Omnivore - Grazing at three familiar spots

I've grazed in some inexpensive, mainly good restaurants lately.

Doing my usual scouting of Buford Highway for interesting new restaurants, I developed a sudden craving for the chile relleno burrito at El Taco Veloz (5084 Buford Highway, 770-936-9094). This taco stand (which has spawned sister operations) has been open at least 10 years and still serves the best chile relleno in the city. It's breaded and full of white cheese. The restaurant folds a couple of them into a big tortilla for the burrito or you can have one as a taco.

I had not visited the place in a few years and, frankly, the restaurant (above) could use some cosmetic work. It's pretty run down. But there's also good news: It is now serving plates with beans and rice and tortas, too.

I hit MetroFresh (Midtown Promenade, 931 Monroe Drive, 404-724-0151) one evening with my friend Gregg, who had noticed earlier in the day that the healthy cafe would be serving shrimp and grits. It turned out to be the only dish I've ever sampled there that I wouldn't eat again.

First, both of us rolled our eyes when the $15 dish was set on the table. It was a small portion, particularly annoying since I'd recently eaten a huge serving of the same dish at Wisteria for a few dollars more. But even worse, the shrimp were in a barbecue sauce that was sweeter than ketchup. Indeed, it tasted like a bottled sauce. Oh well. A side dish of asparagus in sesame oil was great.

My friend Michael and I hit Agnes and Muriel's (1514 Monroe Drive, 404-885-1000) for lunch recently. As with Taco Veloz, it had been several years since I visited this proudly retro diner. And like Taco Veloz, it is in need of some redecorating. The Jetson decor has become retro retro-chic after 11 years.

Lunch was good, though. I ordered a burger and Michael ordered a crab cake sandwich. My side of (three) fried green tomato slices hit the spot. Michael went for the squash casserole.

Great service, as it's always been.

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