Unfortunately I've never gotten far enough in to Mexico to experience the real, authentic food. When I do, I expect it to be like Cafe Moose. Flavors this different have to come from somewhere, and that somewhere must be Mexico.
I'm ashamed; I'm wasn't prepared and I didn't have my camera so I've no tantalizing pictures. Prose will have to suffice. Here's the setting. Outside it's a dinky little place on the last industrial bit of Leary Way before it hits 'downtown' Ballard. The gaudy awning manages to make it look like a strip mall despite its being nestled between a couple of auto repair shops. Inside is homey, with a simple lunch counter by the kitchen, and a dining room with butchers paper on the tables.
My masa cakes were so different than anything I'd ever experienced that it took me a couple bites to get in to them. But when I did, oh man, did I ever get in to them. They were tangy in a fermented sort of way, and just sweet enough. Mine happened to be covered in black beans and eggs over medium, and encompassed in the best green salsa I've had.
It was refreshing, as one of my companions noted, to have Mexican food that wasn't smothered in cheese. I wholeheartedly agreed. What was present was cojita cheese, rather than jack, and the amount was perfect. The tortilla chips, and the tortillas themselves where homemade, fresh and fantastic.
My other companion let me try a bite of his cactus dish. It was, as the helpful waitress told us, somewhat like green bell pepper. It was also incredibly buttery and smooth. We tend to follow the no-two-people-order-the-same-thing rule. I'm ordering first next time, because I'm getting this dish.
Not only did my meal make me want to go back, it made me want to go to Mexico. Not bad for eleven dollars (including tax, tip and chips).