Putting this issue together made me hungry. Why? It’s our annual Food and Drink issue of course.

It got me thinking about my own culinary preferences, and for me that begins and ends with Mexican food, which I have an unhealthy lust for. The cheese dip, the salsa, the margarita, all of it, the entire experience.

The addiction started when I was a boy and my parents would take my brothers and me to El Azteca in Sandy Springs. The El Azteca love continued into adulthood as I moved closer intown and checked out the one on Ponce, which was not good and is now called El Ponce (which is Spanish for “The Ponce”). Much better was the one on Peachtree Street near Collier Road, which I frequent to this day. It’s no frills, nothing fancy and will never win a James Beard Award, but it’s a great neighborhood spot and one of the waiters sounds like a character from “Toy Story.”

I have branched out to other Mexican restaurants though, and Nuevo Laredo in West Atlanta is definitely of the city’s bests. Super long lines on weekends but worth the wait.

If closer into Midtown, Senor Patron in the Spire building is always a safe bet. Their cheese dip in particular is among the best if you like it with a kick. Although, I just read that they failed a health inspection on Nov. 1; however they received an “A” on re-inspection later that month.

Mezcalito’s in Grant Park was a somewhat recent find for me. Get the chicken enchiladas with monterey jack cheese, tomatillo and red salsa — you will thank me.

For tacos, Bartaco and Taqueria del Sol get most of the local notice (and for good reason), but venturing out farther has its rewards, as I found out when I went to Tacos el Don in Acworth. If you’re feeling adventurous, you’ll be rewarded when you order up the tongue tacos.

And now I’m hungry again.

But enough about my specific tastes and let’s look at what we have going on in this special issue.

If there was one Atlanta food topic we kept coming back to and kept hearing from people about when brainstorming for this issue, it was food halls. You have your mainstays like Sweet Auburn Curb Market to the new(ish) kids on the block in Krog Street Market and Ponce City Market, and we fill you in on those but also give you a sneak peek at what’s coming — and it’s gonna be good.

Dallas Duncan is always on point with food trends, so she tells you about rolled ice cream, meal kits and more to keep an eye out for as we enter 2018.

And food trucks was another big topic. We got to thinking, what if someone had food truck meals (and snacks) all day, from morning to midnight? That’s what Elizabeth Friedly did, and she survived to tell the tale.

Our food critic Cliff Bostock definitely wasn’t going to be left out of the fun. In this issue, Cliff offers up his picks for the best restaurants in a number of neighborhoods around the city.

And do you have an amateur chef in the house? Check out our page of the hottest kitchenware and appliances to snatch up this season.

It’s the holidays, so peruse the issue and allow yourself to indulge a bit on what stands out for you. Happy hunting!

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