Suburban Wino 2: The Wordpress Experiment

Eating Buford Highway | August 3, 2009

I’m pretty fortunate to live in a big city (well, near one. The “suburban” moniker ain’t just frontin’, son).

When in the vicinity of a major metropolis, there’s usually a lot of great food options. Yeah, fine dining’s great, and it’s really cool that Atlanta’s starting to make some noise as a major food city (3 of the contestants for the upcoming “Top Chef” are from here). But way overshadowed by all this pomp and $40 beef cheeks is the incredible assortment of ethnic foods one can find if just a bit adventurous.

Atlanta has huge populations of Mexicans, Southeast Asians (especially Vietnamese and Cambodian), Koreans, and Chinese. In my opinion, nowhere is this mix more prevalent than on Buford Highway, running on a northeast-southwest axis in the northeast quadrant of the metro area. Fortunately, the heart of the “ethnic strip” is not far from my office, and I’m currently making it a point to each cheap (and eat well)- avoiding the plethora of fast-food chains and seeking out the good stuff in the strip malls and cook shacks of this unassuming stretch of U.S. 23.

Unfortunately, I haven’t documented my first two trips, but I will tell you where I went. First stop was El Taco Veloz, serving up tender barbacoa and tacos de lengua (yeah, that’s beef tongue, and you REALLY need to give it a try)…for next to nothing.

My second stop was a very modest place called Food & Dim Sum Heaven (I couldn’t find a website…this place really was a hole-in-the-wall), serving up Chinese tea-house-style dumplings of all assortments, fried treats, and lots of nether-bits of pork cooked up in copious amounts of garlic, scallions, and ginger. Despite a sizable language barrier, our server Lisa was very friendly and eager to serve us their best. I can’t say that same amount of pride is projected when I go to the nearby Panda Express. And best of all, my buddy Brad and I left the place stuffed for $17 total (including his beer…don’t worry, it was after 9 AM).

There’s a lot more Buford Hwy. to go…Vietnamese, Korean BBQ, more taquerias, and perhaps food from countries non-existent to the average “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader” contestant. I hope something I write inspires you to go out and try something adventurous. Remember: if it looks sketchy, it’s probably good. And if anyone has a great experience (or a bad one), tell me all about it! Or, if you have a place I should try (whether you’ve eaten there or not), let me know, and I’ll try to break it down for you.

In the meantime, I’ll just dream of tacos…


A common site when driving down Buford Highway: Taquerias. Taquerias aplenty.

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