postcard from Centralia, Washington, via Michoacan

A day of driving, enroute to Berkeley, California, to visit our son Brendan who is spending the fall term at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute ( We’ve stopped for the night at Chehalis, just a little south of Centralia; both towns have old-brick historical centres and that sense of being true places, once you leave the freeway and meander the quiet streets. In Centralia, a laudromat advertised that they cleaned horse blankets. Having once had a horse, and having tried to wash his blanket in the family washing machine, I know that this is a service much appreciated by equine households everywhere.

We were very hungry when we arrived. John had done his homework and immediately said that there was a Mexican restaurant in Centralia which was highly recommended on the Internet. Las Tarasca. We found it.


It was warm and bright and the food came right away — large platters of pork carnitas, chiles rellenos, with three fresh homemade corn tortillas each. And a little dish of salsa verde. We ate every last morsel and I still had room for a portion of the flan, dark with caramelized sugar. Here is John drinking an amber Dos Equis amid the brightly painted chairs. The familia Ayala comes from Michoacán — that province’s loss is Centralia’s gain.