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Cafe Parco


I wrote about Cafe Parco two Januaries ago, opening with

Gail and I had dinner last night at the newest restaurant in the neighborhood, Cafe Parco. It was our first visit, and we anticipate returning often.

and closing with

It’s a beautiful restaurant … . We will return soon.

Well, that didn’t happen. It took over nineteen months. We made it back last Tuesday, joined by my college classmate Larry and his wife Sharon.

I never actually knew Larry in college. I thank classmate Marion for meeting him. I didn’t know Marion either, not until after our twenty-fifth reunion. The reunion led to the establishment of a class list serve. Soon after, with Marion due to come to Seattle for the first of two summers singing in Seattle Opera‘s production of Wagner’s Ring, she took to the list serve to ask locals about activities for her two children. I responded with advice, leading her to get in touch on arriving. Later that summer she hosted a get-together of classmates, including fellow classmate and Ring performer Peter, in town from New York, and all the locals she could round up.

One such was Larry. I discovered that he lived in the eastern suburb of Issaquah with dancer wife Sharon, practiced medicine, and more: he had published mysteries and was an expert on dancers’ medical issues with a book on the subject.

While in Cambridge to attend our thirtieth reunion, Gail and I ran into Larry in the bookstore. He wasn’t in town for the reunion itself. Rather, he was on leave from his practice on a road trip, which coincidentally brought him to Cambridge to visit his daughter just in time for the reunion. We talked some more and learned that he was open to new career options.

Some time later, I learned that Larry had moved to Boston to practice medicine again and teach at Harvard Medical School. He began work on a short history that would be honored with a listing as one of the must-read non-fiction books of 2012 by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. Just last month, his latest novel appeared. [I have now bought the e-version.] When his older daughter got married, moved to Melbourne, Australia, and had two children, he began spending time there. Oh, and he and Sharon still have a place in Seattle’s eastern suburbs, which means Larry moves around a lot.


Last weekend, Larry got in touch to say they were in town, which I already knew from following all his comings and goings on Facebook. We agreed to get together. I suggested they come to the house and we’d find a place to eat in the neighborhood. So it was that we went to Cafe Parco.

We had a splendid evening. The weather was beautiful, so we sat in the courtyard outside. Gail and I had never talked with Sharon before. We got to learn all about how she left Portland, Oregon, decades ago for New York with the plan to dance with the Martha Graham Dance Company and proceeded to do just that. Larry was taking a year off between internship and residency at the time to do the research for his dancers book, which is how they met.

Between stories, we ate. To start, we shared three appetizers.

  • Crespelle with Summer Mushroom Ragu: Italian crepes filled with lemon braised mushrooms and radicchio scented with coriander. Drizzled with balsamic and lemon chutney.
  • Bruschetta with Fire Roasted Tomato: Crusty thick slices of bread toasted with Italian cheeses and are topped with pesto drizzled Fire Roasted Tomato.
  • House Salad: Chopped romaine, radicchio & tomato bacon crumbles and bacon vinaigrette.

The crepes were the big winner, and I hadn’t even plan to eat them. I just wanted the salad, which was excellent as well.

I’m always such a sucker for Carbonara. Once I saw it on the menu, I knew I couldn’t resist, even though the other pasta was tempting as well. Gail went with that other pasta. “Italian Sausage and Meat Sauce: Enjoy the bold flavors of Italian sausage with Chef Celinda’s traditional Ragu alla Bolognese, a slow simmered sauce of tomato, Painted Hills natural beef, oregano and Sangiovese.” The Carbonara is described as “Fresh Angel hair pasta tossed with Italian bacon, fresh shaved Parmigiano and a hens egg for an elegant, yet simple dish.” I’m forgetting what Larry and Sharon ordered. One had fish. I had eyes only for my Carbonara, which was even better than anticipated.

We shared a bottle of Chianti with it, selected by the chef after we proposed a general type and a price range. The meal was sufficiently filling that we passed up dessert. Almost three hours after we arrived, it was time to go, with a full moon rising over the buildings of Madison Park.

Cafe Parco does takeout. It’s bad enough we don’t eat there regularly, but why not at least take out? We’ll change that. And, as I said the last time I wrote about Cafe Parco, we will return soon.

This time I mean it.

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