Chow, Baby’s psychotherapist father did his children a great disservice by teaching us, early on, about Jung’s shadow theory.
Being five at the time, wee Chow, Baby didn’t get all the nuances, but mainly came away with the concept that if you don’t like somebody, it’s your own damn fault. Because what offends you about the other person is really the same things you dislike about yourself, if you only had the self-awareness to see them.
That’s why Chow, Baby was standing in the cracker aisle at the Montgomery Plaza Target for 50 minutes trying to sort out its Rachael Ray issues. The main complaint on the internal couch: “Bad enough that she’s barging into my territory (Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Southlake Williams-Sonoma, signing copies of her new cookbook, Just in Time: All-New 30-Minute Meals), but now I have to look at her Joker smile all over my Triscuit boxes?
Argh!” Clearly, most of Chow, Baby’s distaste for this woman is simple self-loathing transference – who else do you know who has a silly hyperenthusiasm for olive oil, cutesy-poo terms for everything, a misspelled first name, and a reverie-inducing wholesome sexiness? Look in the mirror, Baby. But self-charges of jealousy are off the mark. Though of course it could if it wanted to, Chow, Baby has no desire to become famous and wealthy by writing best-selling cookbooks or hosting a TV show or launching a magazine about quick, yum-o meals.
Why should it, when just a couple of blocks from Target anybody can get a great 30-minute meal served by a smiling Rachel (spelled correctly) at the M&O Station Grill (200 Carroll St.)? Rachel’s parents, Danny and Rose Badillo, owned and operated 7th Street Station Grill for four years until development drove them to move here, to the Leonard’s Department Store Museum building – Leonard’s was before Chow, Baby’s time, but the M&O subway between the store and its parking lot was a big part of Chow, Baby’s lunch date’s happy childhood (his dad was not a psychotherapist), so Chow, Baby got to hear a lot about it. Chow, Baby did its own nostalgia-waxing over grillmeister Danny’s half-pound griddled burgers ($6.49-$8.75), now gussy-up-able with blue cheese, poblano peppers and guac, or the fabulous house chili. And the thick, skin-on fries.
Sadly, Danny’s famous chicken livers are absent; other than burgers, the menu is mostly ladies-who-lunch salads (chicken, tuna, Cobb, grilled chicken, $7.99-$8.39) and sandwiches (the salads on sourdough, rye, or whole wheat, $6.95 and up). Everything Chow, Baby tried was great, with hardly any celery, but the real charmer was the pie of the week ($3.95), an amazing apple-caramel sprinkled with pecans. Of course the always-available housemade banana pudding ($3.95) is a great back-up choice.
In addition to keeping all that was good about 7th Street Station (except the chicken livers), the Badillos also improved the areas that weren’t quite working for them (kind of like successful psychotherapy!). M&O Station is lovely, a bright and pretty diner with walls of sky blue, mint, and chocolate sporting photos of the old M&O subway. Lunch and dinner, the place is already packed with fans old and new, including (in both categories) Chow, Baby, who loves M&O for its great taste, good looks, and honest charm – obviously, another case of transference.
Contact Chow, Baby at firstname.lastname@example.org.