Bell Street Burritos Review: Friends Don’t Let Friends Eat At Willy’s 2

Posted by Foodie Buddha on November 30, 2011

burrito time at bell street burritos

The rise of the fast-casual restaurant, including the new Westside Atlanta location of Bell Street Burritos, owes a great deal to the burrito.  This Tex-Mex tradition is perhaps the burger of that fused cuisine.  Like the burger, the burrito is generally a massively hulking inclusion of typical toppings.  But as the trend to produce these wrapped time-bombs of gastrointestinal danger has risen, so too has the diversity of their staple composition.

Raging Burrito CockroachThe Atlanta restaurant space is now ripe with burrito shops.  We’ve got the big boys like Chipotle, Willy’s, and Moe’s.  Then there are single location operations like Decatur’s hot spot of love, Raging Burrito [REVIEW INTERLUDE: Speaking of Raging Burrito: Blow up the receipt at the right and then check out this post, which never got a lot of attention. Now back to our fair city and the series of burrito purveyors found within].  While these restaurants are a dime a dozen, and their food is often indistinguishable from the competition’s, Bell Street owner Matt Hinton has set out to differentiate Bell Street.  With the opening of his second location, it appears he’s well on his way to that goal.

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Bell Street Burritos Westside Shop is Open 3

Posted by Foodie Buddha on November 23, 2011

bell street burritos logo

Bell Street Burritos has officially grown from a food stall into a fully functional business.  While the Sweet Auburn Curb Market location is still fully functional, you can now get your Bell Street fix of burritos, tacos, quesadillas, and nachos during normal business hours at 1663 Howell Mill Atlanta, GA 30318 in Westside.

Now that they don’t have to worry about Sweet Auburn’s limited hours, you can grab some BSB at dinner time.  Though I don’t have the specific hours for the Westside location, they are serving lunch through dinner Monday thru Saturday – I’d guess 11am to 9 or 10pm.  Now to hustle over there and see how it tastes!  With the holidays upon us, BSB won’t be open again until Monday the 28th.  Their hours moving forward are 11a-9p M-Th and 11a-10p on Fridays & Saturdays.

Supermercado Chicago Taqueria Review – Doraville, GA [First Impressions] 1

Posted by Foodie Buddha on August 30, 2011

taco box at supermercado chicago

Atlanta’s outskirts, particularly around Buford Highway, are covered by Mexican grocery markets that double as quick hit taquerias.  I’ve visited a number of them and little excites me as much as a walk through an instantaneous culture shock.  Supermercado Chicago, known to us gringos as Chicago Supermarket, is one such window into Mexican culture and to date is one of my more trustworthy spots for that type of experience.

A bit larger than some of the other Mexican grocery stores in town, Chicago has always struck me as the “CVS” of these shopping sites.  With piñatas hanging from the ceiling and a handful of knickknacks scattered throughout the isles, I would not be surprised if Chicago had supplanted Richard’s Five & Dime in my childhood databanks had my parents been of Mexican lineage.  Still, I’ve never walked out of Chicago with anything more than what I arrived with.  No, the true reason for every single visit to CS is the little taco counter in the back and I don’t leave scraps!

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La Botana Restaurant Review – Chamblee, Atlanta, GA [First Impressions]

Posted by Foodie Buddha on August 09, 2011

chorizo quesadilla at la botana

At a cursory glance, it appears that the masses are quite fond of La Botana, a Tex-Mex restaurant with two Atlanta locations.  Though they have a location up in Lawrenceville [which might actually be shuttered], most of the attention and the larger crowds seem to find their way to the Chamblee outpost.  Stationed on the inside of I285 at the corner of N. Shallowford and Savoy Dr, you might think that this little cantina is situated next to a somewhat unassuming intersection.

In appearance alone, you’d be quite right.  However, thanks to easy highway access, a few nearby office parks, and a reasonably well-populated residential community just a stones throw away, it’s not a complete surprise that La Botana draws a fairly heavy lunch crowd as well as its fair share of nighttime visitors.  Aware of its existence for at least a couple of years, I finally decided to pull in for a noon pit stop.

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Tex’s Tacos Food Truck To Stay Put … Sort Of [RoamingATL] 1

Posted by Foodie Buddha on July 19, 2011

tex's tacos

Tex’s Tacos, an Atlanta Tex-Mex food truck, is set to open a restaurant (of sorts).  Anyone driving on Roswell Road during off hours (aka non-meal time) near its intersection with Irby Ave. is likely to see the bright orange/yellow/red Tex’s Taco truck sitting in front of a tiny little building on a tiny plot of land.  That’s 3173 Roswell Rd and it currently serves as the prep kitchen for Mac Helms and Harrison Jones, Tex’s responsible folk.

Helms informed Roaming Hunger via twitter that duo plans to start serving food out of that location in one to two months.  It’s a relatively small location, so we suspect that this will be a walk-up eatery with no more than a few tables; however, we haven’t got any more information than what Helms told us.  In the meantime, be sure to keep up with Tex’s Tacos over on their Roaming Hunger profile page, where you’ll find pictures, tweets, and a location map to help you keep track of Tex’s at all times.  You can also follow the truck directly via @TexsTacos

Ramen, Tacos, and Barbecue … and Tooshie Talk [Quick Hits]

Posted by Foodie Buddha on July 15, 2011

tonkotsu ramen from yakitori jinbei

Another day, another mini-food tour that is my burden. At least I had good company!

Lunch

Along with GI Joe, I took a Susie Washing Machine to lunch for her birthday.  She’s works near Cloverleaf so we hit up YJ for some of their awesome tonkotsu ramen.  My guests were thoroughly satiated, but my more discerning sensibilities got the better of me.  For the first time in a while (I’ve been there more than most), I was pretty bummed.  The broth still provided a silky, pork infused introduction, and the noodles were spot on, but the rest seemed like a regression concept.  Once laden with delicious roast pork, foodies have been groveling at the reduction down to two pieces per order.  You used to be able to order extra (for a surcharge) … not any more.  The only other visitor was some shredded cabbage (think inside of a spring roll), which was layered beneath the pork.  Still a fine slurping, this example seemed more like a dumbing down than anything else.  Maybe it’s time to look elsewhere for my ramen cravings.

Yakitori Jinbei Restaurant Address & Information
2421 Cobb Parkway, Smyrna, GA 30080 // 770.818.9215 // website // menu
Yakitori Jinbei on Urbanspoon

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Carniceria Ramirez Taqueria Review – Smyrna, Atlanta, GA [Food Finds] 2

Posted by Foodie Buddha on July 13, 2011

gangsta sign at carniceria ramirez

So while I curse the gods at the disappearing act my post pulled at 2am last night, you can read my feeble attempt at recapturing my literary glory.  Go head, I’ll just be hitting golf balls off my roof at passing cars.

At best the word authentic is a loose interpretation of the reality.  More often than not, it’s simply a bullshit term applied by far too many people to far too many things.  Most food cultures developed over centuries in a time when word traveled slow and information channels were at a premium.  And for that matter, food culture most everywhere is in constant evolution.  Ever played a game of telephone? [that’s an awesome link btw]  Things can get awfully mixed up awfully fast.  Thus, cooking techniques in one area of a region were very different than said cooking techniques in another.

Why all the attention paid to the word authentic?  Well, because it’s a supercharged, debate inducing, ecstasy causing piece of foodie contraband.  ‘Nother words, mention or claim something is “authentic” and them’s fightin words.  So leaving behind the bull crud of “what’s the most authentic Mexican food in town?,” I give you Carniceria Ramirez, a straight up grocery store and “authentic” taqueria stationed on the outskirts of south Smyrna.

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La Carreta Taqueria Restaurant Review – Marietta, GA [Food Finds] 1

Posted by Foodie Buddha on July 07, 2011

la carreta exterior

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.

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Escorpion Restaurant Review – Midtown, Atlanta, GA [First Impressions] 2

Posted by Foodie Buddha on June 20, 2011

the scorpion of escorpion

Draped in a haze of street lights, I find myself awash in bustling persona grata.  The hip, the avid, and the curious are in to check out Escorpion Tequila Bar and Cantina.  Escorpion is a lavish new endeavor from restaurateur Riccardo Ullio and his U Restaurants group and its sights are set squarely on the upper echelon of the Mexican restaurant scene here in Atlanta.

With Inman Park’s Sotto Sotto and Fritti firmly in place, Ullio has taken another crack at Midtown after shuttering Lupe Taqueria and Beleza just a stone’s throw ago.  Instead of reworking the 905 Juniper restaurant, Escorpion is a top-to-bottom transformation of the space best known as Eno.  Though in all fairness, the transformation started with the short lived 5th Street Café.

Tagged by their PR entourage as “a regionally inspired Mexican tequila bar and cantina,” Escorpion will remind many of you of Lupe, an endeavor that didn’t go over so well.  That said, Escorpion isn’t a straight up carbon copy of Lupe; rather, it seems like a side-step more than a complete reworking of the aforementioned concept.

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Bad Dog Taqueria Restaurant Review – Emory, Atlanta, GA [First Impressions] 7

Posted by Foodie Buddha on June 07, 2011

In a very Signal v Noise sense, there’s a lot of noise out there about Bad Dog Taqueria, and not a lot of signal.  Several sites have put up content on the new Emory Village taqueria, but most of said material is regurgitated cursory information.  I’ll do my best to give that info one more spin in the blender.

As part of the ever growing trend to open up what I call “anything but” taquerias, Bad Dog aims to serve tacos that have little to do those tacos de cabeza Mexican purists identify with. These restaurants are a playful bunch and utilize America’s multiculturalism to produce taco menus consisting of internationally inspired inspired Tex-Mex.

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