Man, this new color-coded, sortable Places to Eat List rocks. Chow, Baby, who is building a new bookcase even though it’s not really allowed to play with power tools, had to take a minor boo-boo to its fave doc-in-the-box, Lake Worth Minor Emergency. Of course excruciating pain is no deterrent to planning one’s post-doc meal, so Sort 1: Far Northwest. And it was a cold, dreary day, so Sort 2: Hot & Hearty. And that’s all it took for Chow, Baby and its nattily bandaged left thumb to land at Dos Pericos (6334 Lake Worth Blvd., Lake Worth).

dos-logoOf course the old-fashioned “looking around” method of finding an eatery would have worked, too, as Dos Pericos is in the same shopping center (Albertson’s) as the nice docs. It’s next door to a Cici’s Pizza, which is usually not a good sign, plus Lake Worth is not famous for decent Mexican anyway, so Chow, Baby’s expectations were near rock bottom. But that’s often a good thing. Objectively the silky guacamole ($3.99) and the nicely herbed queso ($2.99) ranked about 7 on a 1-to-10 scale, but more important perception-wise, they beat the spread by six points. Wow, these aren’t even close to terrible! That makes them fantastic!


Unfortunately the math also works in reverse. Now anticipating a 7 from every Dos Pericos dish, Chow, Baby dug into an enchilada combo ($5.99), which consisted of some naked pork chunks tucked into one tortilla and naked avocado chunks tucked into another, all covered with a slimy-weird no-kick poblano sauce. Good rice and beans brought the plate up to maybe a 4, which equates to a disappointment factor of at least 3 (“bummer”).

But the Riscky’s-style décor is comfy, and you can’t beat the location (if you’re already right there). Toting up the plusses and minuses, with extra weight to triple-plus service from René, Chow, Baby will give Dos Pericos one and a half thumbs up. Which is all it has at the moment anyway.


Better Than a 10

In all areas of life (though of course Chow, Baby is specifically thinking about online dating), super-high expectations mostly just doom you to disenchantment. But what can you do? Expectations are personal and intuitive; even a sensible inner voice can’t make you consciously ramp them down. The argument raged inside Chow, Baby’s head for several minutes outside the always-excellent Pop’s Safari (2929 Morton St.) – “I feel 9,” “Pretend it’s 6,” “Can’t help it, it’s 9,” “Get used to disappointment.” Like that would be new.

But high-hoping Chow, Baby wasn’t disappointed, not at all. The cigar-smoky, men’s-clubby Pop’s Safari is – let’s just plagiarize from Chow, Baby’s favorite foodie blog, Fort Worth Hole in the Wall: “If Marlin Perkins blew up, this would be the resulting scene.” Lots of dead animals on the walls, that is. Like his predecessor chefs, new (well, a year now) kitchen master Richard Wilkes has a way with the wild: a starter of boar sausage ($13) had a subtle jalapeño kick, plus tingles of fennel and thyme; blackberry sauce for dipping was the perfect sweet counterpoint. Chow, Baby’s buffalo burger ($9) was cooked just right (still juicy, or at least as juicy as buffalo can be) and topped with a mustard-blue cheese swirl that made every bite a mélange of gamey, tangy, pungent, umami happiness. It left 9 in the dust. Hello, 11.

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