It took Tea moving to Seattle for me to find one of my favorite Mexican places in my own city.
After only a few weeks here, my friend kept raving about this little place, Señor Moose. Heavens knows I adore Mexican food, so I was compelled to go. However, I grew up on Tex Mex — giant platters of rice, beans, and burritos, covered with glurby melted cheese. Until I try a new restaurant, that’s always what I’m expecting.
Thank goodness Señor Moose is much, much better than that expected disappointment. The food tastes homey and authentic, the kind of dishes that a Mexican mama might make in a back kitchen, with years of memory in her hands.
Check out their website and you’ll read this:
“From moment one I have written down recipes, watched and made notes as I have talked to women in fondas (small homey restaurants) road side places, houses and markets, most often in the states of Michoacan, Jalisco and Nayarit as well as in Mexico City.
I have been fortunate to have had wonderful creative women helping me in the house who cooked with what there was that day, what was interesting at the market, food they prepared for their families from memory, recipes from mothers, grandmothers and aunts.”
That’s my kind of food, people.
What I love about Señor Moose — besides the sun-warmed sienna walls, the shelves of kitschy Mexican knick-knacks, and the fine company I always find there — is eating dishes entirely new to my Mexican cuisine sensibility. Have you ever eaten Filete Enchocolatado from Oaxaca? Let me quote from the menu: “Strips of skirt steak sautéed and finished with bitter chocolate, white wine and onion. Served with mashed potatoes and calabacitas guisadas.” We never ate like this when I was growing up. Of course, for folks in Oaxaca, this is probably comfort food.
For the most part, it’s fairly easy to eat gluten-free in a Mexican restaurant. But you still have to ask. Not everything at Señor Moose is gluten-free. The mole is traditional, and thus has some white bread in it. One of the dishes is flavored with beer. And because the chefs at Señor Moose are trying to make the most sensational tastes they can, they fry the tortilla chips fresh, in the same oil as other breaded items. That makes them off-limits to those of us who have to eat entirely gluten-free.
But you won’t feel deprived. There is so much more to eat. And every time I have eaten at Señor Moose, the waitresses and chefs have been solicitous and careful for me. No one has ever made me feel like an outsider there for asking questions.
I just sit back and sigh over my food, feeling safe and well-fed.
Señor Moose Café
5242 NW Leary Ave
Seattle, WA 98107