Ethnic cures for the turkey blahs

Yes, yes, I know. Right about now you're seriously looking for some alternatives to turkey (or perhaps just a way to get out of the house). Here's some good ethnic grub, with not a cranberry in sight.

MGR Palace Three stars

1825-14A Rockbridge Road, Stone Mountain. 770-413-1415.

Nobody griddles up dosai better than Nanjunda Ram, the chef-owner of MGR Palace. Ram was the griddle master at beloved Madras Saravana Bhavan in Decatur before it closed. Almost everything here — not just dosai — is worth a taste: curries, saag paneer, thali served with incredible dal curries, rice and raita. But dosai filled with cheese or masala (potatoes and onions) is a pancake worth pondering — and eating. Try rice kheer or, even better, gulab jamun for dessert: fried dough served in sugar syrup and flavored with cardamom. Neither will remind you of pumpkin pie.

Chateaux de Saigon, not rated

4300 Buford Highway, Atlanta. 404-929-0034

Look for an upcoming review in Go Guide of this excellent Vietnamese newcomer. The best dish is banh trang — rice paper wraps that accompany a grilled meat platter married with mounds of fresh mint, Vietnamese cilantro, lettuce, sliced Granny Smith apples and fish sauce for dipping. La lot, tiny rolls of seasoned, minced lamb or beef, are itty-bitty bites of yum.

El Rincon Latino, not rated

5055 Buford Highway, Atlanta. 770-936-8181

Now overtaking the massive space of a former laundromat next door, El Rincon has gotten bigger and better. There is nothing not to like about this dough dive: The smell of masa mixed into dough on the griddle mingling with a little toasting cheese is a harbinger of all good things to come. That includes El Salvadoran pupusas of fat tortillas filled with beans, cheese, ground beef and loroco, an enigmatic herb that tastes a little like asparagus mixed with green beans. They make a mean Mexican torta, too.

Fritti Three stars

311 N. Highland Ave. N.E., Atlanta, 404-880-9559,

Riccardo Ullio's pizza palace in Inman Park serves up Neapolitan slices that don't come close to resembling turkey and dressing — the quattro formaggi coupled with a super-fried plate of calamari fritti may cause immediate dieting pangs to kick in. But not before another slice. ...

Blu Greek Taverna Three stars

26 Mill St., Marietta, 770-429-4096,

Kokinisto, a rich, tomato-y beef stew, will make you forget what turkey is. Here's the place to try all things Greek — flambeed saganaki, triangles of salty feta with fat Kalamata olives drizzled in oil, dolmades, tangy avgolemono soup, moussaka — all in a cavernous tavern off the square in Marietta.

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