Bandeja paisa at Presto Latin Restaurant
Your gluttony will fall in love with this overwhelming platter of protein. A middling arepa is overshadowed by a huge hunk of avocado, a thick curl of fried pork, a thin piece of grilled beef, fat sausage, rice, fried plantain and, of course, a fried egg. Every creamy, greasy, meaty, sweet and salty craving satiated on one plate of food. $11.50 1157 Roswell Road, Marietta. 770-973-1280. www.prestorestaurant.com.
The beef rib at Fox Brother's Bar-B-Q
The Flintstones would be proud of this monstrous, nicely fatty beef short-rib. One poke with your fork and the beefy goodness falls off the bone. Each smoky shred of is a hefty heaven, especially when it's paired with a bowl of creamy and tangy coleslaw. Half rack: $11.94; whole rack: $22.95. 1238 DeKalb Ave. 404-577-4030. www.foxbrosbbq.com.
Chicken leg at Lunacy Black Market
This ain't your mama's chicken leg. It's a cleanly sculpted bone with a fat chunk of meat that's served in its juices, redolent of "cinnamon curry cardamom." You get slightly sweet and musky flavors, a bit peppery, a bit astringent. Like all dishes at this restaurant, it's a small plate and — don't question this — you do not want to share. Less than $4. 231 Mitchell St. 404-736-6164. www.lunacyblackmarket.com.
Chicken mole at Zocalo Taqueria
Mole sauce, to its lovers, is as controversial as barbecue is to its fanatics. All Mexican cooks have their own version. Zocalo's, the owners' own Mexican family recipe, has no equal in town. It's complex with nuts, chiles and countless other ingredients, including a bit of chocolate, and emits a mouth-watering fragrance. Zocalo serves it over a chicken breast. The sauce is frequently available in jars at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market. $15. 187 10th St. 404-249-7576. www.zocalocreativemex.com.
Fesenjan stew at Falafel Café
The term bittersweet is often used to evoke beautiful melancholy, but at Falafel Café there is no sadness to the interplay between bitter walnuts and sweet pomegranate in the fesenjan stew. The dark brown sauce clings to chunks of chicken, and when ladled over the fluffy Persian rice, creates a sticky, sour, nutty mess that'll make you long for it like a lost lover. $7.99. 950 Cobb Parkway. 770-429-8999.
Fried chicken at Busy Bee Café
A crackly and simple breading coats each piece of uncomplicated fried chicken. Not a trace of grease in sight, every juicy, salty bite will fulfill your Southern-fried food dreams. $10.99. 810 Martin Luther King Drive. 404-525-9212. www.thebusybeecafe.com.
Fried chicken at the Colonnade
Some things must be eaten for the same reason certain movies must be seen — because they are classic. The Colonnade has been serving gigantic portions of batter-fried chicken since 1927. It's super-crispy, steaming-hot, juicy and served in a dining room full of gays and greys by servers with major mother complexes. $13. 1879 Cheshire Bridge Road. 404-874-5642. www.colonnadeatl.com.
Ginseng and chicken juk at BonJuk
Bits of chicken and a pungent piece of wild-looking fresh ginger dot a large bowl of mild, smooth rice porridge. The silky texture shimmies down your throat, and has the power to soothe the nastiest of colds with every sip. $10.95. 2645 N. Berkeley Lake Road, Duluth. 770-232-1944. www.bonjukatl.com.
Honey pig at Honey Pig
The sam-gyup-sal, or honey pig, cracks and sizzles on the hubcap-like grill and runs its piggy juices into the kimchee, garlic cloves, and other goodies provided at this upscale Korean barbecue joint. Some of the most tender, flavorful bacon you'll ever have, wrap it up in a cool lettuce leaf, pile on the kimchee, swipe through the salty, savory bean paste, and gobble your porcine self to contentment. $17.95. 3473 Old Norcross Road, Suite 304, Duluth. 770-476-9292. www.honeypigatl.com.
Mac and cheese with pot roast at Carver's Country Kitchen
Go ahead and unbutton your pants now. Fork-tender chunks of salty beef and soft carrots swim in a savory, beefy gravy that would make Gramma proud. A creamy side of Velveeta-rich mac and cheese is the stuff food comas are made of. $11.95. 1118 W. Marietta St. 404-794-4410. www.carverscountrykitchen.com.
Merguez sausage at Social
Honest, delicious food that reflects the Tunisian/French ancestry of Social's owners, this dish presents two merguez sausages, redolent of lamb and spices, over hearty, al dente lentils. Two meaty slices of grilled squash complete the dish, which feels like eating Mama's cooking if Mama were a way more cosmopolitan and interesting cook than she actually is. $19. 12 W. Peachtree St. 404-525-2246. www.socialintown.com.
Pollo dorado salvadoreño at Rincon Latino
Long crunchy curls of golden fried chicken look more like pork rinds than fowl. Pull apart the crunchy bits of chicken with your hands or, better yet, tuck a piece of the chicken into a thick fresh tortilla with a dollop of creamy refried beans for a taco that swings both ways (toward the South and Central America, that is). $9.99. 5055 Buford Highway, Doraville. 770-936-8181.
Rib-eye at Bones
Pure meat nirvana: blood, fat and tang come together in one hulking slab of flesh. Get it with some sweet and fluffy corn pudding and creamed spinach (which isn't on the menu, but they'll make it on request) and you'll feel the virile thrill of the manliest meal in town. $45. 3130 Piedmont Road. 404-237-2663. www.bonesrestaurant.com.
Spare ribs at Daddy D'z BBQ Joynt
A zillion barbecue joints have opened around town, but the spare ribs here remain unforgettable. Lean, tender, spicy and spotted with coveted bark, they have an antidepressant effect on the doleful blues often performed at the restaurant. $14.99 for a half slab. 264 Memorial Drive. 404-222-0206. www.daddydz.com.
Spicy fried chicken at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
If you're going to indulge in fast food, let this be it. The chicken is juicy and fried in a spicy-hot batter that turns into an uncommonly crispy exterior. If you want to avoid grease, stick to breasts and wings. Still, it is recommended that you do anything necessary to avoid learning the calorie content. Various prices. 683 Boulevard. 404-875-7070. www.popeyes.com.
Three little piggies at 4th & Swift
A study in porky contrasts, this revamped version of the restaurant's popular three-pigs dish offers a base of velvety grits, a centerpiece of pork loin, the sweet/sour combo of pickled grapes, bitter greens, and chicharrón "popcorn" that literally snaps, crackles and pops as it arrives in front of you. From salty to crunchy to creamy to bursts of juicy fruit, this is that rare entrée that's creative, accessible and stunningly delicious. 621 North Ave. 678-904-0160. www.4thandswift.com.
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