Of smoke, tequila, burritos and Jamaica

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We headed to dinner Thursday night at the new Jamaican restaurant in Little Five Points, Stir It Up (photo, right). Unfortunately, we arrived just after 9 p.m., the restaurant's closing time on weekdays. So, I'll say more about it in a future post or column.

After being turned away, we walked to El Myr, the neighboring taqueria and bar. It's been quite a long time since I visited this place and the main reason why hit me in the face as I entered. Smoke. Clouds of smoke that require washing your clothes when you get home.

If you're a nonsmoker you have uncomfortable choices about where to eat at El Myr. Will you eat in the smoke-filled bar area or will you sit on the hot smoke-free outdoor patio? We opted for the narrow, air-conditioned space off the bar area, on the way to the patio, but people at a neighboring table lit up as soon as we sat down.

Dinner was okay — a shrimp quesadilla for me and a shrimp burrito for Wayne. The shrimp were frankly lumps of tasteless texture and the best bites of my quesadilla were shrimp-free. Wayne's burrito had everything imaginable in it besides the shrimp and he poured green sauce over ever bite. "It's not Tortillas," he said....

Speaking of which, Bell Street Burritos, the reincarnation of Tortillas at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, is hosting another local TV crew today, Friday. The occasion is its citation by USA Today a couple of weeks back. They will be open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday....

Escorpion Tequila Bar and Cantina, Riccardo Ullio's new restaurant at 800 Peachtree Street, will open next Thursday in the space that was most recently Fifth Street Cafe and Eno by Zaza before that. Expect inexpensive fare....

NEW TREND: Messy bathrooms. I'm encountering them frequently. What's that all about? Staff cutbacks? Street peeps sponge-bathing themselves? No kidding, I've seen the latter occurring in several inexpensive restaurants lately. The homeless population seems to be spreading out from the center city — a depressing sign of the not-so-recovering economy.

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