Unfortunately for Chow, Baby’s “take any U.S. highway out of town” fallback for finding yummy dining, the stretch of Business Highway 287 that is Saginaw Boulevard is populated mostly by fast-food chains. But a few exceptions are sprinkled around Saginaw – motto: “A City on the Right Track!” Get it? ‘Cause it’s on the train tracks!

(Another cool thing Chow, Baby learned on the city web site: If you pay your outstanding warrants before March 31, they’ll take $50 off each one! Now that’s a great place to raise a family.) The promisingly named Hometown Café was dark at 7 p.m., when Chow, Baby was cruising the strip, but there’s also an indie-appearing Joey’s Italian, a branch of Pulido’s, a Chinese buffet, and several donut shops. The “Let’s go there!” shout came at the huge yellowish twisted-smiley-face sign, like Tweety Bird would look if either it or Chow, Baby were on acid; it marks the home of Texas Pit Bar-B-Q (324 S. Saginaw Blvd., Saginaw). The saliva-inducing hickory-smoke aroma wafting out to the highway helped, too.

Owner Leon Adams has impressive ‘cue credentials; he worked at Angelo’s and Railhead before opening Texas Pit a couple of years ago. You can see the influence in the décor, a barnlike structure filled with good ol’ boys, whimsical signage, and patron photos. Of course, Texas Pit is cozier than the old-timers. And cheaper. It also has better food. Granted, that’s a matter of personal preference; Chow, Baby happens to prefer skin-on, thick-cut fries, mustard-spiked housemade potato salad (without too many onions), and pepper-doctored canned green beans.

And Chow, Baby happens to like its veggies piled alongside big, meaty, fall-apart ribs (plate $9.99); juicy brisket with a nice crisp edge and red smoke ring (plate $7.89); and mounds of succulent chopped pork (plate $6.95). Texas Pit’s zingy-yet-sweetish barbecue sauce is also to Chow, Baby’s taste – the meats didn’t need any more flavor or moisture, but Texas toast was on hand for sopping up the good sauce. If all that, chased by a root beer float made with Blue Bell ice cream and served in a schooner ($2.95), sounds too good to be true, just follow the tracks to Saginaw.


Opa Sofa

In case anyone was wondering: Chow, Baby’s months-long sofa search is finally over. Unclaimed Freight Co., of all places, had not one, not two, but four couches in colors, styles, no-contrasting-piping-ness, and prices that perfectly fit Chow, Baby’s exacting requirements. (It helped that Chow, Baby’s co-buyer/co-sitter caved on all points.) To cap the great day, the celebratory lunch at down-the-street Gyros House (720 W. Division St., Arlington) featured the combo plate ($6.25) of Chow, Baby’s dreams: Greek salad with lots of feta; spit-cooked beef and lamb gyros meat; falafel that still had some green inside (so many places fry them to golf-ball consistency); thin but tasty hummus; and warm sliced pita bread.

The only thing it was missing was dolmas, easily resolved with a side order ($1.99) of the cold, rice-stuffed grape leaves. Well, the plate was missing housemade baklava, too, but not for long. Some might have trouble choosing from the four delectable varieties – pistachio, walnut, cashew, and pine nut (79-99 cents) – but not Chow, Baby, who decisively ordered one of each. Not a good approach for couch buying, by the way.

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