Sun, 05/18/08 6:26 AM
It sounds like what is called a "tlayuda" hereabouts, which the Atlanta food writers say is an Oaxacan treat. SFAIK there is one place in the Atlanta area that serves these things which are like quesadillas on steroids only better. The place that serves them makes the AJC "top 50: lists for foodies mostly because of this item.
I've pasted a review...
La Oaxaquena Taqueria
6738 Tara Blvd., Jonesboro
By MERIDITH FORD
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 09/20/2007
The smell of bus exhaust reminds me of tortillas, and tortillas remind me of my grandmother's enchiladas. When I was young she and my grandfather would travel from Texas by bus to visit us in Atlanta. And every trip brought corn tortillas — something that wasn't as available as it is now.
We would make a night of making cheese and chili enchiladas, something far more Tex-Mex than Mexican than we knew at the time, plus my favorite — warm tortillas smeared with butter and salt, then rolled and popped into my mouth by the dozen.
I don't know if these dinners were the seed that would bear fruit of the adoration in my adulthood of Mexican food, but there is no other cuisine, save Spanish, that I love more.
The flavor of masa, formed into the various constructions the different regions in Mexico offer — tortillas, sopes, huaraches, gorditas and giant tlayudas — is irresistible, a musky, corn-flavored mass that seems to hold within it an entire culture's history.
And no place in the area holds more of the mystery that is masa than La Oaxaquena Taqueria in Jonesboro, where tlayudas (say cli-U-duhs) reign and mole is monarchy. Invariably when people ask me what my favorite restaurant in the area is, this itty bitty Oaxacan hole-in-the-wall is my answer.
The tlayudas are things of great, messy beauty — a thin, griddled, oversized tortilla smothered in shredded lettuce, gobs of beans and spicy Mexican chorizo, fresh, ripe tomatoes, avocado, and string cheese from Oaxaca called quesillo. Tlayudas are Oaxacan, but rarely are they served at the table as they are here; on the streets of Oaxaca they are antojitos — street food — and the street is a good place to eat them, since they are the kind of yummy chaos that needs to get all over your face, drip down your arm and generally make mayhem of lunch.
Huaraches, or "sandal," so-called because of its shoe-sole shape, are perhaps even better than the tlayudas — made thick, with a rimmed edge, and crispy towards the edge but soft and doughy in the center. Smothered with chicken, shredded lettuce and queso fresco, they are easier to eat than their larger counterpart, but end up making just as much of a mess.
The restaurant offers a little salsa stand at the front, and it's worth the trip — salsa verde is fresh with tomatillo flavor that gives way to garlic, onion and hot chile spice. Smoky chipotle offers lots of peppery flavor, but with a little less heat. And oh — there are always roasted, oven-charred jalapenos, green and red. In between Solo cups of salsa are servings of quince and lime flavored Jello. To quench the fire on your tongue? Perhaps. Whatever works. A giant Styrofoam cup of a melon-flavored drink the amiable staff will offer the minute you sit down works well, too. It tastes like liquid cantaloupe.
Need more masa? Try a gordita topped with shredded, barbecued goat meat. But save room for one of the kitchen's incredible tamales — here made with shreds of chicken in masa and rich mole wrapped in banana leaves, or chicken with masa and spicy salsa rioja wrapped in a corn husk. Either way, they are the best tamales in the area.
The staff speaks a little English, but between broken Spanish, broken English and lots of smiling and pointing, there's rarely a problem with getting what you want.
And what I want is that Proustian memory — made tangible — that comes with the smell of bus fumes. La Oaxaquena Taqueria serves it up with a mess of masa and a smile.