Gushing over a quesadilla might seem unseemly for a tortillaphile – it is, after all, the banaler of tortilla-based dishes – but sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants. And after trying Carmelo’s quesadillas, what my heart wants is to have them, yet again.
Before I get ahead of myself and send you running to Cap Hill, it’s helpful to have an idea of how Carmelo’s ordering system works. Here, you walk up to a kiosk, place your order, and head inside a small convenience store where they serve you. There’s even a small bar area there for you to sit down and enjoy your meal.
The system is a little Soup Nazi-esque, except friendly. Soup Ally, if you so like.
Back to the food. Sitting at the bar, you have a perfect view of how the magic happens. The tomatillo salsa is prepared fresh right in front of you, as are the tortillas. Those are two crucial basic staples, and the results are glorious for both. As is the campechano, which, I feel, proves a thesis of mine: A successful quesadilla is, when properly prepared, often just a cheesy burrito served in a flatter form. That is a
controversial opinion in many circles, I know, but it’s something I stand by.
So, the campechano. Flavorful; a kick in the teeth, not from the heat, but from the profile. The spices are harmoniously matched, and they coat the mouth gingerly. With the addition of meats with proper chew and a well-charred tortilla, you have a combination that sums up to something truly special.
A special side-recommendation, too, for the veggie tacos. More often than not, these are served with some hastily sautéed vegetables, but not surprisingly, Carmelo’s further steps up the game. The veggies are diced uniformly, and the flavors meld in a beautiful balance.
Carmelo’s might just be a contender for Seattle’s tortilla crown. Give it and Lorena’s a go, and get ready to feel as conflicted as I am. Remember: there are six different types of quesadillas to sample.