Chow, Baby: Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Next Time, the 15-Piece Box

“We’ll just let me be the judge of that,” thought Chow, Baby self-importantly as it popped into Very Good Chicken (3996 Denton Hwy., Haltom City). This was an Eateries Near Thrifteries excursion of sorts; Chow, Baby’s leftovers fridge, a gift from a garage-cleaning neighbor, has conked out already from overload, so Chow, Baby was cruising the used-appliances district for a replacement. And for replacement leftovers.
Over the last couple of years, the friendly folks at Haltom City Appliances (bonus tangential endorsement!) have seen their former Dairy Queen neighbor host fast-food pizza, fast-food burgers, and now, since March, fast-food chicken. Let’s hope this one sticks around a while, because the chicken is indeed Very Good. Even at 3 p.m., when Chow, Baby figured to get dried-out lunch surpluses, the eight-piece box ($7.49 mixed) held big, hot, fresh pieces of moist chicken in a light and crispy batter. As a bonus, Chow, Baby got to add to its Spanish-menu vocabulary: higados (livers, 12 pieces $3.99) and mollejas (gizzards, 6 pieces $2.29) were fresh-fried and lightly salted; the skimpy batter let the organ-y flavor and texture shine. Tenders and wings are on the menu, too, but only in English. No fun.
There were peripheral deficiencies: The mashed potatoes and gravy ($1.29) made KFC’s seem gourmet; white glue has more flavor than the “cream gravy”; and the hot sauce came not in a bottle but in single-serving packets. Shun the sides and stick with the various chicken parts for a Very Good meal.
Yes, We Have No Tomatoes
Tuesday Morning (second bonus tangential endorsement!) isn’t exactly a Thrifterie; it’s full of stuff you’d never buy until you notice it’s some huge percentage off retail. You’re not spending money, you’re saving it! Unfortunately, the selection of dishtowels — for hanging in the handle of the new-used fridge — included none in seafoam. (If you have to be stuck in a décor decade, you could do a lot worse than the 1950s.) So Chow, Baby left with only a bottle of organic mojito mix (51 percent off!). Very, very tasty. Wanna hear Chow, Baby’s mojito-gazebo song again? No? Fine.
Chow, Baby decided to spend its “savings” across the street at On Broadway Ristorante (6306 Hulen Bend Blvd.), family-owned since 1987. Daughter/chef Jessica and son-in-law/waiter Bryan took over the management a few months ago, but not much has changed: The room is soothing, the lighting is dim, and the service comes with a smile. Alas, Chow, Baby picked a bad day to eat Italian — right after the FDA recalled fresh tomatoes. So it was canned instead of fresh diced in the lumachi funghi ($8.99), though the appetizer of snails and mushrooms sautéed in a tomato-garlic-wine didn’t suffer much from the downscaling. Chow, Baby scraped up every last drop with perfect garlic bread ($1.50).
Housemade pomodoro sauce also began with a can, but in these hard times one must persevere. What did rankle is another thing that hasn’t changed at On Broadway: the old capellini-spaghetti switcheroo. (You have your definition of heinous; Chow, Baby has its.) Chow, Baby’s capellini with Italian sausage ($13.99) with canned tomatoes and surprise spaghetti had nice chunks of fresh-tasting sausage, and the sauce showed a deft Jessica hand with basil, garlic, and olive oil. Allowing for the substitutions, it was quite good. Chow, Baby trusts that the FDA and Jessica will do what’s necessary to make this dish perfect.

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