La Luna for Lunch

Since we were in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, it was a disappointment that Mezcaleria Oaxaca, sister restaurant of La Carta de Oaxaca in Ballard, is closed on Sundays. We came across La Luna after we parked the car near the corner of Boston and Queen Anne Ave, which looked like some sort of local restaurant mecca.

La Luna also serves Mexican food. A few patrons were eating al fresco at tables facing Boston St. At around 3pm, the restaurant was not full of customers. Inside, the place had the appearance of being upscale with wood floors, black accents, slate blue and muted orange painted walls, even one wall covered in earth-toned tiles. A full-service bar was at the rear, flanked by a flat-screen monitor airing a post-game interview with Russell Wilson who was no doubt trying to explain the Seahawks’ first loss of the season to Baltimore.

victoria beer

To quench my thirst after our walk through Queen Anne, a pint of Victoria hit the spot. Nicely ice-cold, it was a typical Mexican beer of German style, smooth, sweet and very drinkable, with a squirt of lime.

chips and salsa

The nice thing about the complimentary chips and salsa was freshly made tortilla chips that were speckled with salt, just enough to give them nice seasoning and extra points over those we normally get at Mexican restaurants. The salsa itself was good, mild enough for my wife’s tastes.

De Molé con Pollo Enchiladas (☆☆☆) struck my fancy, since I’m always on the lookout for great molé sauce. After confirming that it was made in-house, ordering it was a no-brainer. Two enchiladas arrived on a platter that it shared with salad (an option instead of rice and beans), the meager stuffing of chicken giving them a flat (translated, skimpy) appearance and topped with mango salsa. The sauce was dark brown, chocolatey, thick with ground nuts, sweetened with dried fruits, and tasting intriguingly of clove and anise. But it was a more refined version, not as bold and spicy as other versions I’ve liked. Chicken breast pieces don’t complement molé very well, in my opinion, because their leanness and relative lack of flavor don’t stand up to it as thigh or drumstick meat does. The best chicken molés I’ve had in the past were made with chicken leg quarters, even turkey legs. The salad, dressed with a light hand, was a mixture of red- and green-leaf lettuce, avocado slices, chile-dusted walnuts and a soft, creamy feta-like cheese.

De molé con pollo

De molé con pollo

My wife’s Carnitas Tacos were quite good (☆☆☆½). The roasted pork pieces were flavorful and topped with a nice guacamolé acidulated with tomatillos. Her salad was served on a separate plate.

Carnitas tacos

Carnitas tacos

I got the impression that the kitchen here aims for refinement. Nothing was bold or overly spicy, in line with the sleeker, bourgeois decor. This isn’t a bad thing, just a shift in emphasis. Diners expecting typical Tex-Mex might be disappointed and consider the food bland.

Consistent with the upscale image, breakfast and brunch includes interesting items like chorizo benedicts with tomato hollandaise, carnitas benedicts with salsa verde, huevos rancheros, green chilaquiles with queso fresco, and breakfast burritos.

La Luna
2 Boston St
Seattle, WA 98109

Breathtaking views from Queen Anne Hill (Seattle)

We didn’t need an excuse to go out on a beautiful day that popped up today between rainstorms in Seattle. It was a last-minute decision after breakfast. The destination was Queen Anne where we intended to go only two days ago in conjunction with Seattle Center, but decided to forgo after spending a long enough time at the Science Center.

While Queen Anne is a residential neighborhood, its high elevation affords fantastic views of the mountains, sound, lake, islands and skyline. Because of this, Queen Anne is a desirable place to live. Many older, restored homes share space with mature trees, a good number of parks and the legendary, 120 public stairways that traverse Queen Anne’s many steep hillsides. Another feature of Queen Anne Hill are the three television transmission towers that are aligned east-west.

We found a parking spot along W Highland Dr, then made a grand loop on foot. Almost immediately, we came upon Kerry Park that has the most dramatic viewpoint. The Seattle skyline highlighted by the Space Needle is clearly visible. Elliott Bay and West Seattle are likewise in view and further afield, Mount Rainier (on clear days, like today). In a slightly different direction, you can see the Magnolia Bridge, Smith Cove with its Elliott Bay Marina and cruise ship terminal, and the Olympic mountain range.

"Changing Form," Doris Chase, sculpture at Kerry Park

“Changing Form,” Doris Chase, sculpture at Kerry Park

kerry park view

View from Kerry Park (click to enlarge)

The street along 8th Ave W was bolstered on the left with retaining walls topped with a concrete balustrade and decorative light posts. Several stairways connecting 8th Ave to streets below were the first we saw today. At Galer St, another stairway connected 8th and 9th. In fact, Galer Street has a fair share of them along its entire length from Kinnear Park to Lake Union.

Decorate light post on balustrade

Decorative light post on balustrade (Olympic mountain range on the horizon)

Stairway at Galer and 8th

Stairway at Galer and 8th

Our walk up to 5th Ave wound through the neighborhood with its Queen Anne style homes, many of them with spectacular views. A good number of the trees look as old as the neighborhood itself. En route, two baseball games were being played at West Queen Anne Playfield.

Taylor and 5th Ave are the largest streets that define the eastern edge of Queen Anne. We stopped to admire a P-patch at Trolley Hill Park along Taylor that also has a nice picnic area. Along 5th Ave is Bhy Kracke Park, so named because it’s homonymic to a favorite expression of the 19th century (“by cracky”), which I’d heard in a movie when I was a kid. It was a favorite expression of Werner Kracke who owned the land before it became a park. At first, it just looks like a small park with a pergola and play equipment for kids, but toward the back, there is a narrow opening for a trail that switchbacks along the steep hillside. At the top, there is a very good view, partially obscured by trees, of Lake Union, Capitol Hill and the Cascade mountains to the east.

Dahlias in Trolley Hill Park P-patch

Dahlias in Trolley Hill Park P-patch

Space Needle from Bhy Kracke viewpoint

Space Needle from Bhy Kracke viewpoint

After the two-hour walk, we were ready for lunch. The area around the intersection of Queen Anne Ave and Boston St has many restaurants. Unfortunately, Mezcaleria Oaxaca is closed on Sundays, so we walked around until we came across La Luna where we had a nice meal before heading home.

Fall colors

Fall colors on Queen Anne Ave

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