Dear Friends and Family,
We had some sadness and some gladness this year. The sadness, of course, is that some of Chow, Baby’s faves closed down, among them Escargot, Fizzi, Jon’s Backyard BBQ, Sensational Tony’s, and weird-taco-bistro Giant. The gladness part: Great chefs, cooks, and restaurateurs tend to resurface. Some already have (Blade Haddock with Goodnight Loving in Weatherford, Bobby Albanese with Piola); the rest have Chow, Baby’s e-mail address (it’s down there at the bottom of the page). Let us know where you are.
You’ve seen the “Come Back, Tourists” ads featuring Wynton Marsalis, John Goodman, and some people who actually live in New Orleans; Chow, Baby is now ready to join the celebrity-endorsement club. Three reasons: The St. Charles streetcar is running again – and any time you can avoid driving in the Crescent City (the streets don’t go straight, see) is a good time. Two, Dooky Chase, one of the greatest Creole/soul food restaurants in the world (Ray Charles wrote a song about it!), was up to doing take-out by Thanksgiving and planning to open the dining room any day now. And three, Camellia Grill, the 1940s diner in the Greek Revival building, has reopened and still has the best omelets you can imagine. So y’all come back. Now.
Our Big Move
The Weekly has new offices! (Actually the move was in summer 2006, but they didn’t tell Chow, Baby about it until recently.) And what a great neighborhood (Arlington Heights): Right within walking distance on West Seventh Street is Four Star Coffee Bar (fabulous herbed chicken salad sandwich, $6.25); Milano’s (homey Italian lunch specials, $5.50 and $7.50), Tommy’s (crispy catfish basket, $7.99), and Michael’s, the place to go when the boss is treating (melt-in-the-mouth 6-oz. tenderloin filet, $21.50, and a shout-out to Dawn, Chow, Baby’s latest server-crush). A few more blocks in one direction for smoked chicken fettuccini (lunch $11.95) at Piola, 3700 Mattison Av.; after work, a few blocks in the other for filetto alla David ($21.95) and Johnny Case on the piano at Sardines (509 University Dr.). And it’s a quick run to George’s Specialty Foods (4424 White Settlement Rd.), which is on its third or fourth resurrection but still looks and tastes the same as ever (dolmas, $1.20 each).
Our Wish List
Ooh, maybe some Askinoie artisan chocolate, available at the Covey (3010 S. Hulen St.). Oh, wishes for others. Well, Chow, Baby already got one free for “review purposes,” but maybe another traveling foodie in your life would enjoy Where the Locals Eat: The 100 Best Restaurants in the Top 50 Cities. With only a couple of cringing exceptions (Joe T. Garcia’s? Wingstop?), the Fort Worth chapter might have been taken directly from the Weekly’s Best-Of pages, not that Chow, Baby is making any formal accusations about web-roaming bots or anything. For the most part, it’s a handy list of neighborhood joints, new places, and old reliables that, here’s an idea, we could all support in the slow post-holiday season. Heck, support them even if they aren’t on the list. Then maybe Chow, Baby can get its Xmas wish: not to start off next year’s letter mourning lost faves.
Best holiday wishes to your family from ours – Chow, Baby, the beloved, and (since Chow, Baby is one of those “my cats are my children” people) Ivy, Jaco, and Kuusi Neurotica
Contact Chow, Baby at firstname.lastname@example.org.