Mexican (border)


The dish is called, modestly, mejillones, Spanish for “mussels”. But it isn’t just mussels. They toss in Spanish sausage, and bathe it in a tomato beer creole sauce. The sauce is chunky and a little spicy. It is delivered in a cast iron skillet, piping hot. Alongside the dish are strips of bread, to take this goodness and scoop. The result is one of the best servings of mussels – well, food of any kind – that I’ve had in the city.

Mejillones. Really excellent.

Mejillones. Really excellent.

Armando’s Caribe is a restaurant that serves largely two cuisines, Mexican and Cuban. There are hints of other cuisines here and there, a jerk chicken wing, but it’s mostly Mexican and Cuban, aiming for a tropical atmosphere. The staff are clearly Latin, and the restaurant collectively gives you the feeling that it’s the real deal.

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I also had the ropa vieja that day, a Cuban dish. Good, but not the mind blowing delight of their mussels. In any event, a restaurant that can put out a great dish and otherwise some good ones is worth keeping on the radar (for example, the old Checkered Parrot’s nachos). And with the mejillones at Armando’s, it absolutely qualifies.

Armando’s Caribe
3170 Peachtree Industrial
Duluth, GA 30097
(770) 232-9848

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It’s a pretty watering hole, Cinco is, and a good place to stop with the guys, or a girlfriend, take in the atmosphere, enjoy some modest eats. The deal with Cinco is that they start with good ingredients, and deliver a solid, not brilliant, product.

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Braised short rib enchiladas are an example of what they deliver. Cinco is clearly dealing in border cuisine (Tex-Mex, Tejano, what have you), as opposed to authentic Mexican cuisine.

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Pretty chips basket.

Pretty chips basket.

It’s a companionable place, and as stated, really good looking.

Cinco Mexican Cantina
1500 Peachtree Industrial Blvd
Suwanee, GA 30024
(678) 541-0645

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PS – Chloe’s review of five years ago is still a good description of this place.

Chuy’s surprised me a little. I was expecting a fajita-heavy restaurant with a dinner emphasis. Instead, I got a more fun happy hour oriented place, brightly colored, and one whose food has culinary influences from the state of New Mexico, particularly in their heavy use of green chiles from the Hatch, New Mexico area.

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It’s the green chile touch that makes this more than a generic Texas Tex-Mex chain. Otherwise, it’s kind of Cheeseburger in Paradise with a sombrero, a place to eat light hearted food where the proteins are just okay and the sauces and salsas are often above average.

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Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is what they call this. The chicken is forgettable, but the cheese and green chiles in the Boom Boom sauce give this dish a worthwhile bite.

To note, this location will be celebrating its one year anniversary on Thursday, December the 6th, and if you like the idea of a lingering happy hour and food specials, try to show up and attend.

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Chuy’s
118 Perimeter Center West
Atlanta, GA 30346
(770) 351-7777

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Raging Burrito has good food, great beer, and plenty of character, a trip back to the early 1970s in some ways. In others it’s quite modern (a 1970s Tex Mex place would never have served fish tacos, for example).

Beef, pork, and fish tacos.

It also bends with the breeze in other ways. The brisket taco they serve is good, perhaps the best taco of the three I tried, and the beer selection on tap is a really good one.

Service was excellent.

Raging Burrito and Taco
141 Sycamore St
Decatur, GA 30030
(404) 377-3311

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Casa Milagro is a highly regarded Richardson restaurant, and checking out reviews by Regular Joe and Bill Hensley, I decided it was promising. It was close enough to the hotel to make it worth a trip, and this eatery ended up being my #1 target while in Texas. There was no guarantee I’d have family, as my daughter and wife were attending a Supernatural convention at the time.

With some luck, my family was available for a late lunch, so we headed up US 75 to this eatery. It’s in a L shaped strip mall, and the restaurant itself is back from the road. Inside, it’s neat, unassuming, clean, and efficient.

Salsa and chips are free with the meal. The salsa here has plenty of cilantro, the red having a bite you don’t get in Atlanta. The chips were dry.

Eight different kinds of “honest to God” chile rellenos.

One of the things I was looking forward to from a Texas Tex Mex eatery was a chance to get a real chile relleno. You don’t see very many good ones in Atlanta. And very often, ordering a chile relleno in Atlanta gets you a ring of bell pepper with 3-4 tablespoons of ground meat in the middle (if Atlanta Tex Mex serves a real chile relleno, they will call it a chile poblano). So, to my great pleasure, Casa Milagro served 8 different kinds of chile rellenos.

I ended up ordering the brisket and honchos relleno. My wife had a pair chicken enchiladas with a tomatillo sauce, and my daughter had enchiladas de guiso, cheese enchiladas on which pork guiso, a Mexican pork stew, was poured.

A real chile relleno, stuffed with brisket and mushrooms.

Inside of the relleno.

Enchiladas de guiso, the hit of the meal.

Chicken enchiladas with a tomatillo sauce. Brown rice was the side.

The favorite dish of the meal was the enchiladas de guiso. We all thought it had more flavor than anything else we ate. My relleno was pretty popular as well. The tomatillo sauce on my wife’s enchiladas ran a little more sour than what she was used to, but they ended up being finished as well. All in all, Casa Milagro served a really fine meal. We left happy we had been to Casa Milagro.

The Impalas. Supernatural fans will know what this means ;).

Casa Milagro
1403 East Campbell Road
Richardson, TX 75081
(972) 234-6999

Casa Milagro on Urbanspoon

PS – for those unfamiliar with pork guiso, the Busy Gourmand has a nice article on this Mexican stew.

Yes, we’ve been here, and this restaurant has been reviewed at least twice (see here and here and here). But there have been some changes since. The habanero salsa is gone, the corn cobs are now corn chunks. The menu was subdued, reduced in size because of the holiday. That said, we found a few things to nibble on.

squid quesadilla.

Tacos.

Roasted corn.

Beans and rice.

Little Mexico is showing some interesting lunch specials on their blackboard.

We were able to take advantage of those recently. Shown below is their hot and spicy burrito. Ground beef, beans and rice, along with a spicy salsa mark this lunchtime choice.

The chile relleno lunch special is also a whole pepper, as opposed to a ring of pepper with a little beef poured inside.

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