Guadalajara natives spice up the Eastside
Special to The Seattle Times
We are stuck on the S-curves of I-405 heading north at rush hour with a long way yet to go. It must be the broiling sun that puts us in mind of Mexico and margaritas. We decide on a detour to Tapatio's, which is a lot more accessible than Puerto Vallarta.
The welcome we receive in Factoria is as warm as the smile on the face of the hostess who invites us to choose where we'd like to sit — a sunny spot by the window, or one of the booths, some curled into such tight curves they almost come full circle. We opt for privacy in the round and, from our secluded clamshell, happily quench our thirst with the longed-for margarita.
The festive atmosphere of the dining room, dressed in more colors than a mariachi band, owes much to a swirling mosaic that covers the back wall. It was made using bits and pieces of colorful crockery by yet another Brajas, Salvador's sister-in-law Olga.
Both restaurants offer the same menu of familiar Mexican favorites. The complex mole and vibrant chipotle sauce are made from Beatriz's own recipes. The kitchen strives for freshness, and the menu touts the use of low-fat ingredients when possible.
Our waiter serves us swiftly, if absentmindedly. After he brings our food, he loses interest in us almost entirely, being far more enthralled with two young blondes occupying the booth next door. We leave them giggling over an enormous portion of fried ice cream set in a brilliant red strawberry sauce. It is the lovely hostess who bids us "adios."
Camerones en su jugo: Tomato juice infused with shrimp juices form the basis of this elegant appetizer that is half soup, half shrimp cocktail. Dig deep into the warm, spicy broth until you hit the bottom of the giant stemmed glass and you'll come up with lots of prawns, chunks of avocado and diced onion.
Pollo a la parrilla: A flattened chicken breast, expertly charred on the grill, tastes faintly of tangy mustard and lime marinade, but the green pepper and onion are pallid in comparison. Fresh pico de gallo is a nice touch, though it's not the lime-marinated red onion and avocado the menu promised. Spanish rice and pinto beans make this a hearty plateful of food.
Combinaciones grandes No. 3: This trio, accompanied by beans and rice, fills the void created by a long afternoon drive. The tamale scores lowest; the masa is dry and the chicken filling skimpy. The enchilada is fat with zesty shredded beef. The chili relleno — a long, skinny, mildly hot pepper stuffed with cheese and lightly breaded — takes the prize.
Itemized bill, meal for two
Camerones en su jugo: $ 9
Pollo a la parrilla: $10.50
Combinaciones grandes No. 3: $9.95
2 margaritas: $10
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