Archive - November, 2011

Tex’s Tacos Food Truck

Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday.

Everyday 100,000 people commute to Alpharetta to occupy our cubicles. And it may be hard to believe but not all of them go out for lunch each day. It may seem like 100,000 cars are on Windward at noon (it’s actually more like 90,000). Thousands of poor cubicle dwellers suffer through a quick but mediocre lunch at an office cafeteria or they brown bag it.

This is the great untapped market for lunch in Alpharetta. And it is this niche that food trucks could fill in Alpharetta. So you might understand why I was thrilled to learn of Tex’s Tacos recent visit to Alpharetta. A visit from a food truck almost never happens in Alpharetta. Atlanta’s food truck scene is exploding with popularity and growth and I want our little burb to get a piece of the action! I hyped Tex’s visit on twitter as best I could and was one of the first to arrive during Tuesday’s lunch hour.

Tex’s Tacos describe themselves as “Nueva Texicana”, a fresh yet traditional take on Tex-Mex cuisine. Their menu features pork, chicken and beef offered in both tacos and quesadillas.  I first tried their pastor de puerco taco. This is roast pork with chilies served with pineapples, cilantro and grilled onions. The pork was tender and flavorful. The chilies and cilantro provided a nice contrast to the sweet pineapple. I devoured this taco.

Next came the carne asada taco, which felt a little more traditional to me. The menu says the beef is “citrus-splashed” but I didn’t taste it. It wasn’t quite as tender as I would have liked, but was alright. The smear of guacamole was creamy and delicious but wasn’t enough to save this taco. I enjoyed the pork far more.

Their menu also has a barbecue pork taco made with Q from LowCounty BBQ. This is a catering outfit with roots in this area. I regret not trying it.

As for side items… don’t miss their lime fries. This is a simple but generous helping of perfectly cooked french fries. They are covered in a mix of lime zest, sugar and salt that is strangely addictive. They also use this on their chips and salsa. It’s the kind of flavor that you either love or hate. I loved it.

I hope this review encourages Tex’s Tacos and other food trucks to give Alpharetta a try. These guys pulled right up to the front door of a five story cubicle farm and did a pretty good business. When I left I counted 25 people in line waiting to order. We’re hungry for food trucks up here in Alpharetta! Please make that drive up GA-400 for us!
Tex's Tacos (mobile truck) on Urbanspoon

David Belle Isle – A Candidate Against Density?

It was an email titled “Small Town, Big Priorities” that caught my eye. At first it looked like just another email blast from a mayoral candidate. But this piece from David Belle Isle jumped out for an unexpected reason – density. Belle Isle identified “holding back density” as priority #2, right up there with issues like traffic and the downtown plan. I didn’t expect any of the candidates for mayor to make an issue of density. My curiosity was peaked.

Belle Isle’s opponents, Jim Paine and Doug DeRito, have pretty clear voting records. It would be hard for either of them to support lower density after voting for projects like Prospect Park, Windward Mill and Peridot (* – see my comment). Belle Isle can stand on the curious fact that he’s not voted on any of these large projects. It may be more of a positive coincidence that this happened, but it warranted additional discussion. I’m grateful that Mr. Belle Isle agreed to sit down for an interview last week to hash through some nitty gritty details.

…and it’s hard to deep dive on these issues without talking about the particulars of past projects. Let’s go through each of Alpharetta’s big high-density projects. Belle Isle wasn’t on council when Prospect Park was initially approved. However, he was around for the project’s final zoning changes in 2008. These changes saw density increases but not with the residential component of the doomed project.

Windward Mill happened squarely during his tenure on council. Belle Isle recused himself from the vote because of associations with a financier behind the project. In our meeting he expressed the most concern for this project primarily due to its distance from GA-400 and the effect it will have on traffic.

Belle Isle resigned his council seat prior to the Peridot vote this year. He was non-committal when I asked him if he would have supported the project.

I asked for examples of times when he opposed or spoke against projects due to density concerns. Apart from a few apartment complexes, he couldn’t provide examples.

Belle Isle said he would support a condo limit in Alpharetta, similar to what is in place for apartments. Yet as it turns out he was on Council when the multi-family designation was weakened, allowing condos to slip into the single-family side of the equation. This change was a seminal moment in Alpharetta’s recent history, paving the way for many more condos.

So how should density-minded voters choose in the mayor’s race? Belle Isle supports less density and has never voted for Alpharetta’s largest projects. However, he’s not on record speaking against high-density projects even though he’s had the opportunity to do so.  It’s a tough call.

I took a vow not to endorse candidates in this election. For the mayor’s race, that has been an easy promise to fulfill. I can honestly say I don’t know who would make the best mayor for Alpharetta. I don’t envy the choice Alpharetta voters have to make on Tuesday.

Here are a few more questions I posed to Belle Isle:

S. Lee Guy: If I had asked you 18 months ago, would you rather be a state senator or mayor, how would you have answered?
David Belle Isle: I would say mayor. I would rather be one of seven than one of several hundred.
SLG: Then why did you run for state senate?
DBI: I was growing frustrated with the way things were going in Atlanta and wanted to do something about it.

SLG: Alpharetta’s elections are determined by a plurality, not a majority. Should that be changed?
DBI: Ask me on November 9th.

Number of the Month – Mattress Stores in Alpharetta

Around the first of the month I publish the number of the month, a random bit of local trivia.

Thirteen

Eat your heart out, Princess and the Pea. This is the number of specialty mattress stores in Alpharetta and Milton. Mattress Giant, Mattress Firm, Original Mattress Factory… They even outnumber Starbucks in our little suburb. I considered only stores that exclusively sold mattresses, omitting places like Rooms-to-go and Macy’s. How these guys stay in business, I’ll never know.

Photo Credit: Jacob.rosen3 (public domain)

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