Mexico Has Come to Atlanta – Georgia, USA

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“I’m not sure if I like this,” my lively father-in-law commented to the waitress. “This soup’s just not fun.” I had no idea that soup ought to be “fun", but if you meet my father-in-law for a meal, you will find out what he means. You see, my father-in-law is a veteran caterer who has worked in the food business for more than half of his life. His quest for “culinary fun” occurred in a bowl of Black Bean Soup at Mexico City Gourmet in Decatur, Georgia.

“What’s wrong with the soup, sir?” the waitress queried.

“It just has no taste,” my father-in-law said, with a slight frown.

“Can you bring over more sour cream, chives and onions?” he requested.

About 15 minutes later, the goods arrived and my father-in-law reinvented Mexico City Gourmet Restaurant's Black Bean Soup. Since he nibbles on food most of the day, my father-in-law typically orders a small item like this soup at dinnertime. Thus, it was the only item that he ordered. While he was satisfied with his additions, he walked away a bit disappointed.

My wife and I felt otherwise. We have been patronizing this fine Mexican establishment for over 15 years. The three of us agreed that everything, from the Chicken Flautas to Tilapia Veracruz, is a hit. Indeed, service is slower on certain weeknights, but the wait for dishes like the vegetarian Georgia Burrito is worth it. If you are famished like I was that night, the Chicken Enchiladas delivers. The combination of the shredded chicken with melted cheese and green sauce is beyond mouth-watering.

On previous visits, I devoured the Huevos Rancheros. I haven’t had them like this since my visit to Ventura, California in 2005. Huevos Rancheros consist of two fried eggs over a corn tortilla, covered with a tasty ranchero sauce. The refried beans and rice that come with so many other dishes give you the energy boost that you might be looking for. Tacos de Carne Asada (grilled steak in a tortilla), Camarones Carolina (sautéed shrimp with poblano peppers) and Seafood Tacos round out the scores of great dishes served at Mexico City Gourmet.

If you are looking for kid-friendly fare, order Cheese Quesadillas. My child practically inhaled hers. As with any Mexican joint, chips and salsa are free-flowing. Keep your consumption of these delectable treats in check because you might not have enough room for your meal.

Mexico City Gourmet serves fine, authentic Mexican food for a low price. It is located in a weather-beaten shopping center at the corner of North Decatur and Clairmont roads in Decatur. The restaurant is minutes from I-85, via the Clairmont road exit.

After you hit Mexico City, check out the nearby Wuxtry Records which contains loads of record, CDs and even cassette tapes. Even if you cannot think of food after Mexico City, it is hard to pass up a visit to Rainbow Natural Foods in this shopping center. Loads of fresh veggies and organic treats always make me want to stock my pantry for the week. There is also a great little café in the back of the store.

Decatur is a short drive from downtown Atlanta. It is the home of famous musicians, including lead singer Michael Stipe of the band R.E.M. and Indigo Girls.

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