Friday, January 16, 2009

Missing Tortillas

Somewhat nostalgic for Atlanta the other night, I googled Frijoleros, mentioned here. Frijoleros was really the first place I remember venturing out to when I moved to Atlanta in 1994. It was a Friday night, pretty late, and when we got there, from what I remember, I suspect I had a burrito and we watched what seemed like a pretty good local band. I don't remember ever returning to Frijoleros as it closed fairly soon after that. Anyway, my search for Frijoleros brought me to this. Apparently, some old Tortillas employee had a Tortillas party, complete with food made from the recipes and even at least one of the little toys they used to mark the tables (in the same way that Transmetropolitan uses postcards).
Tortillas was, in my mind, as much the center of the intown Ponce scene as anything, from when I moved to Atlanta until it closed in 2003. The burritos, which I always ordered except on the rare occasions I had a quesadilla, were plump, pinto-bean and cheese filled vehicles for the seemingly amazing green and red salsas, served in user-friendly transparent squirt bottles.
I spent a tremendous amount of time with friends, as well as solo, at Tortillas, and was kinda sad when it was gone. Tortillas is now some stupid make your own salad place. It got me to thinking of some other places I suppose I would miss if I was still there (in no particular order):
1. The Blue Lantern-Mediterranean food by the guys that owned Tortillas (and still own EATS, I think). Next door to Tortillas. Now houses The Local which, I guess, is a decent trade.
2. The Screening Room-A little theater that used to sit on Piedmont across the street that place Andruw used to love. Owned by the Lefont guy, it was one of those places that seemed about as big as your living room. I saw this movie there.
3. The Point-Great place, somewhere between the size of the Caledonia and the 40 Watt, but closer to the Caledonia. Saw the following there: Neutral Milk Hotel, Luna, Mo Tucker Band! (with Sterling Morrison and the drummer from the Violent Femmes), Portastatic, Silver Apples, Polvo, Pavement (two nights in a row, on the residency tour). The Point is now the Clothing Wearhouse. I also miss the Echo Lounge.
4. Pasta da Pulcinella (the original)-I think maybe this place actually took the spot of Frijoleros. Or maybe that's the Indian spot. Whatever. This was my favorite restaurant in Atlanta for about 2-3 years, when it was housed in its original location, up the street from the Cotton Club, a dark dining room with photos crowding the walls. There were only around six items on the menu, all pretty simple pasta dishes, and all worth trying along with the crusty bread and small salads with cheese that seemed to have been chipped straight from the block rather than grated. I never went to the new location near Crescent which, to my knowledge, is still there.
5. Oxford Books-The one at Peachtree Battle with the creaking floors, at least from what I remember.
5. Soto

Trader Vic's, contrary to rumor, is still open (according to Hilary's mom) or it would have easily made the list.

If you loved Tortillas as well, check out this Tortillas myspace appreciation page with actual recipes.

I'm watching Song Remains the Same on VH1 Classic as I write this. They played No Quarter for like 30 minutes...I think. Now I'm at that scene with Robert Plant riding the horse, during the equally long Song Remains the Same. If all the side shit made any sense this movie wouldn't be as good.


Blogger deuce deuce said...

i forget that atlanta used to have a decent music scene in the late 90s early 00s with the point, the echo lounge, and the star bar not suckin'. now if you want to see a band of note that isn't local you have to hope they get big enough to charge 20 bucks at the variety, 25 at the taberbacle, or 30 at the fox theater. there's nowhere for the regional type bands to play in atlanta.

i do have one theory for why this happened. these clubs that brought in mid-range bands went out of style with the CD. the record labels can't afford to send the bands on these tours, the bands stay closer to home, and the atlanta music fans are stuck hoping the band gets big enough to play the fox or said fan moves to a city with a better local music scene. what might help is if the earl, who have delved into the world of not suckin', didn't book 80% crap.

so i'm trying to picture this tortillas you speak of, mcsquared. was it on ponce near the local? is the crappy salad place you refer to doc green's?

1/17/2009 4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, doc greens. it was there. i guess i was kinda unfair with doc greens as i've actually never been there. just pissed as it took tortillas spot.

1/17/2009 5:24 PM  
Blogger deuce deuce said...

i've been there. it's sucky. and pricey.

1/17/2009 5:49 PM  
Blogger kenniebloggins said...

I think The Earl is Aiiight.

1/17/2009 6:25 PM  
Blogger il Gatto Grande said...

Yeah, I'd have to say you're offbase with the Earl. Even Drunken Unicorn and Red Light Cafe have the kind of shows you're describing.

1/18/2009 1:52 PM  
Blogger deuce deuce said...

i may have been a bit harsh. i like the earl, but it's still a restaurant that has a room in the back for music. i think that's great for local bands, but not a "legit" rock club like the point or the echo lounge. they've filled the void the echo lounge left behind, but I wish there was room or enough interest for a club like the caledonia or the 40 watt in atlanta.

as for the drunken unicorn, the band i go to see usually plays for 30 minutes, then a string of 4 shitty bands plays for the next two hours. it's also half rock club, half dance club. as for the red light (or eddie's attic for that matter), they seem to go primarily after the baby boomer crowd and the people who just looove singer songwriters. then again, i'll keep my eyes out for shows at these places. or maybe i should make it a new year's resolution not to bitch so much. i for one can't wait for a.c. newman in march at the Earl! hopefully, he'll have a new album out by then.

1/19/2009 11:17 AM  
Blogger hillary said...

OMG. I want to go to a Tortillas party. I was practically raised there. Please send my mom an email about this.

1/21/2009 11:19 AM  

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