Plantains & guacamole, take-out from Mexico Cantina y Cocina in Seattle, a photo by AmberinSeattle on Flickr.
On Monday, October 1st, all I could do was think about what I’d be having for dinner. While I certainly love food, this intoxication of my mind with thoughts of these tasty morsels was driven by another means. I had been eating a very restricted diet for days, followed by 24hrs of liquids only in preparation for a medical procedure. For days all I could think about was this meal so it had to be good. Fast forward to 4pm Monday. I was positively ravenous and decided to head to Mexico.
Mexico Cantina y Cocina is a (quite random) mexican restaurant on the top floor of the Pacific Place mall in downtown Seattle. By now I’m sure you’re thinking “she must be crazy, wanting mall food this bad”. You’d be right. This is no suburban mall food court cuisine, Mexico uses fresh ingredients and has some of the best salsa I’ve found in Seattle. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming that Mexico is uber-authentic or the best mexican in town, but it does take-out right.
Usually I’d call my order in, and walk over from my apartment in South Lake Union but today was different. I was still a little woozy from my procedure so I had a chauffeur for the evening (my boyfriend). We opted for the more expensive route of paying for parking at Pacific Place while we waited for our order. Unless you’re already shopping at Pacific Place, I’d opt for walking or a street spot nearby. After our order was taken at the host’s counter, we waited for a few minutes at a booth in the front of the restaurant. Because we showed up at 4pm, the restaurant was pretty slow (bar area was a bit livelier) so we got our food in a quick 15 minutes. In another 10 we were ready to enjoy our fajitas, burrito, guacamole, chips & salsa.
One thing I really appreciate about Mexico is that they use good packaging for take-out. One of the most disappointing things about take-out can be the result of a bad packing job. For this meal, Mexico did it right, which included handwritten labels on containers to easily identify them and mindful packing of the food. They took special care to include all of the ‘extras’ that come with the meals, which some restaurants tend to skimp on. For instance, it was a treat to find a small box of plantain chips in our package since we only ordered a “half order” of guacamole (8 oz.) since I couldn’t rationalize the full order (16 oz.) for two people… since I knew we’d devour it.
Another element that showed the extra care Mexico took while packing up my take-out was with the burrito. Like most burritos, it was covered in a delicious medley of sauce and cheese that easily could have been lost by a bad pack job. Instead, they used a small layer of foil (with long enough edges) so I could easily transfer the burrito, beans and rice onto a real dish without sacrificing any of the delicious flavors.
I was also happy to see a majority of the packaging were recyclable/compostable containers. But enough about packaging — let’s talk flavor! The meal was just what the doctor ordered (not really). Everything tasted fresh and delicious, and one of my favorite things about Mexico is the chips and salsa. The chips are freshly made with a hint of lime and light dusting of salt. Their salsa, also fresh, is some of the best I’ve found in Seattle. I had a combination of chicken and steak fajitas that were perfectly grilled, and accompanied by rice and beans (each in individual containers) as well as flour tortillas and ‘fixins’ like sour cream and pico de gallo. My chauffeur opted for the delicious chicken burrito. Both of us had more than enough to enjoy AND pack up for lunch today. One of my favorite things about take-out — leftovers!
Since I’m sure you’re all getting hungry just thinking about all this, here’s the breakdown:
Food: In my opinion, pretty good and lots of veggie options for those of you who aren’t carnivores!
Price: A little high for take-out but high quality ingredients. If you can avoid paying for parking, it’s reasonable.
Overall: Thumbs down for no delivery service but overall a good dining experience both in and outside the restaurant. Wish they had parking available for quick pick-ups!
Here’s what other people think about Mexico: