Chow, Baby: Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Pour Me Another

Chow, Baby’s personal ninth circle of hell is a cigar-smoky bar crammed with intensely macho guys — actually, that part of it is fine. It’s when they’re intensely shouting at five tv sets blaring the Cowboys-Lions game that Chow, Baby wishes it were anywhere, anywhere but at the Pour House.

The Pour House began a nice Sunday brunch (11am-2pm) on their balcony overlooking Fifth Street back in May. The brunch went undercover for most of the summer, when most people’s idea of a good time is not eating hot food over downtown exhaust in 100-degree heat. But now, with the cooler weather, what could be more pleasant than sitting outside, munching on Hawaiian French toast or huevos rancheros, with a speaker inches from your head bellowing Dodge Ram-a-thon ads between downs?

Chow, Baby was the lone balcony diner, but was not abandoned. Server Jason spent more time outside than in, first showing Chow, Baby how to work the self-serve Bloody Mary bar — the bartender fills a glass halfway with vodka, then you choose from a dozen mixers on a side table. Chow, Baby went with the Zing Zang ’cause the Lea & Perrins is already in it, and by saving a step you get to start drinking that much sooner. Jason then delivered scrumptious eggs Benedict — two perfectly poached eggs atop homemade biscuits and grilled ham, smothered with enough eggy-buttery hollandaise sauce to stop the clock ($6.95). For dessert, the Cowboys destroyed the Lions 38-7 — sweet, indeed.

Pho Your Own Good

Chow, Baby has had this song going through its head. To the tune of the Alice theme: “There’s a new pho in town, and it’s tasting good! / There’s a fresh noodle soup in the neiiiiighborhood / There’s some beef broth in town, with a brand new style ... .” It goes on for several verses. Pho Pasteur has been around for years, and it’s not in Chow, Baby’s neighborhood — it’s at 100 W. Pioneer Pkwy. at Center St. — but it is fresh and good, and it’s worth the drive.

Pho Pasteur is new to Chow, Baby, who noticed the name while “filing” away the reader write-ins for Best Vietnamese and saw it mentioned a couple of times. It’s in a neat brick strip mall that houses a couple of other good-smelling Asian restaurants (note to self) and the Hong Phat (tee hee) Oriental Supermarket. The room is a soothing, clean mint green; on the walls hang beautiful paintings of luscious oversize fruit (props to the artist, Thai Nguyen). Service is earnest and friendly.

The banana-leaf-wrapped flour cakes with shrimp and pork ($5.75) from the “Traditional Huê Cuisine” section of the menu had a very interesting taste; unfortunately, it’s a taste Chow, Baby has yet to acquire. Otherwise, Pho Pasteur offers the standard, less-adventurous vermicelli or rice dishes with tofu or chicken or pork or shrimp. And oh, the pho (3.95-$5.95): delicious beef noodle soup with choice of a dozen meats, from steak for the amateurs to tripe for the experts. It put a song in Chow, Baby’s heart.

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