbeer joint or something like that in a previous incarnation.

While you're there, admire the window displays at Centralia Knitting Mills across the street, which don't appear to have been changed since about 1978.

Posted by Fnarf | August 7, 2008 11:51 AM

Do NOT go to that old-school looking diner in Kalama, the one with the neat arrowhead neon sign, for pie. Their pie was so bad, it made me cry.

Posted by Bethany Jean Clement | August 7, 2008 11:52 AM

Thanks for the tip. Sandwiches and cookies are possibly my favorite food groups (sadly, Fnarf, tacos are about #283), and I will be driving by Kalama in about a week and a half.

Posted by Julie | August 7, 2008 11:53 AM

You couldn't take a picture of the sandwich? The cookies just look ordinary.

Posted by elswinger | August 7, 2008 11:59 AM

Yeah, Fnarf. Three guys locked in a hot car all day -- what we need is Mexican food.

Nope, smells bad enough in here already, thanks.

Posted by Dan Savage | August 7, 2008 12:17 PM

Anything called a "shoppe" is sure to be some brand of remarkable.

Posted by violet_dagrinder | August 7, 2008 12:23 PM


If you head down the Canyon Road (WA 821) between E-burg & Yakima, drive south about six miles from the I-90 junction. As you come out of the first large right-to-left curve directly adjacent to the river, you'll see a public campsite on your right.

There are roughly a dozen semi-secluded parking/camp sites, many right on the river bank, although I wouldn't recommend swimming, as the water can be very swift due to the small island there that splits the flow of the channel.

Otherwise, absolutely gorgeous - and best of all, free!

Posted by COMTE | August 7, 2008 12:30 PM

@5 addendum:

Here's a link to it on Google Maps:,-120.504227&spn=0.005411,0.017188&t=h&z=16

You'll see the island I mentioned, and the camp sites just to the right of that.

Posted by COMTE | August 7, 2008 12:34 PM

Also, if you're heading down Portland way, leave time for a stop at Superior Smoked Meats in Woodland - best jerkey (I highly recommend the buffalo!) and pep-sticks in the state!

Oh, right. Three guys in a warm car - probably want to skip the pepperoni then...

Posted by COMTE | August 7, 2008 12:40 PM

Free camping? Sounds perfect. Thanks, Comte!

Posted by Irena | August 7, 2008 12:42 PM

Properly prepared carnitas will make your farts smell like bougainvillea blossoms, Dan.

How were the antiques? Or was that the cookies?

Posted by Fnarf | August 7, 2008 12:47 PM

who stops between portland & seattle to eat? there's food in portland.

Posted by max solomon | August 7, 2008 1:00 PM

Dan (and Bethany), I also stop in Kalama whenever I travel to Portland, but I go to the Kalama Burger Bar. Their burgers are excellent, and they make their onion rings non-greasy-like (baked?) and they always have in-season local ingredients for handmade milkshakes.

Posted by Josef Krebs | August 7, 2008 1:51 PM

On my trips from Portland to Seattle I stop at this great little hole in the wall place in Tacoma. It's called Popeyes.

Posted by a.d. | August 7, 2008 2:38 PM

I am bored at work and I need you to update your blog more.

Posted by Jake | August 7, 2008 2:55 PM

Dan, I need more detailed information on these cookies! Chewy & buttery?? Crisp & Crunchy?? And are you bringing a box of them down to Portland with you, and if so, where can I get one from you??

Posted by PDX_Paulie | August 7, 2008 4:51 PM

We stop in Kalama too -- the antique stores are terrible and overpriced, but it's like we can't help ourselves. I have to go in to most of them anyway, just in case. We eat at the Kalama Burger Bar. The food is in the 'revolting' category, but it's like picking a scab or something. I think because it reminds me of the "Dairy Charm" diner back home in the Land of Lincoln.

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | August 7, 2008 5:12 PM

To hell with all of you. If you can't get there by public transit, you shouldn't be going there at all. I'll bet their to-go package is a styrofoam box carried out in a plastic bag! The horrors. The horrors!

But, hey, if you're going to indulge, I recommend the pepperoni pizza at the Bagdad in Portland for dinner.

Posted by oneway | August 7, 2008 8:20 PM

Dan, Amtrak doesn't have a stop in Kalama!

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay | August 7, 2008 9:20 PM

The little Kalama Antique Deli shop is a quick, clean, and delicious place to have lunch. The sandwiches are great, the cookies are fresh, and the pies are nice and fattening. I have had enough of questionable sloppy mexican food. The Burger Bar has good shakes, but they can keep the rest.

Posted by Hungry | August 12, 2008 2:13 PM

Eat at the laundromat in Kalama. The owners are very nice young ladies. The service is excellent. The food is good. And the peppermint mocha is great. Plus you can do your laundry while you are there if you feel like it.

Posted by Don W | August 13, 2008 1:34 PM

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