Bottomfeeder: Life After Mexi-Burger

Enter Taqueria Jalisco.

Despite the presence of a glowing Seattle Post-Intelligencer review on its front window, Mexi-Burger served its last torta during the first week of April. Perhaps not by coincidence, this closure came less than a month after the P-I, whose globe spins but a short distance from Mexi-Burger's now permanently locked front door, printed its last edition on March 17. Evidently, the skeletal staff that remains to produce the woebegone daily's scrappy online-only product doesn't have the time—or possibly the money—to dine out with sustained vigor. It was Mexi-Burger where we'd intended to bottomfeed when we set out on foot for Lower Queen Anne on a gloriously sunny recent Monday afternoon. Stymied, we ventured across the street to Taqueria Jalisco, a neighborhood institution since 1977. Ironically, the dormant Mexi-Burger sits in the space long occupied by the original Jalisco. Now housed solely in its much larger satellite location, Jalisco's decision to consolidate its Queen Anne operation seems shrewd in retrospect. (The local chain is rounded out by six additional locations around the county.) There is nothing special about the food at the Queen Anne Jalisco, or any Jalisco for that matter. It is consistently mediocre, better than what most people could whip up at home but vastly inferior to more authentic taco-truck fare. The boldest Jalisco location is its South Park property. Why anyone would choose to eat at Jalisco versus the sublime Muy Macho next door—or any number of nearby food counters in this Latin Quarter—is incomprehensible. And yet people do. The best explanation for Jalisco's durability could be that it is to middlebrow, middle-income Seattle what Applebee's is to Middle America. Mexican cuisine, like fried chicken, baked potatoes, and pizza, is pretty good even when it's bad; and most people, even in a cutting-edge metropolis like ours, are generally risk-averse. Jalisco may be mediocre, but hey, at least it's our mediocrity.

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