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Please help a sad girl find some Mexican food in Seattle

First off, let me say how much I love Seattle. Have lived here for a year this time and have moved all over for my whole life. As far as good Mexican food; I grew up in southern California and later lived in San Diego (the ultimate for taco shops), also 6 years in and around Dallas/Austin/Houston. I love Seattle and have had some pretty amazing food here already.

The big issue is Mexican food. I love all kinds and types as long as it is good. Taco shops and trucks and restaurants and making it from scratch at home (really all latin food for that matter). I am having a BIG problem with reviews online, blogs and recommendations from friends on where to try. I have not had anything past a food truck by more work that has pretty tolerable pastor and good hot sauce. Maybe the first bite or 2 seem ok but in the end just no satisfaction.

Once again, I love Seattle but I would really prefer to not get replies from people who are from Seattle. Love you but it's just not gonna work in this category. I have spent a good amount of money over this year trying places all over town whenever I can with barely more than maybe 2 places where I will only get 1 item or 2 because I have tried other things and been dissapointed. I can't believe human beings actually eat and spend their hard earned money at Azteca (beans out of a can and packet ground beef taco seasoning are so much more satisfying). It's funny how when you live in So Cal or Texas or even Denver the crappier mexican places seem so horrible. I was boycotting On the Border in Texas for how terrible and pre-fab the food is; now I would go there constantly.

BTW I have found a couple of latin/cuban-ish places (Mojito and Paseo) that I feel are very tasty and having spent a few different vacations for family around Miami that was a relief. Any others in that category would be appreciated as well.

I don't know if this sounds snobby but I don't care. I will try almost anywhere and drive for it too. Nice expensive restaurant all of the way down to bathroom-size kitchen where the cook is pouring sweat and pulling meat out of 5 gallon bucket to throw on the grill (that may be the best of all actually). I observe and weigh my options with possible stomach illness. Will pretty much always still eat it :) so shady area suggestions are welcome too.

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  1. El Camion is the only place in Seattle that I've found to be close to what you are looking for. The spicy pork is very good as our the Chicken Mole tamales. I grew up in San Francisco area and then lived in Southern CA for 4.5 years so I know what you want but there really isn't much up here that has that. Rolled Tacos, Carne Asada Burritos, Al Pastor etc.

    1. No one on Chowhound is talking about Azteca as an example of local mexican food*. No one is exhalting Mexican places that cover food in orange cheese and sour cream.

      Not sure what places you're going to, or what Seattle "foodies" you're getting advice from, but it seems that you are doing it wrong...

      As insulted as I am about your generailzations about Seattle natives, I'll throw out El Paisano in White Center, the place in the back of La Consupo in Greenwood (not the actual Mexican restaurant down the street), and Taqueria La Vendita in Issaquah as places that you're not going to hear a lot about on "Yelp", but that would be worth the effort.

      *Actually I may have one time over a birria dish that they do as a diamond in the rough showing that most any restaurant has one or two menu items that make is Chow-worthy.

      1 Reply
      1. re: GreenYoshi

        FWIW we went to Conasupo last year on our way through town and it was decent, but I think the trick is to go when they do barbacoa which is on Sundays per local Hound gastrognome: http://www.thegastrognome.com/2011/11...

      2. Al pastor is difficult to find up here.

        My fallback is carnitas. Taqueria El Rinconsito (sp?), which is a small local chain, does a pretty good job.

        3 Replies
        1. re: dave_c

          Many carnicerias sell 'al pastor', but it isn't the true gyro kind. Rather it's a mix of bite size pieces of pork, onions, pineapple, and chiles. Heat level varies. It's meant to be 'stir fried'. Not a bad item, though I prefer the thin sliced 'adobada'. I also like trying their moronga (blood sausage).

          1. re: dave_c

            Tacos Chukis on Capitol Hill does pretty decent tacos al pastor, turning on a spit with pina. It's really the thing to get there, I think.

          2. I would think that you you know about it, but have you tried http://www.lacartadeoaxaca.com/index.... ?

            I'm from Denver and Houston, and although it was different from the Mexican in both places, the black mole was one of the best things I've ever eaten. I don't remember what my sister had, but it was great too. And the lime sodas on a hot day were great!

            1. Try Santa Fe resto in a non-descript strip mall on 124th in Kirkland. It's decent. Not what I got when I lived in Tucson, but pretty darned good!

              5 Replies
              1. re: firecracker

                Speaking as another Tucsonan transplant to Seattle... really good Sonoran Mexican has been hard to find. My biggest complaint is the lack of decent flour tortillas... but even good food barring the tortillas is pretty spare.

                I've had good but not great food at El Puerco Lloron, and at the carniceria-in-a-bus on Rainier a couple blocks north of Alaska.

                I haven't tried (or even heard of) the places GreenYoshi mentions above, so they may also be worth checking out.

                1. re: Booklegger451

                  I've given up on finding good flour tortillas, Bootlegger. I also don't find many tamales to my liking. Did discover some decent chicken, pork and beef tamales at Silvana Meats about an hour north of town. Masa is made by a Mexican lady and you can tell she puts some love into them. No green corn tamales, though and they're usually my fave.

                  1. re: firecracker

                    I wonder why the heck it should be so hard to find decent flour tortillas here... maybe we need to import a Tucsonan abuela to come up and teach a class.

                    1. re: Booklegger451

                      I'm pretty happy with flour tortillas that I get a Trader Joes.

                  2. re: Booklegger451

                    Central Market (Shoreline) has a flour tortilla machine, and good tortillas (at least when fresh).