Chow, Baby was thrilled to get a visit last week from its father, who prefers camping out around the South to staying in his own Katrina-moldy house.

Thrilled, because it already had a great headline in mind. In “Oedipus Tex-Mex,” see, we’d go eat puffy tacos at Caro’s on Bluebonnet Circle (“a spot where three roads meet”); any adventure that resulted would surely fill a column. But for some reason Chow, Père refused to go along with this fabulous plan.

By the time we got to Taste of Thai (2535 E. Arkansas Ln., Arlington) a frustrated Chow, Baby was in quite the rebellious-teen-ager mood. This took the form of, first, not ordering the usual checking-the-basics food-critic meal: Thai dumplings, tom kha ka, and pad thai. And second, annoying its father by eating most of his food, as Père had counter-rebelled by ordering that exact meal. The ground-pork Thai dumplings ($4.75) were nearly as yummy as the shrimp-stuffed darlings at Sweet Basil, and a buck cheaper. The tom kha ka ($4) was the best chicken soup Chow, Baby has had anywhere, any time: coconut-milk-creamy, lemongrass-fragrant, rich with mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes. Pad thai ($7.75) and Chow, Baby’s own pineapple rice ($7.50) were shrimply perfect.

Chow, Baby also managed to wrest the lion’s share of dessert, sweet sticky rice topped with a slab of Thai custard ($3). This was fairly easy, as Père was getting a bit drowsy from the meal, lulled by the soft music, mellow service, and pretty fish in the tank. Sleep well; Chow, Baby is off to save Thebes and see if maybe Chow, Mère wants to go for Greek food.


Acapulco Gold

For great and cheap Mexican seafood in scary-after-dark locations, it’s a tie: Acapulco Beach, 2612 Ephriham Av., and Acapulco Beach, 3112 N. Main St. The one on Ephriham is good because it’s around the corner from the Azle Avenue Salvation Army: handy for those shopping/dining excursions. (If a pre-dinner snack is called for, the truck in the parking lot across Azle has marvelous little tacos, $1.) The Up By Meacham branch is a little newer, a little bigger, a little noisier. But these are details. As long as it’s savoring coctel vuelve a la vida ($9.45), the “return to life” appetizer of boiled shrimp, plump oysters, chewy octopus, and diced avocado in a sweet red cocktail sauce, Chow, Baby doesn’t care where its butt is parked.

At the North Main location a few days ago, everything was fresh and scrumptious. Chow, Baby can still taste the drippings from the garlic shrimp ($8.85), so pungently delicious that we used the dozen or so leftover shrimp that had fallen off our shrimp tostadas ($10.50) to mop the plate clean. The whole broiled tilapia ($8.80) hung off the plate, it was so big; the fish (red snapper and catfish are also available) is served with either a spicy fresh-tomato sauce dotted with peppers and onions or a garlic sauce. We got the garlic sauce, of course. Even the rice is great, cooked with bits of carrot and cilantro. Great food, friendly service, reasonable prices – unfortunately, the Acapulco Beaches share another trait with Chow, Baby’s favorite Mexican restaurants: They’re always out of flan.

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