Chow, Baby: Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Torque for Forks

Stunned by its most recent Shell credit card statement, Chow, Baby stopped by Eurosport Cycle during their annual Demo Ride Day to test drive a Triumph Thruxton 900. (Yeah, it costs $7,000, but at 45 miles per gallon it would pay for itself in less than a month of Chow, Baby-level cruising around town.) But once again, Chow, Baby had fallen for looks over performance. No matter how hard Chow, Baby revved, trying to silence a little voice in its head that kept taunting “Chicken! Chicken!,” this cutie just didn’t have enough torque to join in on those Belknap drag races (start time: every minute on the minute). “Chicken! Chicken!” the voice cried with increasing urgency, with Chow, Baby yelling back, “This thing does not have a sixth gear! What do you want from me!” The voice nodded toward Sammie’s Bar-B-Q, 3801 E. Belknap St.
Sammie’s has chicken? Chow, Baby didn’t know that. This old barn has lots of diehard fans, but Chow, Baby isn’t one of them — Sammie’s does their barbecuing in a brick pit out back, which is great for flavor but negatory on juicy, falling-apart tenderness. And the thin sauce refuses to cling; it’s better for dunking than smothering. Turns out, though, that Sammie’s does one heck of a chicken (plate $6.50): Barbecued with the skin on, the meat is plump and tender, with a seductively smoky flavor. It wasn’t hard to clean the plate, especially with a little voice reminding Chow, Baby that a motorcycle has precious little leftovers-hauling space.
A Honda Accord Hybrid, on the other hand, has tons of space for leftovers and gets about the same mpg as the Triumph. Costs nearly three times as much, but its VTEC technology maximizes low-end torque like nobody’s business. Chow, Baby was en route to Huggins Honda to finagle a test drive, and maybe find out what torque is, when the voice started up again. At least this time it was more specific: “Chicken ... enchiladas!” OK, that’s not true: It was Chow, Baby’s own idea, upon spotting Mi Pueblo, 8010 Bedford-Euless Rd. in North Richland Hills. Chow, Baby has been meaning to visit Mi Pueblo (there’s another location at 8412 Davis Blvd., NRH) since it opened about a year ago, because the Chavez family also owns Los Molcajetes (4320 Western Center Blvd.), which has the best bean soup in town and other very good stuff as well.
Well, alas. Whereas at Los Molcajetes you get the sense that the kitchen staff could at least find Mexico on a map, at Mi Pueblo you could be in any Mexican-themed restaurant in any middle-class U.S. suburb. It’s a big room with colorful blankets on the ceiling and loud happy music; the servers are friendly; the food is inoffensive. Though Chow, Baby was a bit offended by its flavorless fish tacos ($7.99), uncrispy fillets in which the coating’s pepper could be seen but not tasted. The only thing notable about the chicken enchiladas (lunch $6.45) that Chow, Baby took home for dinner was that they reheated nicely. Mi Pueblo does make a great frozen orange juice slush, which they call a mango margarita ($6.95). Chow, Baby couldn’t tell if it was falling asleep because of the alcohol or from culinary boredom and heartily wished it hadn’t wasted so much gas getting there.

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