At St. Dames. charles mudede

I ordered the huge Mediterranean plate, and it arrived shortly after the server brought a glass of wine for me (St. Joseph's pinot noir) and a glass of something crazy for my partner (Rachel's Moscow Mule: "Vodka, Rachel's Ginger Beer, lime"). We were at St. Dames, a little place that's near the road that leads up to Fou Lee Market ("Cruise on the hill, getting food at Fou Lee/Gonna take more than a few to fool me/Only get this timing if you study Kool G, ooh-wee" —Blue Scholars) and down to the Columbia Funeral Home and Crematory (doing the business of dead people since 1907). Between these two points is one of the stations of our city's new and expanding light-rail system, Columbia City Station. Near it is that giant shovel sculpture that's supposed to symbolize the globalness of the community. From the cafe's windows, you can see the trains arriving and departing, and the people standing or sitting on the trains. These are the citizens of the future.

Also from the cafe's windows, you can see Muslim women walking by with cell phones tucked in their hijabs. And down the street is Shiil Grocery & Halal Meat, and inside this grocery store, you will always find a man who is in Seattle in body, but is in the Muslim world in spirit and cyberspace.

It was dusk when the Mediterranean plate was nearly finished—the olives, fougasse bread, hummus, baba ghanoush, feta, Israeli couscous salad, and various green vegetables were being transformed into our bodies. A white train passed. Another round was ordered. And the dusk was growing deeper and more magical. Next to our table was group of cyclists (white and in their 30s and 40s) who were eating snacks and talking about everything. They were not unpleasant or obnoxious, but they did occasionally laugh a little too loudly. Just before the day became completely night, they requested the bill. And while they waited for credit cards to be approved, this conversation drifted to our table.

The man: "We need to go now, while there is still light."

The woman: "Don't worry, there will be enough light while we are cycling."

The man: "Yes, that's right. But by the time we get to my place, it'll be too dark to see my tomatoes." recommended