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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Hector Santiago’s burrito stand

photo 1Now, here’s a beautiful thing to see when you’re driving down N. Highland Ave. on a weekend day with your stomach rumbling for lunch:

Chef Hector Santiago – the tapas maestro from Pura Vida Tapas — hand rolling burritos under a tent. Santiago’s Burro-Pollo Burrito Stand opens at noon on Saturdays and Sundays and and continues until the burritos sell out.

The namesake menu item is a fat burrito filled with shreddy, stewy, spicy chicken in red chile ($6). But this is no Chipotle-style tube-o-starch. Santiago begins with a grilled-charred flour tortilla, sheer and bubbly, and fills it with plenty of saucy chicken, a bit of tomatillo salsa, a bit of Mexican crema, and a fresh garnish of paper-thin carrots, radishes, onions and cilantro. If you want chile, Santiago flicks in a few pomegranate-seed sized cobanero chiles that pop between your teeth.

photo 2In addition to the burrito (which Santiago can also make with tofu), he serves a fresh salad topped with a brand of seasoned Latin American tuna (”The best you will every try,” he enthuses.) and a refreshing agua fresca, such as the watermelon-basil he was serving when we visited.

This is one heckuva burrito. Look for it in the parking lot across from Pura Vida.

39 comments Add your comment

Barnacle Bill Bavasi

July 12th, 2010
2:44 pm

Oh my, John, that sounds and look spectacular. Thanks.

Dave

July 12th, 2010
2:52 pm

How long does it take before he runs out? i.e., what time do I need to be there to get one?

top chef fanatic

July 12th, 2010
3:40 pm

I will give it a try….its beats watching top chef new season anyways!

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Sniss

July 12th, 2010
4:17 pm

SP

July 12th, 2010
5:31 pm

I know what I’ll be doing for lunch this Saturday!

Art

July 12th, 2010
7:00 pm

What are the health codes regarding food stands? Can anyone open one anywhere? In the case of Pure Vida, are they covered under their restaurant inspection?

JeffC

July 12th, 2010
7:38 pm

Art, you’re lame. Go to Applebees.

Art

July 12th, 2010
7:57 pm

JeffC, thanks for the constructive criticism. I was actually asking because I was interested… not that any of these laws would keep me from eating there… BTW… Bite Me!

JeffC

July 12th, 2010
8:02 pm

Glad to see you’re willing to man up and take a chance on a rogue burrito, Art. I’ll look for you with the wet wipes on Saturday.

Fred

July 12th, 2010
8:13 pm

Funny how you drew that conclusion JeffyC. I drew a different one from the same post. I thought Art was asking for information because perhaps he was thinking or has been thinking of a similar business venture.

Perhaps JeffyC, Art has a lot more knowledge on serving food to the public than you do. For instance, I can’t cook, sell and deliver food to even my neighbors in my own kitchen because the health laws call for a “commercial kitchen” which is regularly inspected and has to follow state and federal guidelines for commercial kitchens. But if I owned a restaurant that had such a commercial kitchen, I could sell and deliver food, all day long to my neighbors. I would bet that Art was taking the same reasoning only appklying it to a street vendor. Hence his comment, ” In the case of Pure Vida, are they covered under their restaurant inspection?”

Educate yourself a little jeffyC before you start insulting people with intelligence asking relevant questions. Please.

Michael

July 12th, 2010
8:20 pm

Hooray for the foodie mavericks willing to buck Atlanta’s idiotic food service laws–when it means good, clean street food.

Sage of Bluesland

July 12th, 2010
8:21 pm

Is he always on North Highland, or does he make his rounds? That burrito looks DELICIOUS!!!

streetfooddiva

July 12th, 2010
8:54 pm

Looks divine – can’t wait to line up for one! We need more of these inventive street food options – now that we’re finally getting sidewalks in Atlanta… please put one in buckhead and midtown!

JeffC

July 12th, 2010
9:13 pm

Sorry if I offended you, Freddy. If Art was as experienced a chef as Hector, he wouldn’t have to ask about health codes. Seemed like a weenie post to me when we’re reading an article about an exciting new street food alternative that is finally taking hold in Atlanta. If microbes scare you, don’t go there. But from Baja to Bangkok, some of the best food I’ve eaten has been from street vendors. And I’ll venture to say that none of them (or their customers) are worried too much about health codes. If it looks fresh and clean, chances are it is. Heck, unlike most restaurants, you can actually see the food being prepared right in front of you.

wam

July 12th, 2010
9:22 pm

Very good question Art, I was also wondering about that myself.

RAC DOG

July 12th, 2010
9:27 pm

I agree with JeffC. Go look up the codes if you’re so interested. It sounded more like a jab at street vendors than actual interest. I can guarantee you it is cleaner than all these chain restaurants with minimum wage workers you guys frequent.

Tomatocult

July 12th, 2010
9:41 pm

Hector Santiago is an Atlanta treasure, truly an amazing cook, and one heck of a great guy. I guess I’ll be napping every weekend afternoon after getting completely food drunk on his new burritos. Pura Vida baby!

Tomatocult

July 12th, 2010
9:42 pm

Art, you sound like you used to snitch in grade school. tsk tsk.

Anniegetyurgun

July 12th, 2010
9:46 pm

Ate at Pura Vida last night and chatted with Hector about the stand. The time at which the burritos sell-out varies, so best to get there early. This weekend, he ran out by 1 pm one day, but they lasted a bit longer the other day. Haven’t tried one yet, but plan to this coming weekend. BTW, the Cena Latina (Sunday supper) at Pura Vida is also awesome. A generous 3-course meal of salad, choice of several creative and delicious rice-based Latin entrees, choice of 2 family style side dishes, AND dessert, all for only $19. Check out the menu under Weekly Events at http://www.puravidatapas.com/. Hector rules!

Fred

July 12th, 2010
11:31 pm

You didn’t offend me JeffyC. The world is full of asshats like you and if I got offended everytime some insipid asshat went cluelsessly off like you did, I wouldn’t have much time for anything else except being offended. I prefer to practice amused contempt for people with a limited intellect such as yourself.

As to the rest of your mindless post you blithering idiot? Of COURSE if Art were a chef like Hector he wouldn’t be asking that question. He wouldn’t have to He would have his millionaire owned restaurant telling him to go outside in a publicity grab and stand on the street for an hour a day twice a week. Or are you going to tell me that a chef like Hector is making his bills on a taco stand that sells out in an hour WITHOUT heavy subsidization? Actually, given the intellectual quality of the rest of your posts, that’s probably exactly what you believe.

What do I believe? I believe that not only have you NEVER been to either Baja OR Bangkok, but also that you couldn’t find either one on a map.

sansho1

July 12th, 2010
11:35 pm

Local codes pretty much determine whether street food is a viable business option. Hector’s experience as a chef has nothing to do with knowing mobile cart codes — he’d be a pretty poor businessman if he didn’t check them out before opening his new venture, and so I’m sure he did. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the proximity of the cart to his restaurant was a contributing factor in being able to open.

Missgrossie

July 13th, 2010
12:21 am

JeffC is funny

ATLien

July 13th, 2010
7:54 am

Cheers to street food! I’ve been trying to get to Hector’s stand for weeks. I’d love to see King of Pops next to Hector – lunch and a cool dessert sounds good to me.

MissV

July 13th, 2010
8:44 am

I had some of Hector’s posole at the last Atlanta Street Food Coalition Urban Picnic and it was amazing. Those cobenero chiles will gitcha, though (I’m assuming they’re the little pickled chiles?) – yum! So happy this is happening. Those of you expressing interest in affecting local food vending policy and supporting these small businesses, check out the ASFC web site, show up for events, be involved!

Puerquito

July 13th, 2010
11:30 am

I love hoe Fred is attacking someone else’s intellect when he can’t even spell PURA VIDA correctly.
Keep them coming Fred…

JeffC

July 13th, 2010
11:52 am

Thanks Missgrossie. Happy you saw my needling in the spirit it was given.

RAK

July 13th, 2010
1:54 pm

There is no way that Hector’s food stand is to code. But the odds of a City of Atlanta Health Inspector working on a Sat or Sun are slim to none and Hector figures its worth taking a chance. If he got caught he would most likely just get a warning or possibly a small fine the first time.

Klaus the Ham King

July 13th, 2010
4:28 pm

Me loves me some Perquito!

Art

July 13th, 2010
5:44 pm

I appreciate the “backing” guys but me thinks JeffC is probably an OK guy as well… Sure we could go look up a lot of things that we talk about on this blog but it’s always more fun to have John “edu-ma-cate” us in his own indomitable way. Pardon me while I get back to my chapulines.

Pierce Randall

July 13th, 2010
8:24 pm

Obviously what we need here is five gubernatorial candidates to stand next to this guy and bemoan multiculturalism.

snn

July 14th, 2010
10:16 am

Had a burrito from Hector last Saturday and it was delicious! Few tips, there is a community table that you can sit at that maybe holds 5-6 people if you want to eat there. Also make sure to get a pickle, SO GOOD!

1164mgc

July 14th, 2010
10:46 am

Looks cleaner than any fast food resto I’ve been in. I’d eat it in a heartbeat!

JeffC

July 14th, 2010
2:52 pm

Where’s Fred? I miss his rants. Though they say that chronic anger is bad for digestion. He probably shouldn’t be eating any of Hector’s chilies.

Son of Puerquito

July 14th, 2010
5:28 pm

Fred’s dead

Art

July 14th, 2010
7:07 pm

Fred’s moved on to the Ziba article on John’s blog… I guess we’ll never get to the bottom of this street food health issue… I was only asking to see if it was legal to sell eggs fried on my car’s hood top… Man it’s HOTTTT!!!

JeffC

July 15th, 2010
11:23 am

So Fred was right. You are a professional chef!

Stacy

July 27th, 2010
4:32 pm

I had this burrito at Urban Picnic they have monthly at Sweet Auburn Market. I highy suggest this yummy burrito and the outdoor food vendor event – next one is this Fri. 7/30 at Sweet Auburn Market.

tifferson811

September 5th, 2010
2:13 pm

Had these today for the first time. So amazing! We will be back, but with friends!