You know, Chow, Baby goes to all this trouble creating mania-inspired color-coded lists and sub-lists, and yet not once has anyone written in to ask, “Say, Chow, Baby, where’s a good, cheap place to eat near LaGrave Field?” Or Cowboys Stadium, or Texas Motor Speedway. So Chow, Baby is officially announcing the dissolution of its Eateries Near Sports Areneries sub-list (for purposes of this whine only, we count NASCAR as a sport), not that anyone will notice or care.

tacosNot that sports-hating Chow, Baby cares, either. Taco Loco’s location (930 N. Collins Ave., Arlington) right across the street from Cowboys Stadium is not a plus; it means that thanks to frequent traffic disruptions, Chow, Baby can’t get cinnamony homemade horchata ($2.25, served in a stainless steel cup so it stays cold) as often as it likes. And Chow, Baby still hasn’t had a chance to try any of Taco Loco’s almost-certainly-yummy plates, like mole en pollo ($7.75) and camarones rancheros ($11). That’s because it’s so easy to fill up on Taco Loco’s antojitos, snacks like you’d find on a Mexican street cart: gorditas (meat pies, $1.75), sincronizadas (ham and Oaxaca cheese quesadillas, $4), gringas (carne al pastor and Oaxaca cheese quesadillas, $6), and, oh, those tacos ($1.25) — favorites to date are the spit-grilled al pastor (pork), the rich barbacoa (beef cheek), and the shrimp in salsa, a regular special.

The menu doesn’t have much English, and neither do the owners/cooks, but there’s often one of those handy universal translator devices around (a 5- to 9-year-old relative). Doesn’t matter. Just point and mumble — the menu does have a few pictures — and you’ll wind up with an insanely delicious meal. Check it out next time you’re not going to a Cowboys game.



Lovin’ Molly

Oh, where’s that quote from M.F.K. Fisher that Chow, Baby’s been saving for just such an occasion — here it is: “I’m not here just to eat.” Well, that’s kind of a letdown after all that file-searching. And it might not even be accurate, as Chow, Baby didn’t note a source (“read somewhere”). No matter; it supports Chow, Baby’s long-standing belief that food is only one component of a pleasant dining experience –– and not always the most important one.

Case in point: Molly’s Burgers (804 S. Crowley Rd., Crowley; also Keller and Arlington). Chow, Baby’s bacon-and-egg burger (1/3 lb., $5.89) and the beloved’s blue-cheese burger (1/3 lb., $5.39) were notable for their lovely texture combinations (crispy bacon with gooey egg; melting blue cheese against crunchy-edged toasted bun). Sides of fried pickles and onion rings ($1.99 each) were freshly battered and fried. Nothing to bring Food Network a-running but perfectly satisfying.

Prices, another important component, were appropriate, but clearly no interior designers were harmed in the making of this décor: James Dean posters and 1940s cooking utensils on landlord-white walls. No, what makes this place special is not the food, price, or décor but rather the enthusiasm of the employees. Cook Andy deserted his grill several times to monitor our enjoyment levels, and server Alex was so pumped up about the menu (freshmade millionaire pie, $1.99), the restaurant, and indeed life itself that he nearly inspired Chow, Baby to try to be a better person. That, in Chow, Baby’s view, makes Molly’s a winner and worth repeated trips.

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