“Weirdly smooshed with random bits poking out” covers it, but now Chow, Baby has to use seven words instead of just one. Worse, Chow Baby has to fret about this before it’s even had breakfast. But where to go eat where they won’t care how you look?
Dixie House Café, 6200 E. Lancaster Av., was packed on a recent Saturday morning, but not with Beautiful People. In the two and a half years since Dixie House opened here (its third Fort Worth location), Handleyites and Meadowbrookians have flocked here; we’ve had to, because The Griddle and Trellis Rose have gone out of business in the interim. That means Dixie House owns breakfast in this part of town, and it is not using its power wisely. Everything on Chow, Baby’s pork chop & eggs breakfast ($6.75) was hours old; one could have built pre-fab housing with the rock-hard hash browns, using the cream gravy for cement. Hedgehog-head’s sunnyside-up eggs ($4.50 with meat and hash browns), cooked to order, were fine; but the barely-warm Eckrich smoked sausage had been sitting under the lamps a while. And the big sin – remember, this was at breakfast – not a single offer of a coffee refill.
On the other side of town, where Chow, Baby’s morning-electroshock hair can hide from the neighbors, is the Day Break Café at I-30 and Las Vegas Trail. Though it’s no longer run by the same folks who own the wonderful Day Break on White Settlement Road, it has pretty much the same menu of burritos, tacos, burgers, and Tex-Mex lunch plates. Here Chow, Baby’s pork chop breakfast cost only $4.29, including recently scrambled eggs, highly edible hash browns, and six or seven coffee refills. That’s more like it.
The brain pump now coffee-primed, Chow, Baby was able to recall one of the lessons of this job: Restaurants close, restaurants open – just be patient; the breakfast burrito will come. Sure enough, the brand-new El Tepeyac (4063 E. Lancaster Av.) counters Dixie House’s bland American homecooking with savory Mexico City homecooking in a no-frills diner. For breakfast, the Dominguezes serve huge breakfast tamales ($1.15), burritos ($4.49), and various meats con heuvos ($4.49) with a special smile for apparent Fight Club extras with dazed eyes and wild hair. At lunch and dinner, all the Tex-Mex standards are there – fajitas, enchiladas, flautas – and pretty cheap, but more interesting are the real Mexico City-style plates like the enchiladas de pollo ($6.95), topped with verde sauce and Mexican cheese. Tacos, gorditas, sopes, tortas, and burritos ($1.25-$5.50) are stuffed with whatever meat you choose (it’s a tough choice) from the list of grilled and roasted yummies and loaded with fresh fixings. Menudo on the weekends, natch.
This puts Chow, Baby in the awkward position of hoping that El Tepeyac never becomes popular and successful. It would be terrible if the Dominguezes no longer had time to greet (and remember) their customers, if they raised their prices, if they started assembly-line-making their breakfast burritos rather than building fresh to order. And no more coffee refills? For the not-yet-quite-awake, that would be a nightmare.
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