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.
Both out of my desire to check out different places and a taco kick of unexplained reasoning, I stepped out of YJ and over to Tacos La Villa. An odd experience to say the least. The taqueria is housed in the old Quiznos space two-doors left of Jinbei. It seemingly must be an offshoot of Super Mercado La Villa, a Hispanic market in the same complex. But that’s just a logical assumption on my part.
The experience is jaunting on account of the corporate polish of the space combined with the complete lack of rebranding. Save for the menu, I don’t think a single thing was changed. The chairs are still emblazed with giant Qs and the peel’em stickers are still on the walls. I dunno, I guess we’re all more comfortable with the dumps. This feels even more awkward than the subversive chain that is El Señor Taco.
There’s a full lineup but I snagged a couple of $1.00 mini-tacos. No price complaints from this guy, but don’t be fooled because mini-tacos are exactly that. Served up naked, I used the onsite salsa bar for doctoring and dug in. Honestly, I think my rash of tacos in the past week has left my deep well of words somewhat dry for this one. I simply have worn out my deep analytical analysis so we’ll go with a dumbed down: Everything was fine. The al pastor and tripe were good. Specifically, the tripe had a nice crunch and was good and moist, not an easy thing to achieve with this difficult to handle protein. The tortillas were competent. The prices fair. Everything is finished on the flat top, so yeah … there’s that. Nothing to polarize me in anyway, but good enough that I wouldn’t complain if what I had was the norm. I’d be willing to try pretty much anything here.
Tacos La Villa Taqueria Address & Information
2415 Cobb Parkway, Smyrna, GA 30080 // 770.951.0415 // menu
After After Lunch
Having successfully kept GI Joe from having to return to his place of employ (thanks to discussions of activities of ill repute, how good he’d look in biker getup, and how much attention my tight ass seems to get from the gay community), we hugged it out as only a gay man and his seemingly young boy toy could. Seriously ladies – I got a nice butt. #Shock #Awe #Gasp #DidHeJustSayThat. Instead of bee lining for my car, I stepped into Thompson Brothers BBQ to fill up what little stomach space remained.
Though the strip mall address may lead you to wonder what sort of barbecue joint you will find, this seven-year-old pit stop has a good bit of personality and a smoker out back; it is an honest rendering of the genre. Roughly 12 tables line the arena where faux brick walls are covered with Americana and the photo equivalent of the tchotchke. Short on hunger, I grabbed a chopped pork sandwich ($5.59) and the unwanted but complementary single side (mac & cheese).
Moments later, my plate arrived. The meat was tender and juicy with only the slightest hint of dryness. The sliced crust provided a bit of crunch and that made me a happy foodie. I sampled it thoroughly and eventually added some of their spicy sauce that was tableside. The sauce was competent, but the sugar overpowered any ingredients included for spice. The bun was nothing more than store bought and the mac and cheese looked no better than Kraft. It was pretty bad. We’ll get into execution techniques, sauce styling, and smoke rings in the future. For now, let’s just say Thompson Bros fits comfortably in the somewhat non-notable world of Atlanta barbecue.