With the dollar getting weaker and weaker abroad, Chow, Baby’s research trips are getting shorter and closer to home. No carbonara in Rome or knockwurst in Frankfurt this time; Chow, Baby and its world-traveling companion/father spent the weekend in Georgia (the U.S. one), dining on fried green tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café in Juliette and pulled-pork barbecue at This Little Piggy in Forsyth.
All delicious, especially the genuine-Georgia-peaches cobbler, but as always Chow, Baby came home craving real food, the kind only Texans can cook right.
Taqueria San Antonio (7905 Camp Bowie Blvd. West) is painted a blinding yellow with strident splashes of blue and red; the color scream continues inside, where concrete floors amplify the brain-piercing scrapes of metal chairs and tables. Also there was lots of chopping going on in the kitchen. But the main pain was that at 2 p.m., Taqueria San Antonio had run out of both of Chow, Baby’s favorites, carnitas and barbacoa. In a way this is a good sign – a place so popular that it even runs out of its signature pork tamales ($6.99 dozen) – but it meant that poor Baby had to think. And by now it really had a headache.
The supportive counter-worker exacerbated Chow, Baby’s crippling indecisiveness by providing little taste-cups of the various delicious meats, but finally we settled on a four-taco plate ($5.99): one chicarron (chunky pork in a spicy red salsa), one shredded beef with green peppers, one fajita, and one carne asada, all popping fresh and on fresh-grilled corn tortillas. With pico de gallo and sides of great rice and beans, it was a very good plate, though Chow, Baby was still pouty over not getting to have its favorite taco meal. You know, the Whistle Stop Café never runs out of fried green tomatoes.
Good news for East Side ‘cue lovers: After six dark years, Smokey’s BBQ is smokin’ again at 5300 E. Lancaster Ave. The bad news is, they (new owners, but many of the old workers) haven’t quite settled in yet. Stuck in a long cafeteria-style line while the cashier tried to beat the register into submission, Chow, Baby began nibbling on its usual, a sliced-and-sausage plate (great lunch bargain at $6.95) – now, this is awkward. Chow, Baby hasn’t yet sat down to eat and already knows it doesn’t want to. Fabulous smoky flavor, but man, talk about dry? Like chewing on a splintery plank of mesquite (the brisket) and a kitchen sponge that hadn’t been used in a month (the sausage). Look close, you can still see the scratch marks on the roof of Chow, Baby’s mouth. With drinks out of reach at the far end of the counter, this was getting painful and possibly life-threatening. Hack. Ow. Hack.
Seeing no graceful way to escape, Chow, Baby continued trudging the line. Thick tangy-sweet barbecue sauce, kept warm in a crock-pot, helped the meat a lot. Creamy mac & cheese and doctored green beans, both firm enough to be finger food (forks are down by the drinks), cheered Chow, Baby’s bruised taste buds, as did the last stop: as good a cobbler ($2.25) as you’d find in central Georgia. Once Smokey’s figures out how to spread the juiciness around, it’s going to be a real peach.
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