Seattle is mysteriously blessed with an abundance of excellent Oaxacan restaurants. If you love the savory fare at Ballard’s La Carta de Oaxaca — but not the long weekend wait for a table — La Cocina Oaxaquena, at the edge of downtown-meets-Capitol-Hill, is a welcome alternative. At happy hour (4–6pm and 10pm–12am), grab a patio table, enjoy a half-carafe of sangria, and snack on sizable small plates such as tacos dorados (rolled and fried tortillas with chicken or beef, guacamole, black beans, dried chile sauce, Oaxaqueño cheese, and crema), molotes, and pozole. If you’re not feeling adventurous, they also offer tacos al pastor and chips and guacamole. There’s a full dinner menu and the kitchen is open until midnight, so you don’t have to settle for chain-restaurant food downtown when this place is just a few blocks up the hill.