If this were a tv series – and don’t think Chow, Baby hasn’t thought about it; it’s got the theme song picked out and everything – this week’s episode would begin with Chow, Baby’s editor on voiceover: “Previously on The Adventures of Chow, Baby, Undercover Restaurant Critic … .

” Then there would be some clips (“Bangers & Mash” “Mofongo You Too”) to remind viewers that Chow, Baby is a little insecure about judging unfamiliar cuisines. (“Is this supposed to taste like this?”) And also that Chow, Baby refuses to let its personal opinion of Chicago (“The Appropriately Named ‘Second City'”) interfere with its work, much.

We open this week at Windy City Grill (2041 Rufe Snow Dr., Keller). As a little allusion for smart people – good tv shows slip in these inside jokes all the time – Chow, Baby’s companion is named Frank. (Because Frank Sinatra sang a famous song about Chicago. Jeez.) Frank is this week’s guest expert, a Chi-town transplant whose job is to answer the counterman’s Chicago-themed questions, such as “What kind of mustard do you want?” “Sweet or hot peppers?” and “Do you want to sit by the karaoke machine?” Actually Chow, Baby was able to field that one itself.

Frank’s second job was to test nearly everything on the small menu (mostly sandwiches, no pizza) for Chicago authenticity. The Vienna dog ($2.75) passed with flying colors: neon-green relish, bright red tomato slices, yellow sport peppers. Brat & kraut ($5.69) was good & messy. Windy City lost some points on the Italian beef ($6.89); from the way Frank describes it, it’s supposed to be like a debris po-boy, so dripping in juice that the bread melts into mush. This one was a little soggy at the bottom, that’s all. The finale was the Wünderbar ($3.79), frozen cheesecake on a stick dipped in dark chocolate, the most heart-attack-inducing dessert Chow, Baby has had since deep-fried Snickers (montage-style flashback to various fests).


Pan to the Bears and Cubs banners streaming everywhere as Chow, Baby asks: “Do you feel like you’re in Chicago?” Frank: “More like I’m in Gary.” Smart people realize he means Gary, Indiana, but don’t know why and look puzzled. Frank expands: “It’s close to Chicago, but it ain’t.” Laugh track, cue closing theme (Goodwin, “Ribs”).

Mediterranean Delights

There’s nothing like watching a pretty girl enjoy her first taste of Turkish Delight, the gummy sweet that was (according to the Turks) or was not (according to most of their neighbors) commissioned by an Ottoman sultan three centuries ago to keep his harem happy. Sadly, Chow, Baby missed witnessing its friend’s joy; it was over in the freezer aisle of International Food Land (1729 S. Cooper St., Arlington) getting phyllo dough so it can make its leftovers into pretty pastry purses. This delight-ful shopping took place after dining, as per Chow, Baby’s standard rule – which for once was easy to obey, as the yummy Aladdin Restaurant (more of a deli/grill, really) is right inside the store. So we had already demolished a half-grilled, half-cold, all-delicious sampler platter ($8.99) that held enough falafel, hummus, chicken and beef shwarma, dolmas, tabouli, baba ghannouj, and warm pita bread for a small harem. Not that Chow, Baby thinks of its friends as its harem or anything. Not that it already has the theme music picked out for that. Of course not.

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