Chow, Baby: Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Thick Sammies for Thin Times

You know who really liked last week’s tortas report, the one wherein Chow, Baby ate happily all week for a measly $22.50? Other than its hardcore cheapo readers, of course, the ones who grouse whenever Chow, Baby has lamb chops “too many times” in one month, or drops $100 on bread cubes at Simply Fondue, or binges at Del Frisco’s or Fred’s twice in a single year. No, the loudest “Good one!” kudos came from the fine folks at the Weekly who process Chow, Baby’s expense reports. When did they get so tightwad all of a sudden? Jeez, the way they were urging Chow, Baby to new budgetary lows, it’s as if they thought the whole newspaper industry was in financial trouble or something.
Editor Gayle Reaves, signing off on Chow, Baby’s expense form with a rare approving smile, raved so much about the grilled ham & cheese ($4.75 with chips) at Montgomery Street Café (2000 Montgomery St.) that Chow, Baby had to rush right over. Well, the hurry was partly for the sandwich, a homey-perfect inch-high pile of thin-sliced ham and gooey Swiss on crisp buttered rye. But the main impetus was to catch the lunch rush of real cowboys in real cowboy hats, and it’s an early-lunch crowd because they get up at 5 a.m. to water the barn or whatever. Grab a table by the window so you can also viddy the Will Rogers Coliseum against a backdrop of the downtown skyline, and you’ve got the whole Fort Worth “horses and high-rises” cliché plus great chocolate pie ($1.50).
After Gayle signs off, Chow, Baby takes its reimbursement requests to “Hi Bob” Niehoff, whose title is actually “general manager” and not, as Chow, Baby had always thought, “accounting nazi.” This time, instead of his usual weary sigh, Hi Bob gave Chow, Baby a tip: the Bomber Supreme ($4.69) at Jo-Ed Bomber (1924 W. Pioneer Pkwy., Pantego), where the décor is mostly bombers (little plastic WWII ones). The sandwich turned out to be a lot like a Chicago-style Italian bomber: thin slices of deli meats and cheese on a nice soft roll, with lots of your-choice toppings and a few dashes of tangy seasoning oil. Tasty and surprisingly filling, though next time — to hell with the economy — Chow, Baby will splurge on the double-meat.
Publisher Lee Newquist signs the checks that Hi Bob prints out, and the final step in the payment process sees Chow, Baby getting busted digging around on Lee’s desk trying to find them. Lee’s cheap-lunch suggestion was the chicken-salad sandwich ($6.25) at Vickery Café (4120 W. Vickery Blvd.), which — Lee being a powerful and savvy (and extraordinarily handsome, of course) mogul who gets what he wants even if it isn’t on the menu — isn’t on the menu. But turns out the Vickery Café folk will make it for anyone who asks, and it’s worth asking for: chopped grilled chicken breast mixed with pickle bits and a smidge of mayo, on a soft bun with lettuce and tomato. Simple, classic, very nice. This was the priciest sandwich of the bunch, but still Chow, Baby hit a new expense-account low this week. And plans to spend the rest of December raising its average, before some accounting nazi gets any “Oh, so $20/week is plenty?” bright ideas.

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