Tasty suburbs 

That's what I'm talkin' about

I gotta get me another taste of Tasty China.

Our food editor, Besha Rodell, sounded like some sort of drugged zombie the way she described the Marietta restaurant after she discovered it a couple of months ago:

Mmmm ... I've got to go back there ... Tasty China ... Tasty China.

Jeez, lady. Calm down.

Then, one day, Besha brought back a doggie bag filled with stuff I'd never heard of. They had names such as "spicy deep-fried eggplant" and "pork with garlic mud."

Oh, my God. This food was so good. I didn't find Szechuan dishes this good in ... Szechuan Province.

Places such as Tasty China (see the Food & Drink section) are one of the best things about Atlanta. You can go to a decrepit industrial wasteland, to a disheveled old wreck of a storefront or to some far-flung suburban strip center, and you'll find shops or bars or restaurants or music venues that are just as sublime -- maybe more so, and a lot less expensive -- than the sleek high-end version in a gleaming Midtown office tower.

Until just a few years ago, this was a rather narrow development on the metro Atlanta restaurant landscape. Looking for good ethnic food? Head to Buford Highway. But the trend has spread, along with an ever-more diverse population, to intown, to the southside and all around suburban Atlanta. It's as if the whole metro area is exploding with these little, sparsely spaced phenoms.

I'm certainly one of those intown guys. I want to see more compact walkable neighborhoods with all kinds of cool stuff. I want transit that'll quickly shuttle me between those neighborhoods. And -- despite the retrogrades in state government who want to stuff more traffic down our gullets -- the inner city is getting there.

Meanwhile, a lot of the most interesting stuff that happens in the metro Atlanta area -- especially when it comes to ethnic food -- happens outside the Perimeter. Our selfless duty here at CL is to venture forth, to find places like this, and to eat, drink and party at them. A recent article that our A&E editor, David Lee Simmons, wrote about OTP pizza joints, is a case in point.

But Besha's find ... mmm, Tasty China ... that's what I'm talkin' about.



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