Do you feel like you’ve exhausted Seattle’s taco options? It’s because you have, and now you must look to Lupe Flores.
Lupe is a drummer in three local Seattle bands: Wild Powwers, Tacos the Band, and LORBO. As a fledgling drummer myself, I’ve been a fan of Lupe’s since first watching her rock out with her Big Curly Hair Energy during a Wildpowwers show at The Tractor six years ago. Drummers are not often the focal point of a band but Lupe stole the show that night, beating the drums and reminding the audience that there is no such thing as hitting too hard—hoop earrings, glitter, and all.
But since the pandemic started, Lupe hasn’t been able to perform. So, she’s made a unique pivot: her own taco delivery business called Lupe's Situ Tacos.
Lupe’s menu is simple and her tacos taste unlike anything I've ever tried. There are two flavor options, Lebanese-style ground beef and butter—called “hushwe”—and a vegetarian option—“papas”—which are potatoes that pack a punch of flavor. The tortillas are fried and taste like crispy pillows. The meat is cooked in butter, so you can’t really argue with that.
"Situ" is Arabic for grandmother, which is who her business is named after.
Lupe’s situ, Delores Flores, was half Lebanese and half Mexican. In both cultures, food is central, so she taught Lupe how to cook at age three. When Lupe was eight, Delores pulled her aside at a family gathering and let her know that she would be the next situ of the family. To this day, Lupe does not exactly know why her situ deemed her next, but she partially attributes it to female intuition.
Delores slowly and deliberately trained Lupe in the kitchen. Lupe said she was only allowed to tear the herbs for the first year or so of her training. As she progressed, she advanced to taking on the role of sewing the tacos together using toothpicks, and then using knives.
When I spoke to Lupe, she let me know that she spent four days mourning the changes in her routine due to the pandemic. As a musician and a bartender, her jobs are all very people-oriented. “I was sitting on the release of two albums, couldn’t bartend, and the world seemed like it was ending. I wanted to make myself and others happy again.”
Lupe said that one of her friends is an art therapist and had posted about the idea of “picking something you’re really good at” and going for it. This concept inspired her to turn to the tacos she knows how to make so well. She described that in the past when she shared them with loved ones, it was like sharing a secret. Once the news was out, people continued to ask for them. With this in mind, she knew what she had to do. She remarked that the joy she gets out of showing up at people’s doorsteps, with tacos in hand, makes her feel like a “Mexican Santa Claus.”
In addition to delivery, Lupe holds pop-ups. She’s hosted them at Holy Mountain Brewing, Urban Family Brewing, and Hattie’s Hat (where she used to bartend). Lupe said she’s also used her cooking as a vehicle for activism. She raised and donated the proceeds of her taco sales to organizations like the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, where she recently fundraised over $6,000.
To order, check her website for details, as she updates delivery zones often and is attempting to ensure equal access between north and south Seattle.
Lupe confessed that people still contact her 20 years after eating her tacos, asking for more. “This shit is no joke,” she said. Order these crunchy cuties ASAP.
Pick up some tacos at Lupe's in-person events this Saturday, September 19, at Screwdriver Bar, and next Friday, September 25, at Holy Mountain Brewing.