Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Surburban Mexican Food We Grew Up On

Both Dan & I grew up in Seattle's suburbs - Dan in the Kent/Federal Way area, and me up in Bothell/Mill Creek/Everett. This was the late 70s thru early 90s, and Mexican food here in Washington State - at least in our areas - was all pretty much the same style. It's what I call 'Family Mexican', since many of these restaurants have that in their name.

The style was, and still is, epitomized by the places where Dan & I grew up eating Mexican food with our families: Garcia's, Torero's, and, of course, Azteca. This is the Mexican food that for Dan & I is comfort food. Food that reminds us of a special night out with the family, and at the time surely seemed exotic to our palates compared to our steady diets of burgers, meatloaf and pork chops.

So when people wonder why we eat at El Sombrero Family Mexican Restaurant more than any other place, and why we would drive all the way to Tukwila to eat at an Azteca... this is why. It's a reminder of where we grew up, of family.

Today, we continued our Oscar preparations by heading down to watch Blue Valentine, starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams (who's nominated for Best Actress for her performance). And beforehand, we stopped at Azteca, across from Southcenter Mall.

I decided to indulge a bit today, and went for a Top Shelf Margarita - and even had 3 tortilla chips with salsa. Those giant baskets of chips are one of my weaknesses, and a major test of my self control. But today, I successfully enjoyed them in moderation.

Both of us got taco plates - fish for Dan and shrimp for me (though we traded a taco, so I got to try both). Just as we expected, the service was great, margaritas were big and boozy, and the food brought back great memories.

It may not be what folks who've moved to Seattle from Texas, Arizona or California consider 'Authentic' Mexican food, but it's what Dan & I crave when we need a little nostalgia with our chips & salsa. And I haven't been to a taco truck yet that serves margaritas.

Azteca Mexican Restaurant (Southcenter) on Urbanspoon

No comments: