Omnivore - Tribulation on Buford Highway

Balloons, chicken wings and tacos


Image I wasn't far from Buford Highway Tuesday evening, so I decided to take a spin out that way in search of a taqueria.

The first unfamiliar sign advertising tacos I encountered was in front of this balloon-festooned building, Confeti's Disco, next to a laundromat. The picture really doesn't do the place justice. It reminded me of the decor of a gigantic carnival booth.

Although the street sign advertises tacos, the neon sign in the window advertises buffalo chicken wings. After I parked and loitered in front of the building, scratching my head, I watched half a dozen or more Latina women arrive individually and go inside. The last time I referred to "hot looking" women in a column, I got several angry letters accusing me of misogyny and looksism. So....They were mujeres muy ricas.

After coming to the conclusion that tacos weren't really the deal here, I got back on the road and stopped at Taqueria Michoacan (3328 Buford Hwy., 404-321-0600). I've passed this hole-in- the-wall frequently but have never eaten there. It's a few doors from La Pastorcita, where I have dined a few times.

First warning: It's cash only. I had $10 in my wallet. I was afraid it wouldn't be enough, so I ended up walking a block to find an ATM in a convenience market. I have no idea how to say "ATM" in Spanish, but people seemed to understand when I said "maquina de efectivo."

I soon realized, after taking a table in the empty restaurant, that Michoacan's most interesting dishes — like my favorite chicharrones en salsa verde — are only available weekends. They also prepare roasted borrego, lamb, then. I don't know that I've ever had lamb in a taqueria in Atlanta.

So, I ended up with three of the usual tacos — al pastor, chorizo and carnitas. Como se dice "oy" en español? These were probably the worst tacos I've ever had on Buford Highway. All three of the meats were dry, incredibly so in the case of the al pastor, some of which was actually crunchy. The carnitas, a dish which I believe originated in Michoacan, tasted funky and the chorizo (foreground in picture) was like crumbly over-cooked ground beef. The red and green salsas were thin and almost bland.

Oy dios mio! Next time I'll settle for chicken wings at the disco where, the signs say, you can also play billiards for free, watch football and boxing and, I presume, dance.