El Tesoro – Atlanta, GA

A couple of weeks ago, I heard about the tacos and tortillas at El Tesoro and planned on making a trip.  Today, with a journey to Monroe in mind, we stopped by for breakfast.  Located on Arkwright Place, just parallel to Memorial Drive and just east of Moreland, we arrived toward the end of breakfast service.

In the middle of a neighborhood, they’ve been open for just a few months.       In talking with the owner, he’s trying to get the neighborhood to realize that in addition to being a taqueria, they are also a coffee shop.  The decor is very bright, with a few tables inside and picnic tables and umbrellas on the patio.

We both chose breakfast burros.  My beloved chose the Frijolero – made with refried black beans, scrambled egg, queso cotija and pico de gallo, then garnished with a bit of cilantro and a radish slice.

I chose the chorizo con papas – chorizo, seared sweet & white potatoes, onion, egg and queso cotija.  We’ve become huge fans, in our casa, of queso cotija in the last six months – it ends up on everything.  You can see the cross-section of my burro, below.  This was one of the freshest breakfast sandwiches I’ve had in years, regardless of where it came from.  A beautiful mix of flavors in a fresh, soft tortilla.

Breakfast was so good, in fact, as we were heading east, my wife said, “You know, if we leave Monroe by 12:30 or so, we can be back in time for lunch…”

The decision was made.  We finished shopping and headed back down town, arriving shortly before they closed for lunch.  As we were working our way through the line to order, the young lady behind the counter said, “Weren’t you here earlier?  Today?”  Busted.  We went with a full table of food (I used the restaurant’s descriptions to help explain the dishes below –

a mulita: two corn tortillas griddled with filling between, rajas and cheese inside and outside and all over the place.

one of the daily specials, esquites: grilled Mexican sweet corn with a creamy, cheesy lime and chili sauce.

a carne asada burro made with my choice of flour tortillas (white or wheat) and beans (refried black or ranchero), rice, queso chihuahua, and cilantro. That is then stuffed, rolled and griddled.

fresh tostones: mashed, fried plantains, served with fresh guacamole,

and some frijoles: refried black beans, and arroz Mexicano: rice prepared in their house adobo (a stock composed of paprika, oregano, salt, garlic, and vinegar).

Needless to say, this was a table full of food.  I was actually afraid that it wouldn’t fit on the table. 

From an enjoyment standpoint, the mulita was at the top.  Think of it as an inside-out quesadilla, with refried beans spread on top (like Nutella spread on crepes).  The burrito was very good, but I think I enjoyed the breakfast version better.  And the esquites was excellent – fresh, sweet and spicy.

While we were eating, we struck up a conversation with the two ladies next to us.  They were in town for the Shaky Knees Festival.  One was a culture writer for Country Living.  The other was the Bitter Southerner (this is a great blog and newsletter (and store and more..) about the changing South).  Check it out, if you haven’t.  As a Southern man I appreciate it, immensely.  While I don’t agree with everything they publish, I do love the writing, agree with the viewpoint more often than I don’t and it always makes me think.  We talked about food, of course.  But we focused on those mulitas.

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