Chow, Baby: Wednesday, March 13, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
But Wait, There’s More

Personally, Chow, Baby has never found dumping spaghetti into a colander that much of an intellectual challenge. But those 3am commercials are mighty hard to resist, so Chow, Baby is now the proud owner of a Pasta Pro plus a mini-Pasta Pro plus a bonus deluxe cheese grater. What makes these pots so great, and possibly tax-deductible, is that Chow, Baby can use them to turn take-home scraps into new meals. In fact, Chow, Baby’s own nicely strained fusilli stirred into chunks of leftover “Lena Horn” (sic) — chicken in a mushroom cream sauce — was the only yummy outcome of a recent visit to Old San Francisco Roadhouse at Ridgmar Mall. How does this World War II-themed restaurant suck? Let Chow, Baby count the ways.

Kitsch: rampant. The “memorabilia” (olde-tyme adverts framed on the walls, military doohickeys hanging from the ceiling) can be squinted into a blur, but the “whimsical” menu of dishes randomly named after ’40s icons is unavoidable. This could have been fun, but instead it’s merely baffling. How the heck do you get “Audie Murphy” from a portobello mushroom sandwich? “Lucille Ball” from — lord help us — catfish tacos?

Food: astoundingly terrible. The Mustang Dip appetizer of shrimp, crab, artichoke, and havarti ($6.99, but comped because it arrived an hour after we sat down) was gloppy and flavorless. The rib eye (whose “name” was so pointless that Chow, Baby has forgotten it, $15.99) was, no exaggeration, raw inside. The skinny-steak half of a companion’s Laurel & Hardy ($13.99) was also raw inside; the grilled-shrimp half was overcooked and tough. Both portions were Laurel-sized, and not a bit Hardy.

Service: cute (dishy waitresses in fishnets and short-shorts) but neglectful. After two and a half hours of infrequent sightings, our server apologized for “everything” and offered us some on-the-house dried-out cheesecake ($4.95). Wow, thanks. Seems the old adage is true: War-themed restaurants are hell.

Where the Brave Dare Not Go

Alas, the above grump-fest doesn’t leave much room for the high point of Chow, Baby’s week. On a beautiful but chilly afternoon, warm-blooded Chow, Baby and a buddy were the only patio loungers at the Benbrook Hwy Pulido’s Mexican Restaurant, munching on fresh chips from the nearby Pulido’s Tortilla Factory and singing along to the Mexican Muzak. Chow, Baby’s buddy crooned along in his excellent baritone, as Chow, Baby swiped grilled chicken fajita slices from his Tacos De Lite plate ($7.45), three soft tacos served with fat-free charro beans. Chow, Baby’s own lunch special of beef flautas with refried beans, Mexican rice, and pico de gallo ($4.99) was also a De Lite. For dessert, a burrito overstuffed with cherry-pie filling ($1.75), like a Hostess but eight billion times better. After the sugar rush departed, Chow, Baby’s heart lay peaceful and calm.


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