Chow, Baby: Wednesday, January 07, 2009
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
Refrigerator Magnates

It may be well into January where you are, but thanks to the magic of ridiculously early holiday deadlines, the calendar hasn’t yet turned at the Chow, Baby household. We’re still caught up in those annual end-of-year chores, like curtains-washing, receipts-inventing, and leftovers-fridge-cleaning. Obviously, these things should be done more often than once a year, especially if your curtains, like Chow, Baby’s, evidently sneak out at night to go dirt-bike racing. But in Chow, Baby’s defense, this new leftovers fridge was so shiny and clean on purchase back in September that Chow, Baby assumed this was its permanent state. Like quarters and cars and marriage, which also start off shiny and perfect and stay that way forever. Right?
Apparently not, so here we go. Jackpot on the top shelf: a box containing one nibble each from Café Modern’s dessert menu. The Modern’s free Sundays and the Hubbard/Birchler photos exhibition are so last year, but you can still check out the crème brûlée ($7) that made Chow, Baby forget that it’s bored with crème brûlée: roasted pear and Brie, topped with a port wine and cherry jam. Fabulous to the last bite, which is … this one. Yum. Top shelf, done.
Middle shelf: four-fifths of a Margie’s sampler platter (chicken parmesan, meatball, cannelloni, manicotti, lasagna, and fettuccini Alfredo, $22.95) and the linguini from the extraordinary shrimp scampi ($16.95) at Margie’s Original Italian Kitchen (9805 Camp Bowie Blvd. W.). This is not an unusual amount of leftovers from a dinner at Margie’s: After a loaf of garlic bread, a bacon-bit-bejeweled house salad, and an appetizer of lobster-chunky lobster/crab/cheese dip ($9.95) — which requires another loaf of garlic bread for scooping — even the expert eater must fight to squeeze in more than a couple of entrée bites, much less the seven garlicky, sea-fresh shrimp picked out from the scampi. But Chow, Baby managed. Since unlike most cuisines, Italian food flavors are only improved by refrigeration, we’ll scarf up the linguini now and let the lasagna etc. meld another day or two.
Backstory on the bottom shelf, currently jammed with little white boxes from Lili’s Bistro (1310 W. Magnolia Av.): Owner/chef Vance Martin recently economy-downsized Lili’s average dinner tab, price-pointing half his entrees at a very budget-friendly $11. So theoretically Chow, Baby could dine on Lili’s Texas-American-global creations without breaking its bank — but for two things. One, nightly specials like rabbit ravioli with wild mushroom ragu ($22) and peach-brandy-poached sea bass ($23) are simply irresistible and well worth the double digits. Two, everything on the menu looks so good that Chow, Baby is compelled to order nearly everything on the menu. Vance makes part of this easy with his new dessert-tasting platter ($15): enough brandy-sauced apple pie, banana upside-down cake, fudge torte with chocolate-chip-cookie crust, and Kahlua mousse crepes for a table to share. Or for Chow, Baby to take home for later.
There’s an art to sensing what should be finished off at the restaurant and what will keep for a few days, and danged if Chow, Baby didn’t nail it at Lili’s: The boxed banana cake is still moist, the bulgur & berries salad ($6) still pops, and the remaining two of four Asian crab cakes ($13) are still firm and lemongrassy-fresh. Mmm. Fridge clean-out day is rapidly becoming Chow, Baby’s favorite day of the year.

Contact Chow, Baby at chowbaby@fwweekly.com.


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