Chow, Baby: Wednesday, August 8, 2002
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
Perfect Porridge

It figures that less than a week after complaining about too much and too little restaurant service in this town, Chow, Baby would happen upon just right. The fairy-tale setting was DFW Airport’s Chili’s Too, a downsized version of the chain restaurant that normally Chow, Baby wouldn’t be caught dead in. Too serves burgers, sandwiches, and Awesome Blossoms, the most awesomely ridiculous food invention of all time, to captive audiences at a couple dozen airports around the country. Heading to a proper Southern funeral, Chow, Baby had intended to leave belly room for tomato sandwiches, deviled eggs, and coconut pies but had two hours free between full-body searches. Plenty of time to nosh.

Terminal B offers many food choices for travelers who don’t mind dumbed-down menus from folks who are in the restaurant business for profit rather than love. Among them: Friday’s American, the Mini-Me of T.G.I. Friday’s, possibly the only chain with more compulsory All-American Happiness than Chili’s; Ow Bone Pain, as Texans pronounce the name of the Boston-based “urban French bakery café,” which has 240 worldwide locations but not one in France; and Texas Stadium Skybox, where sports fans can check out scores while they chow down on stadium food like shrimp cocktail. In another setting, Harlon’s BBQ Grill & Bar, one of a string owned by Houstonite Harlon Brooks, would have gotten Chow, Baby’s close-enough-to-local vote, but the combination of spicy beans, turbulence, and teeny airplane potties doesn’t make for smooth airsailing.

You see Chow, Baby’s problem. Imagine, then, Chow, Baby’s surprise and delight upon a perfect noshing experience at Chili’s Too. The personable (but not too much so) and efficient Sharon wouldn’t let Chow, Baby order its cheddarburger rare, but her insistence on death-to-bacteria medium-doneness was caring and sympathetic. Otherwise the burger arrived exactly as ordered (no onions!) and promptly, with fresh hot fries. Meanwhile, busboy Amrit lived up to his name (“elixir of life”) by keeping Chow, Baby’s water glass full without a lot of chaat (either “extended chat” or “potato-bean-spice mixture” — Chow, Baby’s Sanskrit isn’t as good as it should be). Sharon kindly wrapped up Chow, Baby’s leftovers so they could be scanned, poked, and enjoyed as an in-flight snack, and Chow, Baby had a very nice flight, thank you.


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