The lack of “good” Mexican food in Seattle has long been lamented, but today I present to you evidence slightly in the contrary. My most vivid memory of food from my stay in Mexico was not the homemage guacamole by the Senora of the house (though that was mouth wateringly smooth and delicious), nor was it sneaking pieces of the freshly made cheese or perfectly spiced ‘al pastor’ meat in to my mouth while working the line at Abuelita’s Pizzeria. No, it is of a Sunday morning, when we all piled in to the car and took a drive in to the mountains for a brunch of barbacoa.
La Consupo, on Greenwood, just north of 85th, doesn’t have any grannies out front hand pressing tortillas on a giant griddle while grinning at you with no teeth, instead it has a store, filled with typical Mexican goodies. In the back, though, it is like entering the world I remember. Seated at our table we were clearly the only non-Mexicans in the place, and my poor blue eyed blonde haired boyfriend the only one who did not speak fluent Spanish. A waiter came and took our order: one pound of barbacoa, please. It’s alot of meat, but I had other plans for that later. We also ordered a consume each. The consume is huge. A meal in itself, if you so chose. It was somewhat greasier than I would have preffered, made with the non-edible pieces of the lamb used as the meat for the barbacoa. Digging deep, I came up with tasty grease cutting pieces of hominy, soaking in the flavors of the fiery red soup. If ever a hangover cure existed, this is it, grease and all.
B at this point got up and served himself a Mexican Coke from the fridge nearby which held a variety of Mexican refrescos, or soft drinks. If you have never had Mexican Coke, and which to try it, I encourage you to do so, so long as you don’t have diabetes. The sugar flavor is far more overwhelming than American Coke, yet in that strange way that sour candy is good, the extra sugar kind of makes you smile.
Soon our barbacoa landed, just as I remembered it, a pile of meat chopped up and served on a piece of paper. Also came a dish with a few limes, a bit of chopped white onion, some cilantro and hot tortillas. Ripping of a piece of tortilla, I used it to grab the meat, tearing it from the pile, sprinkling condiments and shoveling it whole into my mouth. Yes, this is the flavor I remember. Transported to the crowded dining room north of Queretaro, I smiled. The meat is tender, it pulls away easily with your tortilla, as it should, and provides all the flavor needed, with some extra crunch from the onions.
Packing up our extra meat, I immediatley began planning future meals with it: On monday, I added it to wild mushroom filling for my tamales and on tuesday I sauteed the meat and added a few tortellini at the end for a new texture, similar to Mark Bittman’s recent NY Times article on adding pasta as the lesser player in a vegetable dish.
Barbacoa was truly the meal that kept getting better and better. But one note, like in Mexico, I believe they only serve this one on sunday mornings–and after church treat.