October 5, 2015 · 0 comments

in atlanta, dining out


It’s lame that I want to start every post I write with an explanation of why I don’t post anymore. I always hated reading blogs that do that. I’m trying to find ways to juggle family life, grad school, and work, and I’m making some progress. I even got to cook this weekend – breakfast for me and the boy (bribing him to eat eggs for pieces of sausage), goat tacos with my brother, and baked rigatoni with chicken parm.

To get it all done, creativity is required – lately I’ve been jogging with my kid in one of those expensive strollers, which I enjoy. Similarly when I go out to eat it’s often with the family these days, so we select spots that are affordable and comfortable, which is how we arrived at Bartaco on the Westside, one of three Atlanta locations for the chain which also owns Barcelona (soon to open the 2nd location at Iron Works on the Westside.)

It took a while for me to go to Bartaco, and I sort of wanted to hate it. It’s a chain. I heard tacos were small and a little pricey. They have valet parking. That’s really what takes me over the edge. Fucking valet tacos.

I was wrong. Not only did I greatly enjoy the food, it was a great vibe, and extremely family welcoming. An employee brought spare toys to the table to entertain the little one. The manager was super inquisitive to find out how we enjoyed everything.

“Ever had our oyster tacos? They’re my favorite.”, he asks. Blammo, there are two for us to try on the house. The margaritas are excellent too. All right man, I get it, this place is good.



phallus falafel tacos for the vegetarians


crispy baja fish taco (really good)


fried oyster tacos



Hey there. Been a minute. Here are some things which are delicious I’d like to talk to you about.

red eyed mule red eyed mule

The Red Eyed Mule in Marietta. One of the best southern breakfasts in town. The grits are cheesy and creamy, sausage is flavorable, and the biscuit is the wonderful sweet, fluffy type that puts Chik-Fil-A to shame. A visit to this quaint, little place is worth the drive from in town.

red eyed mule

Wings at Eleanor’s inside of Muss & Turner’s in Smyrna. It’s a dry rub of Ras el hanout, “head of the shop” aka top shelf spice blend, with tzaziki dip, and it’s a great wing change of pace. This place is like the Smyrna version of 2009 Holeman & Finch and I like it.


Speaking of M&T, I went by there recently for lunch and was desperately craving a good fried chicken sandwich. Alas, I found they removed the “never on Sunday” from the menu, as they had lost a fryer and didn’t want to cross contaminate with gluten. With my head hung low, I walked out at the news, only to have the staff come out to the parking lot to let me know they would make me one. It was the best I ever had at Muss & Turner’s, no hyperbole. Just a wonderful fried chicken sandwich.

muss & turner's

A couple weeks ago I finally attended the “Foxeria del Sol” event on the Westside, a collab between The Fox Brothers and Taqueria del Sol. It exceeded expectations. I brought my little boy and he loved it. Even my vegetarian wife loved it, though I didn’t have the heart to tell her how much chicken stock was in the creme of hatch chile soup, which was outstanding. Almost as good as the plentiful, fried chile rellenos abounding the outskirts of the event.


Next up, Umaido in Suwanee. It’s the best, most consistent ramen in the Atlanta area, though it’s really forty-five minutes out of town. I’ve never loved their noodles, but every other bit about it is a head above.

ramen umaido

Finally, here’s some pasta I made with some nduja recently. My parents ordered it online from Zingerman’s. Cook some pasta in really salty water. Saute some onions in olive olive. Add the almost cooked pasta with a few splashes of that starchy water. Add a few splashes of water and a few tablespoons of the nduja and stir until it melts. Give it a few good tosses. Practice that pan toss, it’s essential for pasta. Then I added some diced pickled vegetables from my garden – carrots, thai chiles, habeneros, and jalepenos in this instance because I’m a fuckin’ urban gardener. A touch of cheese, in this case feta because the Parm had run out, adds some texture and color and saltiness. It’s a beautiful pasta dish for cured meat and chile heads.




Some of my favorite dining experiences are super casual. I tend to get more excited to hear about a hot wing shack on Marietta Street with a line of people out front, than I do that Ford Fry will be consulting on the new bar/restaurant in the Four Seasons.

It’s not my side of town, otherwise I would have no excuse my lack of regular visitation to Little’s in Cabbagetown. It’s a great, quaint convenience store with a little bar for dining on burgers and hot dogs. Craft beer? Cigarettes? Fresh produce? Chili Dogs? Check, check, check, and check.


The burger is super satisfying. The beef is fresh and sized appropriately, easily inhaled in a few embarrassingly large bites, on a squishy Martin’s roll. The fries are dark and sort of crispy, sort of soft and tender in a way I really enjoy.


The Foodie Buddha’s selection with bacon and very nicely battered onion rings.


Splitting a chili dog is a solid choice as well. I take mine with a lot of mustard, and feel confident that if you put ketchup on a hot dog, we won’t be friends.


It’s always a good sign when the staff is grinding. Meat.


A similarly snug dining establishment I love is Homegrown. It gets super crowded there, but my two year old pal/son wakes up early so we can get there by 8AM. There is typically a line shortly after that point. He had chocolate chip pancakes. Well, I had them too, it’s too much for even my voracious little guy.


My selection was the hot chicken fried steak biscuit with pickles. This sandwich is right. The orange really ties the room together too.

Quick story – mid breakfast a group of eight to ten bad looking mofos dressed in black with guns and what appeared to be police badges pinned to their shirts (the shirts proclaimed ‘Security’) came walking through the restaurant to the large table in the back. A few of them had black bullet proof vests on too (black on black on black that is my crook look), and the baddest, biggest dude in the bunch was pulling up the rear. As he walked by I noticed the nunchucks he had tucked into the back of his vest against his neck. The whole restaurant certainly noticed too, and in a shared moment of disbelief one other dude across the way caught eyes with me and mouthed the words, “nunchucks????” It was a hilarious moment. Atlanta can be fun sometimes.


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Caribbean Chicken & Fish / Quickly

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This week I visited two places that have been on my “wishlist” for years now – Caribbean Chicken & Fish, and Quickly. I first read about Caribbean Chicken & Fish on Chowhound, via a post by Steve Drucker, whom I don’t know personally, but he was one of the first, if not the first person, […]

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Summer Pasta

July 26, 2015

One of my favorite summer dishes to make is a kitchen sink pasta based on a technique I learned from a Michael Ruhlman video a few years ago. The basis is that you chop up some ripe tomatoes and let it sit (unrefrigerated) a while so the liquid draws from the fruit, offering up a beautiful tomato water. This water serves as the starting point for […]

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Central Texas BBQ – Snow’s, Kreuz, Black’s, La BBQ, Louie Mueller, more…

July 15, 2015

For more than six months, I’ve been wanting to post these photos, but haven’t found the time. Wait, time isn’t found, it’s made, as my father reminds me. He being the likely source of my fastidiousness which fuels the type of person (A/INTJ) who spends a month writing spreadsheets and plotting maps for a dude’s trip around Central Texas with a […]

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Jet’s Pizza

July 6, 2015

Until recently I’d never tried Jet’s Pizza, a small chain out of Michigan with some locations around Atlanta. I’d never even heard of them until my brother told me about them, as there is one near his home in Smyrna. They have all kinds of pizza, but the square cut Detroit style is what we’re here to […]

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June 17, 2015

My father had surgery on both feet last week, so he’s laid up and generous friends have been dropping off food to make life a bit easier. Our friends Alba and Javi, who relocated from Barcelona to Greenville a few years ago, dropped off this beautiful tortilla, a Spanish omelet of potato and onion and egg. […]

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