No question about it, Chow, Baby has the best job in the world. (Ha-ha.) But sometimes the grass seems greener on the other side of the cubicle wall.

It’s not so much that other critics get review copies of fun stuff (books, CDs, DVDs, things that claim to be sex toys but it’s difficult to see how … never mind) in the mail every single day, whereas Chow, Baby got sent exactly one promo item in all of last year: a jug of New Orleans-style iced coffee from N.O. Brew. No, the envy is because their review copies last forever. The cold-drip brew was quite tasty, almost as good as the New Orleans-style iced coffee the beloved whips up fresh for Chow, Baby every morning – but once it was gone, it was gone. Yeah, our music critics can listen to bands who broke up in the last century, and our film critic can watch Moulin Rouge as many times as he wants (17 at last count) even though it left the theaters seven years ago. But when something Chow, Baby loves calls it quits, Chow, Baby is left all alone with its empty-tummy memories.


True, Chow, Baby could go to Whole Foods and get another jug of iced coffee. But it can’t go to Gianni’s in Watauga for an ultra-thin portabella and prosciutto pizza with olio e aglio sauce, can it? No. Because Gianni’s closed last year. Actually, urban snob Chow, Baby is surprised the marvelous bistro lasted as long as it did – come on, gourmet pizza in this Pizza Hut terrain? Doomed. New occupant OC Burgers (6300 Denton Hwy.), with its menu of half-pounders, Tex-Mex plates, huge California burritos, and fried dinners, is much more to neighborhood tastes.

Chow, Baby’s half-pound bacon-cheeseburger with cheese fries – the sweet child at the counter apologized for the cheese on the fries being shredded instead of Whiz – was charbroiled to order and nicely seasoned (combo $5.99). Add-ons are fresh and a bargain: The beloved’s California avocado burger ($5.59) was treated to blue cheese ($1 for lots) and jalapeños (50 cents for a bunch), plus a side of cumin-y chili-cheese fries. Nothing subtle or arty here; it’s your basic fat-American food with better prices and service than a chain. For that matter, wouldn’t surprise Chow, Baby a bit if OC Burgers grew into a suburban chain itself. It’s that good/bad.

The closing of Jon’s Backyard Bar-B-Que in Haltom City did catch Chow, Baby by surprise last summer; shoulda stocked up on smoked pork loin when we had the chance. But the great cycle of restaurant life continues: The new occupant of the smell-good shack is Bubba’s Backyard BBQ & Stuff (4601 Broadway Av., Haltom City). Bubba doesn’t do loin, but his meats mostly hit the high bar Jon set: lovely-ringed, fall-apart brisket (plate $7.99), its slight dryness soothed with vinegary Bubba-made sauce; extra-smoky sausage (sandwich $3.50); small but meaty ribs ($9.75/lb). The side stand-out was creamy-chunky Bubba-made potato salad ($1.25). Chow, Baby’s favorite purchase, though, was a Bubba’s BBQ t-shirt ($11), with the motto “It Don’t Have to Be Big to Be Good” (that refers to the shack size, not portion size, which is ample). In case of disaster, it’s a longer-lasting memento than rich chocolate cake with walnuts ($2).

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