Chow, Baby: Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Mr. Excitement!

Chow, Baby had such an exciting week! First stop: the late, coulda-been-great Fort Worth Rail Market. Actually that was boring, as the slow, painful, lingering death of the market is finally complete. The last food purveyor has left the gorgeous, historic building. Chow, Baby would like to say “I told you so.” Among other problems (e.g., sucky management), the market’s too far from central downtown to draw foot traffic, so people weren’t really aware of it, so it never got enough customers coming in, to the point where some merchants couldn’t pay their rent. Hence the Rail Market has been bleeding money since it opened in 2002, so what does the overseeing board cut? The marketing/advertising budget! Hellooo! — except that Chow, Baby never actually said so (in print). So never mind.
But Chow, Baby was looking for excitement, adventure, thrills! Places with enthusiasm built right into their names! Next stop: the former Rail Market tenant Hot Damn, Tamales! at its now-sole location, 713 W. Magnolia Av. Actually that was pretty dreary too, at first; Hot Damn, Tamales! is not at the hot end of Magnolia, and during the whole lunch hour the only other sorta-customer was a guy begging a quarter for the bus. The counter worker was in a mood that Chow, Baby initially mistook for surly but soon recognized as “smart person who’s bored to a stupor.” (“So, been busy?” Snort, eye-roll, emphatic “No.”) The tamale plate ($7), however, was exhilarating! For its gourmet threesome, Chow, Baby chose cilantro-tinged black bean & Oaxaca cheese; zingy ancho pork; and exotic wild mushroom & goat cheese! Great flavor in a light, moist, no-lard masa! With sides of hearty black beans and perfect rice, it was a very exciting meal!
Next exciting stop: Saltimbocca’s! (5900 W. I-20 at Little Rd., Arlington). The ambiance at Saltimbocca’s! is ever so dark-wood-and-classical-music (no quarter-bummers here!), but again, Chow, Baby’s server at first seemed bored. Fortunately he had gorgeous, shocking blue eyes!, a thrill that held Chow, Baby over until the arrival of the stuffed mushrooms ($5.95). Dang, those were a kick in the pants! Four largish caps crammed with sausage and spinach in a pond of invigorating three-cheese sauce that made Chow, Baby very grateful for the quarter loaf of freshmade foccacia (free!)! Chicken Saltimbocca ($13.95) was a nicely grilled chicken breast topped with salty prosciutto, salty mozzarella, and “our unique” salty Saltimbocca sauce. It was salty! And then Tony smiled! That was almost too stimulating!
Last exciting stop: the charming bistro Sapristi! (2418 Forest Park Blvd.), where the always-exciting Jennifer helped Chow, Baby select the most exciting meal ever! The arousing Chef Carlos was on fire that night (as usual), sparking Chow, Baby with curry-spiked tomato-lobster soup ($4) and a ecstasy-inducing pork tenderloin ($17) stuffed with bourbon-soaked dried fruits and caramelized shallots! Sometimes Chow, Baby wishes it didn’t dine at a different place for every meal; it would be so electrifying to enjoy Sapristi!’s wonderful food, its unpretentiously arty ambiance, the great wines, the French jazz, and the crush-worthy Jennifer every Tuesday-Saturday dinner and Sunday brunch! True, Chow, Baby’s heart probably couldn’t take the excitement, not to mention the cholesterol, of daily steak au poivre! With crackling frites on the side! But it’d be fun to try.

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