When Hector Santiago’s crew at Super Pan really puts their mind to it, the mediodia, a rift on the classic medianoche, is perhaps the single best sandwich Atlanta has to offer. There is both good and not so good in this tiny sandwich shop located in Atlanta’s Poncey-Highland neighborhood; but when we fixate solely on that torpedo of goodness, we find that when it’s right … it’s freakin’ fantastic.
These days, if you mention Latin food to Atlantans, I wouldn’t be surprised if food trucks, or carts as they are often known, enter the conversation early and often. In that respect, it’s kind of funny that I, along with a couple of buddies, stumbled upon La Carreta Taqueria in Marietta.
La Carreta, whose given name is La Carreta Hispanic Grocery and Taqueria, translates as “the cart” or “the wagon” depending on which Hispanic country you find yourself in. In reality, this full-service restaurant and amended market does little to remind me of those mobile eateries popping up all over the country.
I have no real framework for La Carreta’s history and popularity. Until I drove past and ultimately around and up to the free standing building, I had neither heard of nor knew of anyone who had been to it. Thus, I don’t know who runs it, where they come from, or how long La Carreta has been there. Follow up research online turned up a seemingly devout following via a few social food sites but little else. Maybe it’s the proximity to The Big Chicken that leaves me so surprised. With that in mind, on with a longer than usual post.
If my foodie gauge is correct, Super Pan, a Latin sandwich shop from Hector Santiago, is about to be the latest restaurant to permeate Atlanta’s food chatter. How long this Pura Vida spin-off manages to last in that conversation will depend entirely on their ability to deliver good, consistent food. Of course, Santiago’s notability due to his time on Top Chef will help with the buzz.
As you might remember from Monday’s post, I first visited the subterranean sandwich purveyor last week during their first few days of business. However, I grubbed sans camera, so a return trip was necessary before I dropped this post on y’all. Three sandwiches in, I’d say there is some real potential.
The photo above comes courtesy of Hector Santiago’s newest endeavor … Super Pan, a Latino Sandwich Shop. (I nabbed it off the Super Pan website). I luckily stumbled upon this sandwich shop just the other day but stupidly forgot to update y’all on the details. Sorry! Buddha Fail! Anyway, I’ll give y’all a recap just as soon as I can scrap together a food finds post on my experience… but for now … here are the goods:
- It’s a Latin influenced sandwich shop
- It’s located in Poncey-Highlands underneath Pura Vida and their herb garden!
- It’s open T-F from 11:30-2pm
- There are a couple of less expensive options, but get ready to spend about $10 or more on a sandwich.
- The shop relies heavily on local farms for sourcing.
- They have a facebook page.
On the last season of Bravo TV’s Top Chef, Atlanta made some real headway. We were fortunate enough to have three local chefs make it on to the hit reality TV show. Since then, the city hasn’t stopped buzzing. Many moons ago, Kevin Gillespie, pork tats and all, was kind enough to make an appearance on our weekly series, Inside The Chef’s Kitchen. Now, thanks to Hector Santiago of Pura Vida, we welcome the second of those three chefs.
Stupidly exiled from Top Chef after a French themed challenge (in which the one French chef on the show represented suck-tastic), Hector is back in our city and doing his thing. Puerto Rican through and through, you can find him slinging pans most any night at his tapas restaurant in Virginia Highlands. Appropriately located just off Ponce De Leon Ave (Ponce de León himself played an important role in Puerto Rico’s history … he brought them rum amongst other things), Pura Vida is one of the long standing Latin restaurants in the city.
What better way to end this beautiful week with a mojito and some light reading. And with that, welcome to ITCK!
The newly incorporated INC Street Food in Roswell has already garnered a good bit of attention. That’s no surprise considering that the Canton St. Latin eatery is a project from the gang at nearby Salt Factory Pub, a fairly well known establishment in its own right. Owners Hicham Azhari and Fikret Kovac have teamed again with chef Richard Wilt to open a restaurant that is really more of a tip of the hat to Latin cuisine than it is an accurate representation of its own name.
The concept of “street food” is this year’s burger. It’s catching on like wildfire and as soon as some laws are changed, you can bet that true mobile eating will take root in this city, just as it has in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. For now, we’re relegated to permanently affixed establishments who do their best to replicate the “everyman food” from the region of their choice.
With any trending topic, it seems that there are those ready to embrace it in its truest form, and those who want to take that concept and play with it. That might be the nicest way to frame what’s gone on at INC. While there are some roots in what most people would call street food, a meal at INC doesn’t give you anything of the sort. The reality is that the grub here isn’t any more street than a Big Mac. That’s not an all out indictment of the restaurant; it is instead intended to help visitors frame their expectations a little more appropriately … especially when you consider that the restaurant’s full name is Autentico INC Street food. This information certainly would have helped when B. Smooth and I showed up just a few weeks ago.
If you don’t live in Decatur, there is a good chance that Mezcalito’s Cantina is one of those restaurants you can go a lifetime without trying. In fact, I have driven by this Oakhurst restaurant more times than I can remember; yet, I have never entered its glass doors. Though it doesn’t get a lot of attention outside 30030, the restaurant has had its share of media coups and remains a popular destination for nearby chicas y hombres craving some Mexican food.
In its previous life, Mezcalito’s operated under the name Billy Goat’s Cantina. Having never visited before the other night, I don’t have any good information on the background of the restaurant or the name change. Whatever the case, Mezcalito’s finds itself near the restaurant-centric intersection of East Lake Dr. and Oakview road (aka Oakhurst Square). Inside that two to three block area, Universal Joint and Saba seem to get the most attention. However, all the restaurants there seem to draw a crowd and you’ll even find a Tex-Mex alternative to Mezcalito’s in the nearby Matador Cantina.
In the past year, Atlanta has taken a few stiff upper cuts to its Cuban jaw. Fire gutted Havana (reportedly due to arson) in October after owner Silvesonso Ramirez closed Midtown’s Kool Korner Grocery in August. The opportunity gave Papi’s (pronounced like Poppy seed) the chance to snag market share. Backed by an already strong following, the restaurant upgraded its digs, expanded its interior, and even added a new location.
Nowadays, Papi’s in Midtown is a hopping lunch spot with long lines and a devoted following. Given its proximity to my home and its new found fame, it was only a matter of time before I worked it in on the Atlanta Sub & Sandwich Tour.