Thursday, July 16, 2009

buford highway, get familiar

This is my abbreviated guide to the culinary wonderland that is Buford Highway.   When we have dough Buffy and I like to go exploring these are some of our favorite spots to get ill on some grub.  I know its a hike, but if you like food you are doing yourself a disservice by not spending as much time there is possible. I won’t waste time waxing Bourdain though, let’s just get straight to it:

in no particular order except the first entry, because it is our most recent discovery and still fresh on my mind. 

C’om.  C’om is a vietnamese rice dish, and this place does it so goddamn amazingly well I almost don’t want to talk about it.  Holy shit.  Rice, amazingly grilled pork (or whatever critter you want), an egg, carrots and cukes, maybe there was some lettuce, and this crazy spongy omelette like thing covered in an amazing sauce is this place’s namesake and signature snack.  The rice is more like cous cous in size and texture, and the best I have ever had.  Damn. 

Hae Woon Dae.  In addition to being the home of the single best piece of straight up meat in town, this place is the jump off after hours - its open 24 hours and in a strip mall with 3 strip clubs and 1 jack shack.  Some interesting folks in there getting serious on some interesting grub.  The “steamed short ribs” is the aforementioned transcendental meat.  It is short ribs cooked very low and slow in a pot with a bunch of other goodies and shit until it falls apart when you look at it.  They also have Korean BBQ (I guess is what their main thing is) but the steamed short ribs are the most amazing pot roast like thing ever and I can’t stray from it.  (that shit is good yall).  Every meal comes with a bunch of little kimchee plates, all of which are amazing by themselves.  the little velvety potato one is a favorite, as well as the one that is just a pile of little shitty dried minnow fish or whatever they are.  Amazing.  Also, you might catch a drunk stripper in a neon green thong and a track jacket screaming “i just want some fucking kimchee!!!”.... or not.  you never know.

Rincon Latino.  Some of you guys know about this one (Whatup Spee, Aly, peace Eric, whats hatnin?).  Maybe my favorite.  This place features Central American and Mexican food with an emphasis on CA treats like papusas, which rule.  The chicken tacos are amazing though you would never know it from the menu.  Serious barbacoa.  And its cheap as hell too.  Beers are like 2 bucks or something like that.  Servers are really nice and don’t speak a lot of english, or at least the ones i’ve had don’t.  Which is tight.  And that strong chemical cleaning solvent smell fights for the scent-waves with the amazing food smells which makes the place feel very very much like Mexico.  And the art on the walls and the layout of the joint...damn.  If you’ve spent time in Mexico or Central America this place will punch you in the face with nostalgia.

The Foodcourt at Plaza Fiesta.  Same as above with the comida y experencia autentica.   Aguas de Frutas, Tacos y Tortas, churros chicharon etc. etc.  Plus you can get pistol grips with your initials inlaid a few feet away.  Stay away from the mole though, unless you’re into ass explosions.  

Pho #1.  Tried and true, always a great bowl of bún, which is grilled pork over vermecelli and veggies and cilantro.  Cheap and reliably awesome.  Kind of my (our) go to joint when hungry as fuck and willing to leave the neighborhood.  Buffy’s favorite spot!  awesome atmosphere too with the huge old school widescreen tv playing vietnamese music videos.   You can get a great vietnamese iced coffee here, which is basically rocket fuel.  A cool drip system mixed with sweetened condensed milk, so good and will get you so wired.  The Pho is of course excellent too.  There are a million Pho joints on Buford highway, and I have yet to visit a bad one -- but if you can’t decide where to start, start here.  It’s physically closest to our neck of the woods too.  

Canton House.  Dim Sum that will rock your shit.  The beef ribs are ugly but transcendentally delicious.  The dumplings of all types are incredible.  The bean paste buns get a little weird, but the ones with egg (neon yellow?) and taro (neon purple?) custard are great.  Go there, eat some weird (to you) looking stuff and enjoy.  If you order chicken feet your server will probably freak, in a good way.  they don’t taste very good though.  My favorite dim sum in atlanta (or NYC for that matter).  They also have a tight looking menu but I haven’t been able to control myself when that dim sum cart goes by yet to find out what its like.  Probably great.  

Don Taco - Rules.

El Rey de Todos - Rules 24 hours.

Chef Liu - Amazing Cantonese grub, some spillover in style from Canton House but this is a menu/snack bar style joint.  It is out in the middle of a parking lot too, like a wings joint on memorial or something.  Tight.  Best dumplings I have had so far.  Amazing if a little ugly duck (looks like a chunk of carcass, tastes like a chunk of really fucking good).  “Cold noodle’ is one of my favorite things ever, spicy and cold and awesome.  Cool things in buns etc.  Leek pie, onion pie, they also do wild things with tofu.  And it’s the cheapest spot around I think (What up Lee’s Bakery).  You can eat yourself to death for like 14 dollars, and that’s like 9 courses.  A normal healthy meal would be really cheap but I don’t know how to order those.

Kang Nam - My favorite sushi spot in Atlanta, including the insanely expensive popular ones in town.  This is a Korean sushi spot, so a little different but not too much.  They have a couple of live tanks full of flounder so you get it fresh and they aren’t afraid to not waste fish parts.  Fish head soup is amazing and spicy as fuck, good for la cruda for sure.  There’s an amazing lunch course that is a bowl of sushi rice covered in 5 different kinds/colors of caviar - its 15 bucks at night but comes with the lunch combination joint that is like 16 bucks total.  Go at lunch time.  The noodle dishes are also incredible.  The sushi chefs kick ass of course, and if you are getting down for real they will see that and send really interesting and different dishes to you just to see it blow your fucking mind.  Also amazing atmosphere, open late and no windows.  Yes man.  One of my favorite places to be, let alone eat.

El Cabrito - my top homeboy Carlos from Guerrero took Buffy and I to this place a few months ago.  We asked him to take us to his favorite close-to-authentic-as-possible spot and this is what he came up with. Far as fuck up the street, it’s way into Gwinet country and wedged in between two car repair joints.  Worth the voyage however, this is indeed the real deal.  Carlos ordered 2 of everything on the menu for us and we ate like I haven’t eaten in a long time.  Classic, authentic comidas tipicas.  No burritos, ni nachos, ni tortillas de harina.  Basic, amazing, real Mexican food.  Best enchiladas I think I have ever had, anywhere.  Helps to speak spanish.  

Special shout out to Lee’s Bakery, Tofu 88, Mozart Bakery, White Windmill Bakery, Foodcourt at the Flea Market, Atlanta Farmers Market, and Buford Hwy Farmers Market.  

Don’t be lazy, Don’t be a wiener.  Make the drive, eat some amazing food experience other cultures and enjoy one of the best things about our city.  I’m sure I’ll be heading that way soon, holler at me if you want to get ill.  This means you reading this right now, let’s do it.


Lord Sabbat said...

what i love most about el rey de todos (without going there yet) is that their name means that they are the kings of everything.

cant really argue with a name like that. damn

esteban said...

dang, son.Ill comprehensive list. I got some new spots to check out.

30cent said...

whats tight about el rey de todos is that until recently there was also a spot called el rey de taco. but they went out of business, because clearly "todos" includes "tacos"

Witchyard said...

I'll toss in some of my favs:
Taqueria de los reyos
Han Il Kwan
Korean Soup Lady (no clue what the name of her shop is)
So Kong Dong
Cafe Saigon

heated mammal said...

I really like Taqueria Michocan and El Potro also.