Partners II Pizza (COVID 19 Edition), Newnan, Georgia, April 8, 2020

Here we are in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic.  We’re all at home and getting tired of eating our own cooking.  Our local restaurants are hurting for lack of business because their dining rooms have been ordered closed.  Some have closed down and others are trying to ride it out as best they can by offering take out, curbside pickup or even free DoorDash delivery.

Many folks in our community are actively trying to help our local restaurants by ordering out, sometimes once or twice more than they would usually eat out in a given week…and we’re among them.  With that in mind I thought it might be a good idea to try to step up my blog game just a bit, try to post a bit more often and hopefully steer a little extra business to some of our local restaurants.  I’m also going to try to do something else that I don’t usually do…post links to the restaurants’ websites so readers won’t have to search them out for themselves.

We had taken a package of pork chops out of the freezer to thaw for supper tonight but when suppertime finally rolled around, we weren’t quite ready for pork chops.  ConnieLou suggested ordering a pizza for delivery.  Unfortunately, our delivery options here are pretty thin and Papa John’s and Marco’s weren’t too appealing.  Fortunately, Newnan has quite a few pizza options if you don’t mind getting out to go pick it up.  There’s Dominos, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s Little Caesar’s, and Hungry Howies if you want OK chain pizza or you can kick it up a couple of notches and get good pizza at Fabiano’s, Johnny’s, LaPomas, Partners II or even Positano’s, all of which have locations within 5 or 6 miles of home.  Want to go a little farther?  Try Oz Pizza in Fairburn or Mellow Mushroom in Peachtree City.

After a shorter than usual deliberation we decided to give Partners II a call.  I hate to admit, we’re kinda set in our ways when it comes to pizza.  ConnieLou and I usually like pepperoni and ground beef (or meatball) and Jenna likes margherita or sometimes veggie.  ConnieLou placed the order and I headed out to go pick it up.

As expected, when I walked in the dining room was empty.  The chairs were upside down on the tables, a very strange sight at 6:30 on a week night.  The pizza was ready when I got there.  I paid, left a little nicer than usual tip, picked up our pies, headed out the door, and even made it home before the pizza had time to get cold…which probably wouldn’t have happened on a regular Wednesday night with normal traffic volume.

We each loaded up our plate, grabbed our beverage of choice, and sat down at the table to enjoy our pizza.

So how did Partners II Pizza fare on the Thumbs Scale?  We gave them an easy 6 out of a possible six.  We’ve seen quite a few pizza restaurants come and go in our area in the past thirty years.  Given the quality of Partners pizza, it’s no huge surprise that they’ve stayed around several years.

Blue Fin Sushi & Grill, Rome, Georgia, March 14, 2020

I intended to write this entry earlier in the week but let’s just say that this past week and the week before have been a little, well…weird.  Life has come to a screeching halt for many and the rest of us are trying to trudge forward, doing our best not to touch anything and stay at least six feet away from anyone but the closest of family, and locate a supply of toilet paper.  Think of a mash-up of mad Max and The Walking Dead.  OK, maybe not quite that bad.  Such is the world of COVID-19…but in time, this too shall pass.

Despite the coronavirus uproar, Jenna and I had decided to head up to Rome, Georgia to work on a cluster of Earthcaches and virtual caches for my The Great Georgia Earthcache Quest.  OK, let’s be clear about one thing, if we thought that there would be a significant chance that we might be exposed we would not have gone.   Fortunately for us, Earthcaches and virtual caches involve visiting a location which, more often than not, is not heavily trafficked so the potential for encounters with potential  infected people would be quite low.

Prior to heading up to Rome, I got in touch with friend and fellow Young Harris College alum, Chris Ozment, who lives near Rome for suggestions for lunch destination, preferably sushi, Mexican food or maybe Chinese.  Chris’ number one suggestion:  Blue Fin Sushi & Grill.

By lunchtime we’d checked three off the seven Quest caches off our list along with a bonus traditional cache.  We decided that it was time to take a break for lunch and headed to Blue Fin.  Surprisingly, it was only about a mile from our third Quest cache and on the way to the fourth.

Things were a little slow for lunchtime but this wasn’t exactly unexpected all things considered.  We were seated right away and perused the menu while we waited on our drinks.  Both of us decided order the two-roll Lunch Special which came with miso soup and salad with ginger sauce.  Jenna selected the Rocking Roll, a jumbo roll with mixed raw fish, crab, avocado and shrimp, and a Spicy Tuna Roll which consisted of spicy tuna, scallions and avocado.  I ordered the Rocking Roll and a Super Crunch Roll which consisted of tempura batter and masago topped with shrimp.

As is typical, our soup and salad came out first and we were just finishing with them when our rolls arrived.  We both agreed that the soup was a bit better than that we’ve had at most other sushi restaurants and that the ginger dressing for the salad was much better.  Chris mentioned that he’s addicted to their ginger dressing and that one can buy it by the pint or quart.  What can I say about the rolls?  They were good.  In fact, they were damn good.

So how did Blue Fin Sushi & Grill fare on the Thumbs Scale?  Definitely 4 thumbs up out of a possible 4.  Will definitely be a place to remember when we happen to be in the Rome area.  Thanks for the tip Chris!

St. George Island, Florida Wrap Up – June 9, 2019

Sadly, our summer vacation has come to an end and we’re back in the real world.  A week on St. George Island just wasn’t enough.  Not enough time to do all of the playing in the ocean, chillin’ on the beach, going fishing and visiting new restaurants that we all wanted to do.  Two weeks would have been better.  Maybe I should start a GoFundMe for that extra week next year.

I’m going to do something a little different with this entry.  Rather than writing up a separate entry for each restaurant that we tried, I’m going to roll them all into one post…kinda like I did with our trip to Aruba a few years back.  I’ll list out what we ordered at each restaurant but I’m not going into detail about who had what.  Of course I’ll include the usual Thumbs rating and a few general comments about each restaurant.

Before I dig into the restaurant reviews, let me say a thing or two about St. George Island itself.  It may have been the most relaxing vacation destination that I’ve ever been to.  If you’re into big entertainment, think mini golf, go carts, slingshot rides, arcades and the like, you might want to stick with Panama City.  If you like wall to wall multi-story condos, traffic and lots of people, stick with PC, Destin, Orange Beach and Gulf Shores.  If you like beach houses, small mom & pop motels, really fresh seafood and very little traffic…give St. George Island a look.  This was our first trip to the Island, but it definitely won’t be our last.

Now, on to the restaurant reviews that you’ve been waiting for.  We cooked in the beach house we had rented for the week to save some cash but we did manage to try a few of the restaurants on the island or in Eastpoint across the bay.  Here’s the run-down…

The Beach Pit

The Beach Pit is the barbeque joint on the island.  We didn’t go for barbeque but I did swing over and pick up some biscuits one morning for breakfast.

Our order included:  an egg and cheese biscuit, bacon biscuits and a sausage bagel.  While we gave The Beach Pit a healthy 8 thumbs up out of a possible 10, the score might be a bit generous.  I was told that the biscuits were all very good but were mostly cold.  Why?  Because when I got back to the beach house I discovered that we were short a bacon biscuit and I ended up having to go back to pick up the missing biscuit.  Now I’d read in a few reviews that the service at the Beach Pit could be a bit slow at times but I thought “how long could it possibly take to make up one bacon biscuit?”  The answer to that question was about 15 minutes.  And the sausage bagel…pretty sad.  I’m not sure exactly how the sausage patties were cooked but it definitely wasn’t on a frying pan or a griddle.

Weber’s Little Donut Shop

Weber’s now has a second location!  Some of you may have read my previous entry about their other location on Cape San Blas.  We loved their donuts and glazed croissants so of course we had to give the new SGI location a try…and we had to go back a second time just to be sure.

Our selections incuded:  glazed, nekkid (no glaze), strawberry, coconut and sprinkles.  Thumbs score:  easy, 10 out of a possible 10.  Yeah, they were just as good as the CSB location.

The Blue Parrot, SGI

The Blue Parrot overlooks the beach just west of the St. George Lighthouse and reminded me of Pineapple Willy’s in PCB or Toucan’s in Mexico Beach…well, it was in Mexico Beach before hurricane Michael tore it apart last October.  But, never fear, word is Toucan’s will be back and better than ever.

OK, back to the Blue Parrot…our orders included:  fried grouper sandwich with fries, grilled yellowfin tuna steak with baked potato and salad, crab cakes and fries and a shrimp po-boy, fries and a cup of gumbo.   We gave the Blue Parrot 7 thumbs up out of a possible 10.  In general, I think everyone was fairly pleased with their meal though there were comments that the grouper sandwich, crab cakes and shrimp po-boy were nothing special and earned half-thumb deductions.  The Blue Parrot also got a half-thumb deduction from me for utilizing frozen fries instead of cutting them fresh.

The Pesky Pelican, Eastpoint

We visited the Pesky Pelican on the recommendation of a friend who had eaten there last fall, just before the hurricane Michael.  Like many other restaurants on the Gulf coast between Mexico Beach and Carabelle, the Pesky Pelican was heavily damaged by the storm.  Fortunately they were able to relocate/rebuild within just a few months.

Our orders included:  Pesky Shrimp (think fried shrimp coated in Yum Yum Sauce from your favorite hibachi restaurant…but with a little bit of a kick) with fries, hush puppies and baked beans, the flounder filet basket with fries, cole slaw and hush puppies and a Philly cheesesteak with fries.  How many thumbs?  How about an easy 10 out of a possible 10 and throw in some toes.  BTW, if you haven’t already guessed, the fries were fresh cut and they were good!

BJ’s Pizza

One of two pizza joints on the island.  ConnieLou called in our order and I went to pick it up and they had just come out of the oven when I got there.

Our order included:  a buffalo chicken pizza, a ground beef and pepperoni pizza and one with spinach and artichokes.  BJ’s earned a respectable 9.5 thumbs out of a possible 10.  To me, the buffalo chicken pizza was the best of the bunch.

Aunt Ebby’s Ice Cream

What’s a beach vacation without going out for ice cream a time or two or three or…  Aunt Ebby’s was within walking distance of our beach house…a potentially dangerous situation.  We somehow managed to limit ourselves to just two trips.

With 16 flavors of ice cream available, our selections included:  pecan pralines and cream, birthday cake, cookie dough, happy tracks, vanilla with caramel sauce, cookies and cream and butter pecan.  Of course Aunt Ebby’s earned 10 thumbs out of a possible 10.  Seriously, someone would have to screw their ice cream up pretty bad to get a deduct, right?  BTW, it was really good.

Last but not least, Lucky Goat Coffee Company.   A coffee shop in a 6×8 trailer in front of The Pig (the Piggly Wiggly Express).  Coffee, espresso, macchiatos and lattes.  Without a lot of detail, 10 thumbs up out of a possible 10 and sure beat the Folgers we were making.

The Shack, Atlanta, Georgia, December 15, 2018

Having a barbeque joint on your jobsite can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your perspective and where you park your truck…more about that later  Over the past year or so, I’ve I worked on a pair of jobsites that were across the street from each other in southwest Atlanta.  One of the properties is occupied, in part, by little barbeque joint called The Shack.

Back in October we started a new phase of work on the property across the street from The Shack.  Work progressed normally for most of the week but on Thursday we began to smell smoke…charcoal smoke mixed with cooking meat…barbeque smoke.  My friend Jim, who I’ve mentioned in a few previous entries, was working with me that day and by lunchtime we knew we had to search out the source of the smoke.  It didn’t take us long to discover that the smoke was coming from The Shack.  Our lunch destination was quickly decided and we headed across the street to check it out.

As we placed our orders we learned that The Shack is a three-man operation that’s open Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  The guys begin getting the grill/smoker going around 7:00 in the morning and have pork, beef brisket and chicken ready by lunchtime.  Jim ordered the large brisket plate which came with the meat, white bread, two sides and a canned drink.  For sides he chose the spicy slaw and baked beans.  I decided on the large brisket plate with baked beans and yellow rice.  We both asked for our sauce on the side.

Since that day I managed to visit the shack two more times while working on the property, one of which I took a couple of pulled pork plates home for me and ConnieLou to have for supper.  How was it?  The brisket and pork were tender, moist, smoky and quite good.  The sides, while not exciting, were also quite good.

How did The Shack fare on the Thumbs Scale?  Me, Jim and ConnieLou all gave it 2 out of 2 thumbs for 6 out of a possible 6.  I know I’m going to have more work coming up on the two sites in the future.  I just hope that I can schedule it on a Thursday or Friday.

So how can having a barbeque joint on your jobsite be a bad thing?  Well, it’s like this…the week we started working on the property where The Shack is located I parked my truck close to the smoker.  It really didn’t register that I had parked downwind of the smoker until it was time to go home and when I got in the truck I realized that it now smelled like the intoxicating smoke that we had smelled the week before from across the street.  That’s not that bad by itself but I got hungry every time I got back in the truck for the next couple of weeks until the truck aired out bit aroma faded away.

The Brickyard Pub & BBQ, Lewiston, New York, September 29, 2018

ConnieLou and I took a little long weekend and headed to Niagara Falls, New York to celebrate our 30th anniversary.  Neither of us had been before and we both thought it would be a lot of fun…and it was.  We saw the falls from just about every imaginable angle except from a helicopter.  As always when we take a trip, we try to eat well and to try places that we don’t have at home, meaning we typically avoid the big chains.  This trip was no exception.  In general, we didn’t do so well at finding exceptional places to eat this trip with one noted exception…The Brickyard Pub & BBQ in Lewiston, New York.

A couple of months ago ConnieLou’s niece Julie, her husband Dan and their kids Noah and Abigail all moved to Buffalo, New York.  Dan is from Buffalo and had a good job opportunity pop up and they decided to relocate.  Since Niagara Falls is only half an hour or so from Buffalo, we let Julie and Dan know that we were going to be in the area and asked if they wanted to bring the kids up and join us for a day and they did.

After riding the Maid of the Mist and seeing the falls from below and seeing some sights our thoughts began to turn toward supper.  When Dan mentioned that he knew a good barbeque place just up the road a piece in Lewiston I told him “I’m listening…”  When he went on to say that it was also a microbrewery and they always has a good selection of house-brewed beer and other locally brewed beer all I could say was “OK, you got me, let’s go” and we all piled into Julie’s car and headed up the road.

Once at the restaurant, Dan dropped us off, parked the car and met us inside.  We ordered drinks and headed to the patio to wait for our table.  About a beer and a half later our table was ready and we sat down to check out the menu.  Now I have to admit, I’m a little leery about northern barbeque.  Having lived all my life in the South, I’ve eaten some fine pig and the only way to make fine pig is to cook it low and slow.  Their menu gave me some hope yet caused me a bit of worry at the same time.  The menu stated “Be prepared to experience the area’s best wood-fired cooking using the highest quality ingredients available.  Our specialty meats are smoked low and slow, burning only locally grown fruit woods for up to 16 hours in our authentic pit smoker.  Only this traditional process and deliver the perfect, off-the-bone tender BBQ you have been searching for.”  CLASSIC SOUTHERN BBQ. Classic Southern BBQ, eh?  Yeah, OK, we’ll see.

Me, ConnieLou and Julie all ordered the pulled pork and Brunswick stew.  I also had a side of red beans and rice and ConnieLou and Julie ordered mac and cheese.  Dan ordered the meatloaf melt and corn and the kids had corn dogs and mac and cheese.  I waited with guarded optimism…

Our orders arrived and we all dug in.  The meat was moist, tender and nicely smoky.  It came already sauced but the sauce was good so I couldn’t complain.  I was a tad concerned when I noticed a couple of pieces of carrot and celery in my stew but the stew was also quite good so I just pushed those to the side and ate the rest of my stew.  And the red beans and rice were pretty darn good too.  Everyone else’s meals disappeared and I heard no complaints.

So how did The Brickyard Pub & BBQ fare on the Thumbs Scale?  The adults each gave it two thumbs-up for a total of eight and by the way Noah and Abigail’s corn dogs and mac and cheese disappeared we assumed that they would each give it two thumbs-up as well for a total of twelve out of a possible twelve.  I think Abigail might have given an extra thumb or two just for the ice cream if she were able.

Southern Bistro, Atlanta, Georgia, September 15, 2018

OK, so I’m a little late in getting this one written and published.

Hang with me.

I’m going to spare you most of the details about how we ended up at the Southern Bistro.  Just a little back story should do.  We’d made plans for my Young Harris College roommate, Mike and his (much) better half, Michelle, to come up from Savannah for a YHC alumni event with the Braves at Sun Trust Park.  Another YHC friend, Linda, and her hubs Barry were planning to meet us all for dinner and the alumni event and baseball game.  However, due to a series of events that are a bit more convoluted than I care to describe, we ended up at the Southern Bistro with Linda and Barry and our friends Charlene and Leon, who also are YHC alumni.  Let’s just say that from the time we started planning this shindig to the time we actually made it to the restaurant, we’d ditched Plan A, bypassed Plans B, C and D and were on Plan E…or maybe F.  No matter, when we get any portion of our YHC crowd together we always manage to have a good time.

OK, back to the Southern Bistro…

Rather than tell who had what, I’ll just give a quick rundown of the dishes that we ordered:


  • Blue Cheese Potato Chips with applewood Bacon, green onion, cherry tomato and blue cheese fondue.

Entrees included:

  • Grilled Chicken Sandwich with applewood bacon, Swiss cheese, Georgia lettuces, tomato and truffle honey mustard on an egg bun;
  • Ahi Tuna Cobb Salad with avocado, applewood bacon, cherry tomato, green beans, feta cheese, hard boiled egg and green goddess dressing;
  • Springer Mountain Farms Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Bistro mac and cheese, green beans, cucumber dill salad and chicken gravy; and
  • Gulf Shrimp and Grits with andouille sausage, caramelized onion and tomato pan gravy.

If you’ve read this blog for a year or two you can probably guess who ordered the shrimp and grits.

So how was it?  I asked for comments and Thumbs Scale scores from our group a few days after our visit.  Here are the general comments I received:

  • Blue Cheese Potato Chips: “Meh”;
  • Grilled Chicken Sandwich: Two “nothing specials” and a “really good” (OK, I had a bite and I’ll give it a really good too);
  • Ahi Tuna Cobb Salad: “the tuna was overcooked, definitely not seared and rare inside”; and
  • Gulf Shrimp and Grits: not your typical creamy shrimp and grits but very good nonetheless.

How did the Southern Bistro fare on the Thumbs Scale?  How about 9 thumbs up out of a possible 12.  All in all, a fairly respectable score.  Not great but not bad either.  Call it a little above average.  I also asked our crowd if they would be willing to give the Southern Bistro another visit and got two ‘probably nots’, two ‘probablys’ and two “sure, ours was pretty good.”  As always, your mileage may vary…

Tasty Rib Shack, Madras, Georgia, August 25, 2018

The name is a little misleading because the Tasty Rib Shack isn’t a shack at all but is actually a trailer that’s set up like a food truck.  The owner sets up in a vacant gravel parking lot on Highway 29 just north of Madras, Georgia, opens around lunchtime and stays open until he sells out or business slacks off enough that he decides that it’s time to close for the day.  We see him there every Saturday and I believe we’ve seen him there some Sundays.

We’ve intended to stop by the Tasty Rib Shack and give it a try since we first noticed it in the parking lot of a former local fruit and vegetable stand a few months back.  As I was leaving the house yesterday morning to go run a few errands I told ConnieLou to think about what she wanted for lunch and I’d stop and pick something up on my way home.  As I was waiting for my mechanic to finish up the oil change and turn signal bulb replacement on my truck I remembered that it was Saturday and the Tasty Rib Shack should be in its usual spot and open so I sent ConnieLou a text and suggested that we give it a try.

I found a copy of the menu that someone had posted to our subdivision’s Facebook page and forwarded it to ConnieLou.  The Tasty Rib Shack has a surprisingly good selection for a food truck/trailer.  There’s ribs, chopped pork, chicken, burgers, dogs, wings and Brunswick stew among a few other items.

Since the turn signal replacement was taking a while to complete and ConnieLou had some errands to run herself she suggested that she run on down and pick up some barbeque sandwiches and some Brunswick stew and if she had to leave before I got home she’d put mine in the microwave to keep warm until I got back.  As it turned out I got home a few minutes before she did so we were able to sit down and have lunch together.

I tried the stew first.  As I opened the container I could see that the consistency was just the way I like my stew, thick and not soupy and everything was cooked down fine with no large chunks of anything, especially tomatoes.  I was happy to discover that it tasted as good as it looked and I didn’t feel the need to add a splash of barbeque sauce or hot sauce to it as I often do.  ConnieLou said it was a little on the spicy side for her but I noticed that it disappeared anyway.  Next the barbeque sandwiches.  Each sandwich came with a generous portion of meat on a bun.  The meat was moist and nicely smoky.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on the type of wood or charcoal that they might have used but it was quite tasty just the same.  Now for their barbeque sauce.  The sauce was a little different and almost looked more like a rib glaze than typical barbeque sauce.  It was a little sweet, a little tangy and had just a little bit of a kick to it.  I normally don’t care for sweet sauces but this one worked well for me.

So how did the Tasty Rib Shack fare on the Thumbs Scale.  Definitely 4 out of a possible four…and for only $15 for three chopped pork sandwiches and three sides of stew, it’s a pretty good value too.  I hope he stays set up on that little patch of gravel, we might just become regulars.

Kookaburra Coffee, St. Augustine Beach, August 19, 2018

One last entry from our most recent trip to St. Augustine.

Coffee anyone?  How about a bite of breakfast?

Kookaburra Coffee is a coffee shop/eatery that Jenna has been telling us about for the past couple of years.  OK, before anyone gets overly worried, this entry isn’t just about their coffee.  Not that their coffee isn’t good because it is, in fact, its darn good.  This entry is about their Aussie pies.

Let back up a bit.  What is Kookaburra Coffee?  Well, here’s the description from their website:  “We are an Aussie-American espresso bar and pie shop based in Saint Augustine, Florida. We pride ourselves on serving masterfully crafted products that are ethically sourced and expertly roasted.  We blend our love of coffee with a passion for serving our community, all with a smile.”  Currently, there are four locations in and around St. Augustine, including a location in St. Augustine Beach near the condo we’d rented.

So what is an Aussie pie?  Try to imagine a small chicken pot pie with a flaky pastry crust and a savory filling.  Breakfast pies, or Brekkie pies as they call them have fillings with some combination of eggs, cheese, regular or sweet potatoes and some sort of meat.  There are also a vegetarian and a couple of meatless options.  Lunch pies are similar but a bit more on the savory end of the spectrum with chicken, beef and/or veggies.  If you want a breakfast pie, get there early because once they run out, they’re gone for the day.  I suspect the same thing happens during lunch.

We sent Jenna out to pick up coffee and Brekkie pies to bring back to the condo the first morning of our stay.  Jenna had a Greenie Pie (spinach, egg and cheddar filling) and a mocha nut iced latte.  ConnieLou ordered the Rasher & Egg Pie (bacon, egg and cheddar filling) and a regular mocha nut latte and me, I had the Corker (sausage, egg and cheddar filling) and a PC (caramel and vanilla) latte.  Yes, I had a latte.  I’m not generally a froo-froo coffee drinker but I do enjoy a change from my regular coffee with cream and sugar now and then.

Again, like a store-bought chicken pot pie, an Aussie pie is served in a little aluminum pie tin.  One could probably take the pie out of the tin and eat it by hand but we decided to be all proper and everything and opted to use forks and knives.  Maybe eating the pie by hand is the proper way.  Who knows, no one explained the rules to us.

So how did Kookaburra Coffee fare on the Thumbs Scale.  We gave ‘em 6 out of a possible 6.  After all that Jenna has told us, that wasn’t too unexpected and the pies really were good.  Yes, we’ll be back, even if just for a coffee.

Burrito Works Taco Shop, St. Augustine Beach, Florida, August 20, 2018

Jenna has been telling us about a little place on St. George Street in downtown St. Augustine called the Taco Shop.  Before we headed down to move Jenna into her dorm at Flagler College last week I told ConnieLou that we needed to give it a try while we were in town.  When I mentioned on FB that we were in St. Augustine, my buddy Caden B. messaged me and told me that we absolutely had to try the Taco Shop while we were there.  That sealed the deal.

This time around we decided to head down a few days early to have some beach time before move-in and stay an extra day to recover before heading home so we rented a condo a few miles from the college down A1A in St. Augustine Beach.  As it turned out, the condo complex we rented in was about half a mile from another Burrito Works Taco Shop location.  Dangerously close really.  I did a little looking around online and discovered that there are actually four Burrito Works Taco Shops scattered out along the beach between downtown St. Augustine and Flagler Beach.

I read several reviews and nearly all said the Taco Shop’s standout offering is the ‘Mexican UFO’.  A Mexican UFO is simply a flat, crunchy corn tortilla, topped with fillings, topped with another flat, crunchy corn tortilla, all wrapped up in a soft flour tortilla and cooked on a flat griddle to melt the cheese in the filling and crisp up the flour tortilla.  Think of it like a Crunchwrap Supreme from Taco Bell but better…a LOT better.  The fillings include meat (beef, chicken, pork, shrimp or grilled fish) or veggie options with rice and black beans.  The Mexican UFO, along with most of their other menu options, can be prepared with The Works which includes cheese, sour cream, cilantro, lettuce, onion, salsa and lime,  or Baja Style which includes onion, cilantro, lime cabbage and spicy white sauce.

We all decided to give the Mexican UFO a try.  ConnieLou ordered hers with chicken and The Works, Jenna went with shrimp, Baja Style and I decided on pork, Baja Style.  After placing our orders we picked out a picnic table in the shade in their outdoor seating area (there is no indoor seating), got our drinks and waited on our orders.  We didn’t have long to wait until it was time to dig in…and out table got quiet.

So how did the Burrito Works Taco Shop fare on the Thumbs Scale?  We gave them an easy 6 out of a possible 6.  The Mexican UFOs were quite good…soft, crunchy, cheesy, tasty and messy!  We’ll definitely be back.  But…now we have a dilemma…should we go to the Burrito Works Taco Shop or Mojo Tacos, just a mile or so up A1A?  Decisions, decisions…maybe we’ll just have to go to both.


El Taquito, Newnan, Georgia, July 2, 2018

Recently I got a tip on a Mexican restaurant in Newnan that I wasn’t previously aware of.  At first, I thought it was a new place but as I began to read some of the reviews on Yelp I noticed that some of the reviews were from 2015.  How have I managed not to notice this place for three years?!  How have I managed to drive past its location dozens of times yet never noticed the bright yellow sign on the end of the building?  The only reason that I can think of is that El Taquito is located inside the BP truck stop on Highway 29 at the Moreland exit off of I-85 and when I’ve driven by I just haven’t paid the building much attention.  Still, one would think that I would have heard something about it during those three years.  Nope, not a word…until a month or so ago.

ConnieLou and I have been trying to get down there to give it a try for the past couple of weeks but things finally came together last night and we paid El Taquito visit on our way home from work.  When we walked into the truck stop building it took us a few extra seconds to find the place.  The phrase ‘hole in the wall restaurant’ took on a more literal meaning.  There was a service counter and kitchen, a drink cooler, a condiment bar and a small seating area all tucked into the corner of the truck stop building.

If you’ve read many entries to this blog then you already know that I’m a fan of ‘hole in the wall’ restaurants.  The food is generally very good and almost always more authentic than the ‘shiny’ place next to the newest or biggest local shopping center.  I’ve also noticed that, with restaurants of various ethnicities, if the apparent ethnicity of the majority of the clientele appears to be similar to that of the type of food being served, you’re likely in for a treat…and we were.

We stepped up to the counter and placed our orders.  ConnieLou ordered a chicken taco salad which consisted seasoned chicken, lettuce, cheese and refried beans in a crispy shell and I ordered the platilla de asada (Asada Plate) which consisted of carne asada, rice, refried beans and a small salad (lettuce and diced tomatoes topped with a little guacamole) with three warm tortillas on the side.  We both ordered a Coke which we soon discovered wasn’t a fountain drink or locally bottled Coca-Cola but Coca-Cola bottled in Mexico…you know, the kind made with real sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup.

We each received a small tray of fresh nachos…yeah, fresh, as in made in-house, today, not Tostitos…to munch on with some fresh salsa while we waited on our food to arrive.  Ultimately, we both found our food and quite tasty and definitely more authentic than most of the other La and El Somethings in town.

So how did El Taquito fare on the Thumbs Scale?  Try an easy four out of a possible four thumbs up.  Everything was quite tasty from the nachos to the salsas to the carne asada to the beans and rice.  Have I mentioned authentic already?  If you just don’t think you can handle eating at a truck stop then you can give El Taquito a pass…but, if you’re looking for darn good Mexican food without all the trappings of one of the shinier La or El Somethings, give ‘em a try…you’ll probably leave happy that you did.