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Casa Que Pasa
By: Francesco Savoy
Casa Que Pasa on Railroad Avenue offers Mexican-themed cuisine with a decidedly Bellingham twist. This restaurant boasts a hearty menu and full-service bar. Both contribute to Casa’s gastronomic reputation as a darn fine eatery and bar famous for its tequila collection. A family friendly restaurant, Casa Que Pasa hosts a diverse clientele reflective of Bellingham’s culturally, economically, and socially diverse population. That it is a popular hangout for a broad spectrum from college students to hippies makes it all the more interesting.
Many diners will agree that Casa Que Pasa’s attention to fresh quality ingredients keeps the people coming back. Recently four of us enjoyed an evening at Casa. We ordered dinner in the bar. Quite naturally, the four of us started out with various cocktails and corn chips with pico de gallo and nacho cheese sauces.
Then we moved on to an assortment appetizers. Handmade traditional and bacon jalapeño poppers paired beautifully with mojitos. The jalapeño poppers were great on their own, but memorably delicious with the sweet, and spicy mango-habanero sauce, and red chili crema. House-made taquitos followed: vegetarian with bean and cheese, and chicken and cheese, for omnivores, both were filled with shredded cabbage and sour cream. There is something quite satisfying when taking that first bite of a crunchy food!
Salad always seems to make dinner complete. Moors and Christians salad is Casa’s House Salad on steroids! This is a heaping salad of lettuce, shredded cabbage, red peppers, jicama, roasted pumpkin seeds, corn crisps, cotija cheese, topped with black beans, cheese, and a surprisingly tasty cinnamon rice and garnished with either Lime Thyme or Tomato Cilantro Dressing
Seriously, Casa Que Pasa portion sizes are meant to impress and satisfy. Be ready to either share your entrée or waddle out with a hefty to go box. The entrée selection is a whimsical tour through creative interpretations of Mexican restaurant standard dishes.
Notable chef and bicycle commuter, Ozzie Mora, invented the Oz-some Taco.
It starts with a half order of juicy carnitas (or little meats) that are marinated for six hours, with cotija cheese, shredded cabbage, more cheese, house-made guacamole and salsa cradled within two tasty flour tortillas. The taco is served with rice and beans, because that just makes sense. Try this with a hearty red wine, it’s a perfect combo.
Pescatarians will find the Fish tacos a delectable dish. Casa’s beer-battered and deep- fried tilapia is dressed with lemon pepper ranch sauce, house-made salsa, on shredded lettuce and a side of Spanish rice. Add a pint of pilsner and you’ve got yourself a terrific first course!
It has been said that “bacon makes everything better”, and the BLT-Ski Quesadillas, lends substantive evidence. Two tortillas are stuffed to capacity with cheese and four strips of thick cut bacon, lettuce, salsa and black pepper mayo – grilled until the cheese is oozing and the tortillas are crisp. Casa works to promote diversity and inclusion: Vegetarians are not an afterthought here. The Green Magma Quesadilla is a vegetarian fav. This dish is a heap of beans, lettuce, cotija cheese, green sauce, bean sprouts and peanuts. That’s a ton of protein completely void of meat!
Burritos come in two sizes: regular & jumbo
A Mexican dinner just wouldn’t be complete without a burrito. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to love Casa Que Pasa’s truly famous Potato Burrito. This meal in a wrapper includes battered deep-fried potatoes with beans, a cheese medley, Casa’s Potato Sauce often referred to as “house-made red chili cream sauce”. With ten different burrito options on the menu, the hardest task will be figuring out which one you’ll feast upon.
For those who aim to expand their tequila knowledge, Casa Que Pasa offers Tequila 101: a tasting through 75 different Tequilas. The homework is light, but the morning after exams may be a little brutal! When you complete the course you get a swanky t-shirt and your name on the wall. Make this your goal for 2018. Get a bunch of friends involved and start a study group. Whether it’s food, drink or both, just settle back and surrender yourself to the adventure that is Casa Que Pasa.