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.
The 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.
In my brief flirtation with Los Angelesfood trucks, I manage to sample, or at least attempt to sample, four diverse offerings that each presented some insight into the current state of street food in LA. I already waxed foodetic about Kogi, whose food may not be worth the 45 to 60 minute wait that can sometimes come with some of their Korean tacos; but, who provides a real value with pretty good grub from an insanely well run truck (or trucks as the case may be).
So against that standard, I was able to frame two other food truck meals and one “are you freaking serious?” failure of epic proportions. We’ll start with the solid, get to the just okay, and wrap it with a serious cry for one truck to get their shit together. Hopefully, in 1500 words or less! #ICanBeVerbose
If you get into a discussion about food trucks, Kogi, a Korean taco truck pronounced with a hard g, is likely to get a mention or two. Not only did Kogi BBQ and chef Roy Choi ignite the truck craze, but they did so by fusing Tex-Mex with Korean food sensibilities. Now a little empire unto itself, Kogi’s story is synonymous with the story of the food truck and its conceptual growth. On any given day in the Los Angeles area, you’ll find one of the Kogi trucks drawing a crowd.
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.
Once you strip away the misguided name and the disjointed aesthetic of Takorea, what you are left with is a restaurant whose newborn reputation seems to vastly exceed the quality of anything that comes out of the kitchen. Takorea is, in that respect, exactly like Lee’s other establishments: viable for Atlantans due to a lack of framework against which it can be properly judged.
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!
As long as I’ve been around, Little Five Points has never really been known as a culinary destination. This notwithstanding the good number of eateries sprinkled up and down Moreland Ave. But before you stand up and scream foul, I’m not saying that there aren’t places with strong support from we who chow with fervor. Among them, The Vortex has some very memorable grub and more than a few people adore The Porter (my warnings aside). However, those establishments are as much about personality as anything ever produced by their respective kitchens. In some ways, that last statement serves as a synopsis for the L5P enclave. L5P is edgy, artsy, and a great part of the city… but above and beyond, it’s the people of the ‘hood that attract the outsiders.
In that spirit, OMG Tacos is the newest restaurant to welcome itself into Atlanta’s underbelly neighborhood in an attempt to get all cozy with the folk. Open toward the tail end of July in the former Sweet Lime space, OMG Tacos is Exhibit A in the rulebook for “How Not To Open A Restaurant.”
Tex’s Tacos, an Atlanta Tex-Mexfood 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
Another day, another mini-food tour that is my burden. At least I had good company!
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.
So since my camera was out of my possession for a little bit (thus preventing me from getting pictures from recent days) and since I’m still working on my Marea post to attach to these pictures, I fill up the world wide web with more noise. here’s a freaky taco meme (rhymes with cream and means internet fad in short), it’s an oldie, it’s been around, and there really isn’t anything redeemable or inherently funny about it. Turn down your speakers [but not all the way] while you glare at your screen in the hopes that your laser beam eye site is somehow directed at me. while you stand there, feel free to steam over my complete lack of regard for spell check and punctuation and then wish for the 3:47seconds of your life you want back (1:02 on the video below and the balance to read this). hope to be back later with a review