Villa Victoria

By Kathryn Robinson January 7, 2009 Published in the February 2008 issue of Seattle Met

EVERYONE WHO KNEW the late, great Villa Victoria in Madrona already knows all about its recent reincarnation in Columbia City and have already stood in line inside the florid little takeout, ogling its deli case. Everyone else…well, they’ll be along soon. Naomi Andrade Smith simply makes better tamales than anyone else in town. They’re stuffed with chicken or beef, each in its own strapping mole, or with jalapeño-fired cheese; then swaddled gingerly in corn husks and steamed till the filling is tempered and the masa is cooked yet improbably moist. Fans know to make a meal of these by adding whatever other surprise Smith has cooked up that day—a tofu burrito with guacamole, perhaps, or a mellow wedge of chilaquiles verdes—all products of a global immersion that comes from having a Mexican mother, an African-American father, and a style that can only be called ethnoculinary. With all that in its favor—who needs tables and chairs? Closes at 7pm

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