Chow, Baby: Wednesday, April 24, 2003
Squeeze Tomatoes, Not Pennies!

Hi Bob, Fort Worth Weekly’s beloved accountant, just gave Chow, Baby another quarterly expense-account chewing-out, this time over research costs. Completely discounting the argument that a newspaper’s credibility rests on getting its facts straight, the suit insisted that Chow, Baby didn’t need to fly to the Left Coast last weekend to determine whether Ronnie’s sourdough bread is as good as the original San Francisco treat. True, Chow, Baby could have called — “Hi, San Francisco? Yeah, how’s your crust?” — but you know Hi Bob would just have bitched about the phone bill.

Another sore spot was Chow, Baby’s frequent yet entirely justifiable trips to New Orleans. Yes, Chow, Baby went just a month ago, to verify that Shrimper’s “remoulade sauce” was not the real thing. But Chow, Baby really needs to go again, soon, to refresh its French-doughnut memory before Crescent City Beignets opens in the Chapel Hill shopping center next month. Of course as long as it’s in town, Chow, Baby might as well visit its entire family. But does Hi Bob appreciate the lack of hotel bills? No, he crabs about the speeding tickets. It’s called making deadline, Bob. It’s a good thing.

Now Chow, Baby is under orders to eat more meals at home — not just home as in Tarrant County, but in its own house. Fine. Chow, Baby’s first move in its gourmet-food shopping binge was a U-turn back to Ronnie’s, 2701 S. Hulen St., to snag more wonderful fresh-baked bread (ciabatta, baguette, sourdough, challah, $2-$4). Ronnie’s, the gourmet food/wine/cigar emporium for those who think Central Market doesn’t charge enough, offers $10 cherry jam to spread on said bread and $40 olive oil to dip it in. Chow, Baby passed up jam, oil, chocolate popcorn, cheeses from all over the world, caviar, Cornish hens, smoked salmon, and pate, and indulged in a $6 bag of fancy-shaped pasta, a $7.75 two-pack of Reata tamales, and a not-too-mayonnaisey chicken walnut salad ($7, but it was big).

A quick stop, as Chow, Baby was on Hulen anyway, at Cost Plus World Market netted arugula artichoke pesto ($4.99), a nice dry salami au poivre ($4.49), kiwi gummy candy ($2.99), and a bottle of sugar-free raspberry Torani Italian syrup ($5.59). This was shaping up to be one fabulous home-dining experience. And Chow, Baby had saved the best stop for last: George’s Specialty Foods, 4424 White Settlement Rd., has reopened under its original Phiripes Family ownership. In between bites of its tide-me-over-until-dinnertime Greek meatball sandwich ($3.99) — George’s newest Hellenic lunch special — Chow, Baby bought out the house: dolmas (grape leaves stuffed with beefy rice, $8/dozen), a whole gallon of olive oil for $9.49, feta, kefalograviera cheese, and several varieties of baklava. And of course many pounds of George’s ever-so-yummy kalamata olives, ripe and juicy pillows of salty tang, as fresh and delicious as the ones in Greece. Not that Chow, Baby would know. That stingy Hi Bob went and cancelled Chow, Baby’s Aegean cruise.

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