Chow, Baby: Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Rise & Whine

New rule: No more eating at places whose front-door “Help Wanted” sign appears to be a permanent fixture. At Rise & Shine (1815 W. Pioneer Pky., Arlington), this omen presaged the harried hostess’ surly-snapped “Sit anywhere,” forcing a choice between the never-seen-a-mop section with spilled tea and ice in the middle of it (dangerous), the section with used plates and napkins spread over each table (gross), and the section with crusty egg bits underneath all the tables (Chow, Baby would have lost its breakfast if it had had any yet). We went for the dirty napkins.
Things got better fast, though. After a quick table-clear, Sandi hey-honned us with a smile, hot coffee, and Rise & Shine’s famous menu of, among other breakfast and lunch items, 54 varieties of omelets ($4-$5.75). (There really are 54 — of course Chow, Baby counted — if you include the ones that no sane person would order, like cottage cheese & onion.) Apparently the kitchen is fully staffed: The omelets come out fast and are always perfectly cooked, not too wet, not too dry, with wonderfully just-gooey cheese; the three-eggers jostle for plate space with a heap of crispy hash browns and crumbly biscuits glued together by Rise & Shine’s thick, peppery, homestyle cream gravy. Though Rise & Shine has prices, atmosphere, and salt-of-the-earth clientele similar to that at Pitt Grill and Waffle House, the preparation and certainly the portion sizes are a cut above. Chow, Baby couldn’t quite finish its breakfast and only for a brief second considered helping out the scurrying waitresses — no busboys were in sight — by hiding the remainder under the table.

George of the Tingle
Chow, Baby’s regular marketing day, Monday, always begins with a trip to George’s Specialty Foods (4424 White Settlement Rd.). When, oh when, will Chow, Baby learn that George’s is closed on Mondays? Luckily that curvy stretch of White Settlement starting at Tres Joses is one of the Chowbabymobile’s favorite short runs, because it usually takes Chow, Baby a couple of late-afternoon attempts to remember that on the days George’s is open (Tues.-Sat.), it closes at 4pm.
But George’s is always worth the trip(s) — most of its imported grocery items are not just cheaper than Central Market, they’re cheaper than Target. It’s a fact. And on top of Thursday-early-afternoon’s (finally!) saving-money tingle was a new-item tingle: George’s now carries paprika-y Portuguese chorizo ($4.99/lb), which Chow, Baby fell in love with at Chapa Grill a couple of months ago and with several years’ practice might learn to fry up nearly as tastily. If that weren’t enough excitement, George’s small menu of Greek appetizers, sandwiches, salads, and baklava ($1.65) now includes a real gyro ($5.79), with the spiced beef and lamb carved off the cutest little spit you’ve ever seen, not even a foot high, then piled on a thick pita with tzatziki sauce and tomatoes. And so on this beautiful spring day Chow, Baby snacked and lounged at one of George’s sidewalk tables while the helpful staff loaded up the Chowbabymobile with orzo, olives, pine nuts, goat cheese, olive oil, chopped tomatoes in a box, and more — whoops. When, oh when, will Chow, Baby learn that George’s takes cash and checks only? Whew, here’s a five-spot under the car seat; just made it. See you next Monday!
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