Chow, Baby: Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Feed the Love

Aquiver with excitement, Chow, Baby donned its “Dixie House Café: Home of the Big Buns” t-shirt and headed to the grand opening of the third and newest Dixie House Café. It’s the spawn of two popular home-cooking spots on Belknap, Theresa’s Dixie House between Beach and Riverside and what Chow, Baby likes to call (Dale’s) Dixie House at NE 28th St — Dale being Theresa Simon’s husband, presumably a full partner in the operation, and thus deserving to have his name in bold too. The new place, which should be called Bruce’s Dixie House just because Chow, Baby likes that name, takes over the former Too Good Restaurant (which, sorry for the easy joke, was none too good) space on Lancaster a few yards east of I-820. It’s open for breakfast and lunch Monday-Saturday, and dinner on Friday nights.

Chow, Baby was a little too excited, and arrived at Dixie House two days before it opened. No problem; a wonderful breakfast was had at Trellis Rose, just down Lancaster. This is such a nice place that when co-owner Debbie Mosley espied Chow, Baby’s t-shirt and assumed it was a member of the new competition, she offered a generous “Welcome to the neighborhood.” Chow, Baby loves this town.

A weekend later, Chow, Baby dug into its no-copyright-problem-here “Adkins” diet-plate special of juicy grilled pork chops, bacon-flecked green beans, and buttered corn ($6.25). Excellent. And though the menu clearly says not to share the Hungry Man Plate (two meats, two veggies, $8.25), Chow, Baby’s own hungry man didn’t miss a few bites snagged from his baked chicken and chopped steak with bacon and cheese. Both excellent. Homemade pies — excellent. Some correspondents disagree, but Chow, Baby has never had a bad meal at any Dixie House.

The service, however, is suffering from too much business too soon. The next morning, Chow, Baby arrived in time for breakfast (6:30 to 11am Mon-Fri; until 2pm on Sat), but by the time it was seated and a waitress flagged, it was too late. Not that Chow, Baby minds starting its day with excellent chicken-fried steak (like every plate on the menu, it’s $6.25 with two veggies), but it does mind fetch-it-yourself silverware. And it’s still waiting for its water. Luckily, two charming gentlemen at the next table — Bill and Eloy, according to the tags on their Duncan Disposal work shirts — kept Chow, Baby entertained with amusing disposal anecdotes and (probably unconsciously) singing along with Roy Orbison on the piped-in KLUV. Chow, Baby loves this town.

El Bueno

The hole-in-the-wall of the week is tiny Gershom’s “El Café,” 5155 River Oaks Blvd., a breakfast-and-lunch diner featuring cheap, filling, fresh-made Tex-Mex especials like enchiladas, tacos, tamales, and flautas. Chow, Baby hadn’t realized how gigante the el gigante breakfast burrito ($2.30) would be and could eat only half of it, having already filled up on two misnamed “el junior” tacos ($2.25 for both), as crisp and juicy as tacos can be. Chow, Baby’s sister declared her real-poblano chile relleno ($5.25) a winner. All that plus friendly, mi casa es su casa service makes this spot a keeper.

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