Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Quick Restaurant Review - Bone Garden Cantina

One of globe hopping pals, good ole Slim, is back in town and since she's only in town for another two weeks before she's off to South America, we decided before things get crazy with the holiday weekend to hookup, sit down eat and catch up. Its been so long since I've had a regular properly cultured dining partner it took me a minute to figure out which way to go. So remembering she's a pescatarian, I picked a Mexican spot that included veggie only and fish tacos, which is how we ended up at the Bone Garden Cantina.   

The BGC is off the beaten path to say the least. It's a little bar on the backside of a little office/loft type development on in an industrial access road in a developing part of town. I circled the parking lot twice looking for it, before finally getting out of the car and venturing on foot into the building the sign called the "Lumberyard." As we say in the country, if it had been a snake it would have bitten me.

The inside is pure kitsch. Think of those restaurants that try to create a homey atmosphere by putting
unrelated vintage stuff on the walls, but think if it all had a single theme and that theme was the
Mexican holiday known as the Day of the Dead. It's dancing skeletons, skulls, devils and a few other things that just washed over my eyes. Even weirder, the longer I sat in there the more the whole thing seemed to come together, as though the designer was counting on you having to immerse yourself to get the feel of it. I had a Mexican Coke and just soaked up the room for a while.
And this was just looking over my shoulder from the bar...
Slim finally arrived and we ordered, her getting the cheese quesadilla and a vegetarian taco called the Flor de Jamaica, that came with flowers. She explained that living in the Bahamas she'd actually played with fish so now she couldn't eat those either. I wished her well with that. I had the a Carne Adobo taco and a Chorizo quesadilla. Now, just so you don't get it confused, this is real Mexican food, not the Americanized versions they serve most places. If that's what you want, the menu gives directions to the nearest Taco Bell and wishes you well. This food is excellent. The sauce had a tang to it, with no sweetness, and neither the taco or the quesadilla looked like any other I'd eaten before in Atlanta. Slim who is originally from California and knows Mexican food from people who don't even speak English was so impressed that she had to get some to-go that could take home for her mother.
My Carne Adobo Taco
Now to catch up. I had only spoken to Slim by phone for the past few years as she'd dipped off to the Middle East to teach. Then last year she moved to the Bahamas where she was possibly looking at a position as a school principal, and where I was looking into vacationing because I wasn't planning on paying for a hotel or food. In any case she cut that short because she is leaving her husband, which was the topic for most of our meal. We briefly discussed some other things: future plans like maybe Peru or China for her, my job search, the book I'm working on, my film project, etc., but we kept coming back to how unhappy she was with her situation. And how long it had been that way. And how happy she was that she was ending it. So the meal had a theme so to speak.

The Bone Garden Cantina is a cool little spot, as we ended up just sitting there at the bar chatting long after the lunch crowd had cleared out. The waitstaff seems attentive without hovering, the food is all priced individually so you can experiment without breaking your wallet, and when you go ask the waitress if you can hang on to your menu because the back is just shy of hilarious. I'll be back, sipping on a Mexican coke and letting the vibe just get me.    

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