Jonesboro Road (Route 54) on the stretch that runs between I285 and I75, is quickly becoming another Buford Highway. For those of us stuck on the south side (I do an antique show there) without wanting to brave the highways at 6 p.m., what's around other than chains further down on Mt. Zion Road?
Adventures, that's what! No one else wanted to go anywhere but Carabbas, so I went by myself upon the recommendation of a fellow dealer who is from VietNam and (more importantly) his Southern born and bred wife. Thanh Thanh is in a strip mall, just behind Captain Ds. It may in fact have been the combat zone, and we just didn't know it, but it really was a find food wise.
It was only 6 p.m., and barring a fellow sitting at the bar with a brown bag of Thunderbird wine, a heavy hand on the poker machine and another hand holding a cigarette, the place was empty. As in, rows of cleared dining hall tables with worn painted chairs, a band stage with abandoned instruments, and a Happy Birthday sign and only one staff member out front. I suspect Tranh Tranh heats up later in the evening and rocks till the wee hours of the morning.
Long menu. Thankfully with English translations, such as they were. Really in the mood for something adventuresome here. I checked on the goat. No goat. I asked about the rabbit. Nope. Well, how about the mussels? "You know how to eat?" the waitress (mostly likely the owner's wife) wanted to know. Hmmm. Perhaps not. But we didn't want pho, so we came back to those mussels. Yes.
A Heineken, and out comes a huge platter of green tipped mussels, barbecued (oven roasted actually) with bits of green onion, and chopped peanuts. This may have been the Thai side of the menu -- since a huge bowl offered sticky rice, a bowl of lime wedges, and another bowl of what seemed to be seasoned pepper salt. Did it come with anything else? Yes, the Heineken, apparently the vegetable of the day.
With added hot chili pepper oil, and some fish sauce, it was fabulous. As in really really excellent -- perfectly cooked rice, perfectly done mussels, just enough to be cooked, but just on the fine side of not overcooked. Very fresh as well, with just a touch of brine and a hint of smoke from the broiler. Tab was a reasonable $20 with tax, tip and the beer. A chowish evening indeed!
Next time around, we'll poke around one of the Mexican restaurants on Jonesboro. There are never too many adventures in eating!