While I do spend chunks of time in Mexico, this MicroAdventure was truly micro and happened in Seattle. I wanted to share it, because it shows how really everything can be an adventure if you let it. It can happen in an hour or two, without even trying. This particular MicroAdventure started out as just going to get dinner with my family. I suppose it depends on your family whether you would normally consider that an adventure or not, but in my case it’s pretty standard operations. We decided to try an easy Mexican restaurant that none of us had tried in years. None of us remembered it being that good, but it was close to where we were, and with several people in on the meal it was the one kind of food we all agreed would work for us. So our adventure started on a random corner on Capitol Hill in Seattle, though of course we didn’t realize yet that it was an adventure. That was where we were standing when we agreed that “that one Mexican restaurant above that grocery store…you remember…it was by a gym I think” was the place to go.
A few minutes of walking and we arrive at the building, spend a few minutes remembering how to find the stairs and arrive at our destination. But alas. In the location of our old Mexican restaurant, we see only the remnants of an abandoned patio with some faded tilework along the edges. No signs of life within at all. We all stood there looking at it sadly for a moment. Picture 5 middle-aged people standing sadly in front of an abandoned Mexican restaurant. Perhaps imagine a sad, wistful Spanish guitar in the background.
But wait! Our hero is about to arrive on the scene. He is just leaving the gym located next door, which seems to still have a thriving business. He hesitates when he sees us, starts to walk past, and then stops and asks, “Are you all looking for Mexican food?” He has just a hint of Texas accent. We all nod sadly, still looking at the faded Spanish tile.
“Well,” he says. “I am from Texas, and I take my Mexican food pretty seriously. The best Mexican food in town is just a couple blocks down the street in a little hole in the wall.” He describes to us exactly where it is, way in the back of the second floor of a semi-abandoned shopping mall. “It’s on the second floor,” he repeats. “There’s another Mexican place on the first floor, but don’t be distracted.” And with that word of caution, he leaves us to our own devices. Just as he disappears around the corner, he calls, “Get the house tacos. You won’t be disappointed.”
We follow his directions, and arrive at what looks like the place. A small shopping mall on Broadway, filled mostly with Nail Spas and purveyors of incense.
At the top of the stairs (having successfully avoided the downstairs place we were warned about), we look around and see…not very much. But there is an open door at the end of the hall…
…and peering in the window indicates that we are not the only people to have got the word that this place is where to get good Mexican food.
You can see essentially the whole place in that picture. There are about three more tables off to the left, and there is a tiny little kitchen, literally about 6 feet square, off to the right. There are only five items on the menu, each with your choice of pork, chicken, or nopales. Obviously, we go with the house tacos (some with chicken and some with nopales).
And then about 5 seconds later, the table looked like this:
Kicking back with our hands on our bellies, we noticed some signs on the wall. It turns out that we are not the first people to discover Tacos Chukis. In fact, this tiny little place with nothing more than an Open sign on the door and a kitchen smaller than a California King sized bed, has been featured in some pretty notable places, including that the Food Network chose it as the one place to get tacos in all of Washington State.
Had we not been open to stepping just a wee bit outside our comfort zone, following the advice of a stranger, trying something new, we would never have had a chance to eat the best tacos in the whole state. Simple. Delicious. Satisfying in a way that can’t completely be explained by just the delicious tacos. (Although, have I mentioned that they really were delicious.)