Chow, Baby: Wednesday, September 3, 2003
Letís Not Even Mention Calorie-Counting

Chow, Baby may be child-free, but it still has to pay taxes that support public schools. Plus it has a vested interest in the educational quality of the future restaurant workers of America. So when sweetie suggested hitting a Parentsí Open House before dinner, Chow, Baby entrusted its new Tivo with the last of the Monk marathon and headed back to high school.

Not having grown up in Texas, Chow, Baby was at first charmed that teachers these days see themselves not as ivory-tower pedants but rather as coaches, whose main job is cheering students on while hyping them to do their best. Thatís even how they introduced themselves, as Coach So-and-So. It took Chow, Baby until sixth period to realize that teaching math and English and history is, in fact, these peopleís secondary jobs. Can this be good? Chow, Baby mulled that question as its secondhand family settled in at Wings21, a fairly new dine-in/carry-out spot at 5340 Rufe Snow, exactly one mile away from school (though nobody at the table knew how many feet that was). Prices range from 10 pieces for $3.95 to 150 pieces for $55.45; is each piece cheaper if you buy more? Nobody knew. Wings21 is named for its 21 yummy varieties of chicken-wing flavors: nacho cheese, salsa, bulgoki (Korean barbecue), honey mustard, and 19 others. Do you see the problem here? Wings21 has 23 flavors on its menu. Maybe Chow, Baby is over-identifying with Tony Shalhoubís obsessive-compulsive detective, but thatís just disturbing.

Chow, Baby would like to see some IPC coach (thatís Integrated Physics and Chemistry, taught to kids who donít know how many feet are in a mile) explain how Tonyís eggplant parmigiana manages to violate all the laws of thermodynamics. Tonyís Pizza and Pasta is next to the Albertsonís at Rufe Snow and Mid-Cities, and according to the testimonials from principals and PTA heads framed on its walls, this neat little Italian place does much more for schools than Chow, Babyís taxes do. But Chow, Babyís concerns are gustatory: How is it that the delightful-smelling dish ($4.50) is still too hot to eat 20 minutes after being set on the table? Chow, Baby had to fill the cooling time with stolen bites of lemony-tangy chicken piccata ($6.95) and mushroom-loaded chicken cacciatore ($6.95). Homemade bread and tiramisu are winners. Once again, Chow, Baby got to leave the tip; nobody else at the table could calculate it.

Itís probably not fair to blame coaches for what, at least in the case of Chow, Babyís pre-owned family, is undoubtedly a genetic problem. Certainly thereís nothing wrong with secondary jobs; Chow, Baby thinks of watching Monk as its moonlighting gig, and itís pretty darn good at that. Doesnít matter that nobody actually pays Chow, Baby to watch tv, because once that Tivo is mentioned in print, friends, itís tax-deductible. Which is likely why our schools canít afford real teachers.

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