I never know what to consider my “favorite city.” I have places I’ve been, places I’ve lived, that I love for a variety of reasons, personal, historical, experiential, or even aspirational. So asking me cook something inspired by a favorite city, after a week full of travel-related cooking, is tricky. That’s why I kept it simple, drawing from memories of living in Seattle for undergrad. Four short years, sure, but influential ones.
And, unfortunately, not well-documented ones, for me, at least as far as easy digital photography. iPods were still new, you know? My Nokia’s fanciest feature was the game Snake. I might’ve had a digital point & shoot, but where were those ever backed up? It’s gone forever, I guess.
The food scene in the neighborhood surrounding the University of Washington at the time heavily favored two things: Thai food, and teriyaki joints. If you didn’t have a favorite Thai place or opinion about the side salads on teriyaki chicken plates at numerous places along the Ave, did you even go here? And I surely did, but I also worked part-time at the university’s Health Sciences complex down on the water. It was just a little too far to grab Thai or teriyaki for lunch, and who hates themselves enough to eat at a hospital cafeteria when they don’t have to? Because there was Agua Verde about two blocks away, serving perfectly prepared fish tacos for a price that felt indulgently expensive and yet worth every penny.
Well, my tribute isn’t really there, but I started from a good place: instead of beer-battered catfish with avocado crema and cabbage, I did beer-marinated baked cauliflower with cashew crema and lime-marinated cabbage. (Ripe avocados were not to be found in my kitchen the day I made these, sadly.)
I don’t remember chips and salsa being part of the deal, at least not at the lunchtime to-go window, but it’s tomato season here and I wanted a nice batch of salsa cruda to go with my tacos.