Endless Road Trip Seattle: Now That’s a Spicy Cocktail

I’m kind of fickle when it comes to spicy stuff. Sometimes I love it (5-star Thai curries, chipotle peppers, Cholula on my scrambled eggs) and sometimes it’s just too much for me (stirfry drenched in red chili paste, jalapeños on my nachos, super hot BBQ sauce). Where do I draw the line and why? Who knows? I like what I like, and that’s that.

Here’s something spicy that I really like: the spicy tequila cocktails at Poquito’s. I’ve written about this hip and delicious restaurant/bar before, back when I lived in Seattle, and they keep finding ways to make me happy. One particular thing I keep coming back to is the La Fiona: their boozy, fruity, and yep — very spicy — cocktail concoction made of passionfruit puréehabañero-infused tequila, and agave nectar, complete with a chipotle-sugar rim.

While it’s offered as a cocktail, I usually order the La Fiona as a shot (left). And then I don’t even shoot it, but gingerly sip. Why? Well, as the menu warns us, this drink is “Extra spicy! Order at your own risk!” and they aren’t kidding. Sometimes I like to do a little one-two punch and get my La Fiona shot alongside another milder drink such as their delicious Fresa margarita made with strawberry-infused tequila (right).

I’ll be the first to admit that Seattle isn’t exactly known for its Mexican scene, but I promise a visit to the Poquitos bar can change that. Mouth-burningly spicy, tropical and tangy thanks to the passionfruit, and a bit smoky and sweet thanks to its rim, the La Fiona is a complex party of flavors in your mouth (and liver). Pair it with some of Poquitos’ incredibly fresh, made-to-order guacamole and crispy tortilla chips, or perhaps their luxurious ceviche, and enjoy.

Poquitos / 1000 E. Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122 / 11:30a-2:30a

Also on The Endless Road Trip: Seattle
1. The Most Powerful, Brouwerful Hour
2. Clucking Great Fried Chicken
3. Porky Passion at Paseo
4. Hipster Hangover Brunch

2012: The Year of Fideo?

I rang in the new year with a brand new food I’d never tried before! Way to start 2012 on a decidedly culinary note, huh? Okay, in full disclosure, I ate this at about 11:00pm on 12/31/11, but I actually started 2012 at a house party in which all I consumed was warm Cook’s “champagne,” so I’m just gonna count this. I mean, I was still digesting it after the clock struck midnight.

At this point, you are probably sitting on the edge of your seat, gripping the front of your desk, thinking, “What, Emily? What is this wonderful mystery food you consumed to kick off your amazing year?!” Well, my friends, it is called fideo, described as a Mexican dry soup with a spaghetti-like pasta.

My group was enjoying a leisurely, festive dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle — Poquitos — which I have mentioned in the past. One of the owners, Matt, was bartending, and he suggested we try their new appetizer. Matt is so charming that you can never resist anything he suggests, so we eagerly agreed. He brought over a piping hot bowl. “I like to eat mine with chips,” he remarked with a smile.

Wait, noodles you eat on a fried tortilla product?

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Hakuna Matata: Learning To Eat Bugs

I was not born an epicure; it has been a relatively slow evolutionary process. When I was young, I eschewed many foods I now love, such as: most vegetables, Mexican cuisine or any type of meat off the bone. Luckily, I grew out of my pickiness and now I am eager to stuff myself with organs, raw meat, marrow, you name it — anything edible is fair game.

Still, there are a few final hurdles I have yet to wrap my head (and mouth!) around. For example, while the nutritional value and sustainability of insects as food has been fairly well documented, the idea has never been at the top of my culinary to-do list. So when I received a coveted invite to the opening of Poquitos, a new restaurant in Seattle touting ultra-authentic Mexican street food, I knew I had to pay them a visit and sample their most notable menu offering: chapulines. Time to eat me some BUGS!

Before Poquitos, I was a virgin in the bug devouring department (except for that urban legend about the average human unintentionally eating eight spiders a year, which makes me want to die just thinking about it). My only “experience” with intentional bug eating heretofore was watching that “Hakuna Matata” scene in The Lion King: “Slimy yet satisfying!”

I honestly had no idea what to expect when I ordered my chapulines, but I knew I needed to have a margarita at the ready. Besides my lifelong vendetta against spiders, I’m not terrified of other bugs. But the prospect of putting a whole insect in my mouth wasn’t exactly delightful either. Especially when my lovely server deposited a huge bowl of them right in front of me. When Matt, one of Poquitos’ co-owners, stopped by my table to check in, I pulled him off the busy floor for a quick chat re: Mexican bugs. I needed to know what I was in for.

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