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Friday, August 24, 2007

The way it used to be

Posted By on Fri, Aug 24, 2007 at 8:54 PM


Few Atlanta restaurants have the following that Jalisco (2337 Peachtree Road, 404-233-9244) does. The chairs and walls there are covered with little gold plaques commemorating customers' special occasions.

I used to eat there with friends in the early '80s, and at the time it was the best Tex-Mex food in the city -- and the closest thing to authentic Mexican, too, for that matter. A couple of friends still eat there regularly and have urged me repeatedly to join them. I've declined. Something told me I wouldn't care for it after all these years, and there's little I like less than dissing a meal everyone else is enjoying.

But being in the area today, I decided to drop in for lunch alone. Oy. The man at the table in front of me prayed aloud for what seemed like an eternity when his food arrived. When my own lunch special -- a taco, a chile relleno and refried beans -- hit the table, I felt like praying, too.

I haven't eaten a hard-shell taco in years, so that was a shock itself to see. And I can't stand lettuce on tacos. But under the lettuce was ground beef. When I was asked if I wanted chicken or beef, it didn't cross my mind I would be getting a taco that replicated the Old El Paso style. The chile relleno wasn't too bad, though miniature, and the refried beans, which occupied most of the plate, were slathered with more cheese. In fact, the whole plate seemed to be bubbling with lava-hot cheese. I could feel the calories mounting exponentially with each bite.

Oh well, as a nostalgia trip to remember some old friends, it was worth the surreally anachronistic taco. And the service was great.

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