Before I start on this rant, I realize that I’ve only been in town for 4 months, so take my musings with a grain of salt, okay?
Emily and I have recent come to a conclusion about our new home: unless it’s ground and brewed, Seattlites hate flavor. You might think that I’m exaggerating here, but I’m not! We’ve all heard the affirmation that Mexican food here sucks (and it’s largely true), but it’s not limited to Mexican food.
The greatest surprise that we’ve had is the general quality of the Thai food here. Now, I know that Seattle is more of a hub for Vietnamese immigrants than Thai, but come on! In all instances but one, we have been sorely dissappointed by our Thai food experiences (and that only just qualifies as “good”). Lest you think that I’m evaluating Thai food from the perspective of a Phoenician, remember that Emily spent 10 months in Thailand and I spent 2 1/2 weeks there as well – and we loved the food. Here, the Thai tends to be mushy, bland imitations of the food that so captivated us on our trips. We’ve scourded “Best Of” and “Seattle’s Best” lists to no avail – those Thai restaurants that regularly feature at the top of all of the lists are occationally the worst offenders. The food tends to be unremarkable and lacking in flavor.
Which brings me back to my original statement. Along with Thai food, Mexican, Mediterranian, and good old American foods all seem strangely bland and lacking in flavor. The Mexican food actually has a reasonable explanation: we found shortly after moving here that the lion’s share of Mexican immigrants in the Seattle area hail from the Oaxaca region of Mexico – an area far more in touch with the original Mexican cuisine than the TexMex, Sonoran, and New Mexican styles that we’re more accustomed to. That being said, though, I think it’s very telling that one of the most popular Mexican fast-food places (Tacos Guyamas), which has multiple locations all around King County, claims the Wet Burrito as it’s specialty: an enchilada-style burrito slathered in tomato sauce and filled to brimming with pinto beans and little else. While I’ve developed a taste for it and order it from time to time on my lunch, it doesn’t hold a candle even the bastardized fare that can be found at Chipotle, etc.
All in all, I’m quite shocked that I would look back on my time in Phoenix as a period of comparitively wide and rewarding culinary opportunities – I would have expected that Seattle, with its easy access to the Pacific Ocean and the dearth of immigrant communities, would have become a hotbed of local cuisines; all flavored and spiced to make us run for the carafe of water, tears streaming from our eyes and wide smiles on our faces.
Other thoughts? Recommendations on places to go to offset our general dissapointment?