Holy Molé

Editor’s Note: It’s been a while, but after working out some technical glitches, I’m back on the blog, ready to share some experiences as a working commercial, editorial and outdoor adventure photographer (and Dad, husband, writer, adventure-loving family, etc.) in the Seattle area. Enjoy!

Editorial photography for Small Business Administration of the Garcia Family.
Editorial Image for the Small Business Administration of the Garcia family – founders and owners of the Moctezuma’s Restaurant chain in the Seattle/Tacoma Area.

On a good day, the oddsmakers in Vegas put sightings of Sasquatch and finding a decent meal at a shopping mall at roughly the same spread. Up until last week, I wouldn’t have put a dime on either bet, but then I got a call from Barry Garcia to shoot an editorial family photo at Moctezuma’s in the Southcenter Mall.

Barry’s dad started the first Moctezuma’s restaurant forty years ago in Tacoma and, a few decades and three locations later, they’ve been honored with the SBA’s “Small Business of the Year” award, which is the reason I was there – for headshots and an editorial   to photograph the family. This latest addition, at Tukwila’s South Center Mall, is a pretty stunning one. Cool fire pits, lots of tile work, hammered copper tables and an enormous bar, all make it a cool place to hang out. Perched on the exterior of the mall’s south end, it’s a bit of an oasis from the shopping chaos, and a great place to calm you nerves with a margarita after surviving a tour at the mall.

editorial photography seattle
The SBA article that ran, honoring the Garcia’s successful venture.

It’s also a welcome oasis from the food desert that is typical of your average American shopping megaplex. I found that out when, after the shoot, Barry invited me for lunch. As I packed up my gear, he asked what my favorite Mexican dish was. “Molé” is my definitive, go-to answer and, in addition to the chips and salsa, a Mexican joint’s true barometer of quality. There’s a tortilla-making station right in the dining area, so I took mine with chicken and some super-fresh corn tortillas. I didn’t try the chips and salsa, but the molé was superb, with that perfect balance of rich, spicy sweetness that defines a great one.

One of the more rewarding parts of being a commercial and editorial photographer in Seattle is meeting great people and hearing some pretty amazing stories. So, a big thank you to Barry for hiring me to take an editorial portrait of their family on location, and a big congratulations to the Garcia family for pretty much nailing that whole American Dream thing.

The rest of you: even if you dislike the idea of going to a mall as much as I do, this place is a pin you need to drop on your South Seattle food map.