Have seen the occasional “You Are Entering Pantego” sign along Pioneer Parkway, which, as in any small Texas town, Chow, Baby takes to mean “We Make Our Money from Speeding Tickets” and slows down accordingly. In order to get a sense of the town’s atmosphere, Chow Baby decided to observe a typical location (a burger joint called Fabulous 50′s, 2424 W. Park Row Dr., Pantego) and a representative sample of 10 people and extrapolate wildly from there. Just like a real-newspaper poll!
According to Chow, Baby’s research, three out of 10 Pantegans (thus 750 of the town’s population of 2,500) are friendly and industrious restaurant workers. About 10 percent, or 250 residents, are Elvis impersonators. Four out of 10, translating to a whopping 1,000 Pantegans, are middle-aged women who swoon over Elvis impersonators. The remaining two people were discussing Brazil’s chances of getting a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, so Chow, Baby infers that approximately 500 Pantegans care deeply about international politics. What an interesting town!
Further, the clear majority of Pantegans – 60 percent – enjoy eating burgers named after 1950s TV characters. The Elvis impersonator, spangly jumpsuited Carleton Hurdle, had just finished his regular Wednesday-night show – Chow, Baby had just missed it, darn – and was obviously too keyed up to eat. The workers were too busy to chow down. But everybody else was enjoying a Fred (1/3 lb bacon cheeseburger, $3.49), an Ethel (chili instead of bacon), a Frankie (country-fried steak sandwich, $3.49), and the like, and washing them down with excellent but unnamed shakes, malts, and floats ($1.89-2.29). Wow, a town where every single resident is into rock ‘n’ roll, smart talk, and good burgers. Wonder if Saginaw is this cool?
Yes, We Have No Fried Banana
“There’s something truly divine about being full of good sushi,” said Chow, Baby’s own dear blowfish as we dug into the treasures at O I Shii (6302 Lake Worth Blvd.), which has recently brought fancy Japanese food to this sushi- and hibachi-deprived part of the county. On behalf of Lake Worth, Chow, Baby says arigato.
After a couple of very good appetizers (ultra-rare beef tataki, $8.95, and shrimp tempura, $4.50), we made a meal out of rolls. Bangkok City was one of the many highlights: shrimp, avocado, mango, and cucumber topped with a spicy peanut sauce ($7.95). The spicy Fiesta ($7.95) was adorned with tempura’d whole jalapeños. A pairing of sweet and spicy sauces perked up the Ichiban ($6.95), a deep-fried California roll sprinkled with smelt egg.
In the small-things-matter department, the sliced ginger was rosy and radiantly delicious, truly and by far the best Chow, Baby has ever tasted, and our third request for more of the palate cleanser/sushi topping was met as graciously as the first. In the dessert-matters department, well, apparently banana tempura is the new flan: The more Chow, Baby craves it, the more likely the kitchen will be closed, out of it, or not offer it at all. O I Shii does not offer it at all, but Chow, Baby is optimistic that in its lifetime, banana tempura will come to Lake Worth.
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