Snuggled in sushi-print flannel jammies (Xmas 2003), chopping up goodies for the fondue pot (Xmas 2002), mixing up a vat of Robert Earl Keen’s “Eggnog from Hell” (in Merry Christmas from the Family, Xmas 2001), and making merry with a better half who is both a creative cook and an uncomplaining dishwasher (now every day is Xmas) – what’s left for Chow, Baby to wish for? Oh, there’s always more:

More of the world on our forks. For Tex-Mex and Mex, we’re pretty well set. How about spreading out a bit, Santa, and bringing us a New Mex-Mex place? Mmmm, stacked blue-corn enchiladas. And we’ve got great Chinese all over town, but where’s our dim sum? Bring it on! Bring us a real Jewish deli with knishes, lox, bagels that fight back, and an authentic chocolate egg cream. Bring us Ethiopian, Afghani, all the exotic stuff – wave your magic wand over House of Korea, which has been threatening to bring pickled cabbage to McCart for ages now. Help Gloria’s open soon so Chow, Baby can enjoy churrasco tipico without a trek to El Salvador or Dallas … .

More restaurants in our “rows.” The eastern end of the West Seventh strip is shaping up nicely, with Gloria’s and Pei Wei scheduled to open in Montgomery Plaza. But La Familia, thanks to city bureaucrats, is taking too long to move from Strip-front to Foch Street, a few blocks away – could you grease some wheels, Santa? And Santa, don’t let downtown get too upscale. It’s great that Piranha, Ferré, and Taverna Pizzeria are taking the late Planet Zolon sites in Sundance Square. But we still need an all-night downtown diner with good coffee and pancakes. And find somebody really good for the old Flying Saucer space at Arlington’s Lincoln Square – fans of the best dining mall in the county deserve no less. Also, Santa, please keep Chow, Baby’s Magnolia Street dream alive. Having a Friend in high places wasn’t enough to save the ecumenical Servant’s Kitchen, but maybe somebody with more draw than Jesus can make a go of the space … .

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More from our chef-throbs. Brian Olenjack’s people will say only that the former Chisholm Club chef is “working on a project in Fort Worth,” but Chow, Baby has already decided to love it even if it’s not on Magnolia. Brian’s old boss Grady Spears is hoping for a spring opening for 80 West, a rural-Texas-themed restaurant and market way out on Camp Bowie West – he could probably use your help building the outdoor open-pit grill. Tim Love is opening Duce any day now at 6333 Camp Bowie Blvd.; Santa, please make the buffalo sirloin with white-truffle gnocchi not too expensive. Or, better yet, increase Chow, Baby’s allowance. And help Nehme Elbitar of Café Chadra find a good second location too, one where he can realize his (and Chow, Baby’s) dream of fine Lebanese dining with hummus and pita on the table like chips and salsa. Say, Chow, Baby knows a good spot on Magnolia … .

More indie survival. Santa, please make everybody want to dine out more at our many wonderful local restaurants. Oh, right, that’s Chow, Baby’s job. OK: Santa, please help Chow, Baby do its job better. And don’t forget about that allowance increase.


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