Chow, Baby: Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Far North by Northwest

Cruising weather has finally arrived, time to scope out and bitch about all the new housing developments with stupid “Something Woodsy at Something Zoological Something Watery”-type names and restaurant chains with boring food that surely have proliferated in far, far North Fort Worth since Chow, Baby’s last cruise. But in fact it landed in a nice little strip at the northwest corner of far, far North Beach Street and North Tarrant Parkway. Here’s a Joe’s Pasta-n-Pizza, which for the ’burbs is pretty indie; a mom-and-pop donut shop with sausage rolls, thank you; and a cute little ice cream shop called Café Dolce. At the far, far north end of the strip is the brand-new, chic-looking Tang’s Pacific Bistro.
Smack in the middle of the strip is El Culichi (8577 N. Beach St.), which is where Chow, Baby settled, feeling quite far from North Main or Hemphill in this freshly painted, very clean fast-food spot with all its ingredients and prep work hidden behind a low wall. But after what Chow, Baby thought were a lot of silly questions regarding what it wanted on its tacos, the results were tasty: a chile relleno plate ($5.89) had a nice bite and a proper balance of hearty ranchero and gooey cheese; breakfast burritos ($3.89 loaded) were so solid and carb-satisfying that Chow, Baby wished it had a hangover to cure; tacos ($1.79) were overstuffed with juicy meats — beef and pork, no tongue or brains here. Pico, guac, and salsas are fresh-made; the green chile is particularly good. What a nice close-by treat for whatever the residents of this area call themselves.

King of the Northeast
Chow, Baby isn’t that old, dadburn it, and yet it can remember when the only ethnic cuisine you could find in the suburbs was chain pizza and bad Chinese. But here’s Chow, Baby now cruising around Hurst, Euless, and/or Bedford (sorry, Chow, Baby really can’t tell the difference) with a powerful craving for bad sweet-and-sour pork, the kind it used to get as a kid — but instead spotting taquerias, fancy Mex, family Italian, upscale Italian, Philadelphian, pho-eries, Thai, Japanese, Cajun ... . All delicious, Chow, Baby was sure, but you can’t explain that to a craving.
Blood sugar dropping fast, Chow, Baby finally landed at Rice King (4605 Colleyville Blvd., Colleyville) (Colleyville? How did ... never mind) still in time for the lunch specials ($4.49 with rice and egg roll). The meal was everything promised by the fast-food building and the numbered-items menu: Chow, Baby’s #L2 held overbreaded pork knobs in a neon-red, killer-sweet sauce, with dry rice and greasy egg roll. But #A7, tender steamed dumplings ($3.99), plus the presence of unnumbered blackboard specials like fried quail, hot pots, and green mussels in black bean sauce, led Chow, Baby to believe that these guys can do better when they want to. Thus Chow, Baby went home, getting lost only once, with #R4, a disappointingly bland pork chow fun ($7.99), and the unnumbered butter-fried shrimp ($8.95), possibly the best shrimp dish Chow, Baby has had this year. Seriously. A dozen and a half largish fresh shrimp had been sautéed in butter, a touch of oil, and tons of garlic and sliced onions — simple, delicious, and highly addictive. Good thing for Chow, Baby that the Rice King go-menu has a map on it.

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