1. Check the Eats List immediately following this page. This is not a comprehensive list of every restaurant in town; it includes only those places that Chow, Baby or a Fort Worth Weekly reviewer has visited and liked. So they’re all good. (Wait, why is Razzoo’s in there? Yech.) Apply your lucky numbers to the list: If your numbers are, say, 3 and 7, tonight you’re eating at the seventh restaurant in the third column. If you don’t have lucky numbers, just close your eyes and stab.
2. Break the chains. Yeah, yeah, you’re leaving work, you’ve got whiny kids (if that’s not redundant), it’d be so easy to just hit the Burger King drive-thru. Just as fast and much more delicious: Call up Ronnie B’s Backyard Burgers (4601 Broadway Av., Haltom City, 817-831-1113) and order some old-school flame-broiled – real flame-broiled, you can taste it – burgers to go (quarter-pounder $2.75). Or zip through a family-owned fried-chicken-and-seafood joint – Chow, Baby’s fave is Dan’s (6719 Bridge St.) – cheaper and fresher than KFC, and there’s rarely a line.
3. Drive along Belknap in Haltom City or around Pioneer Parkway in Arlington, and stop in at a random divey-looking Asian joint. The proprietors will be kind, and you may just discover the best dumplings, pho, or marinated tongue of your life.
4. Stop at any restaurant that has a two-for-one sign. Chow, Baby sees these as a cry for help, possibly the beginning of the going-out-of-business end, but that’s not the immediate problem. The problem is, how is Chow, Baby supposed to choose between the two-for-one chopped beef sandwich plate ($6.50) at Wilson’s BBQ (5633 Lovell St.), and its fabulous baby back ribs at regular price (lunch $7.99)? If you’ve never been to Wilson’s, please make this your first resolution-satisfier of 2006. You didn’t go to Dotch’s, Chow, Baby’s last favorite BBQ place, and look what happened.
5. Head out of town on a state or U.S. highway. Waiting in the wings for a shot at the Chow-Baby-fave title is Trading Post BBQ (1585 N.W. Parkway St., Azle), a marvelous-smelling little shack that Chow, Baby discovered on one of its treks out 199. The seasoned beans are incredible, the homemade peach cobbler is only a buck, and the beef sausage (plate $6.50) is the best in 817. Proof again of Chow, Baby’s old theory: To find a great meal anywhere in the country, cruise a highway until you start hitting thrift stores and pastel-painted motels. Or in the case of Azle, when you start hitting the “Artillery Shells For Sale” signs.
6. Don’t judge a café by its fans. Press releases, invitations to pre-openings (free food!), e-mails from new-restaurant owners disguised as “loyal readers” – Chow, Baby listens, visits, and decides for itself. So should you. Maybe your idiot boss (if that’s not redundant) is right about the new diner in his neighborhood. Check it out. If it’s good, tell Chow, Baby, so it can help others keep their resolution, too.
Contact Chow, Baby at email@example.com.