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!

FW Axe Factory Rectangle

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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