Chow, Baby: Wednesday, October 29, 2008
T for Trying

Ooh, Chow, Baby got served! The challenge came via Jason, a former co-worker who is now a rocket scientist at Lockheed Martin. This is one typical career progression for Weekly staffers; since the other option for aging journalists is (hairball-spitting-up sound) public relations, Chow, Baby is committed to Plan C, the most common: staying in the same job until we rot. Sorry, interns. Anyway, Jason called to say that his co-rocket scientist, name of Andy, double-dog-dared Chow, Baby to finish one of Nuthouse Grill’s two-pound burgers. You are so on, Andy.
Nuthouse Sports Bar & Grill (2300 Matlock Rd.) is in a strip mall in Mansfield that looks so much like a strip mall anywhere, particularly Hurst, that Chow, Baby was seriously confused for a moment. Inside, though, it’s like those 1950s Texas homecooking places you see speckled around dying state highways: wooden booths, neighborhood ads on the menu, page after page of battered-’n’-fried appetizers (“Dillywiggers,” a.k.a. fried pickles, $5.99), and, though she was younger than average and not chain-smoking, a very pleasant and attentive waitress. She didn’t even blink — in retrospect, that’s a bit insulting — when Chow, Baby ordered the two-pound “Danny’s Big Boy” ($19.99), a reasonably thick, dinner-plate-size burger on an 11-inch toasted sourdough bun that could easily feed a family of five with enough left over for the dog. If you finish the whole thing by yourself within an hour, not only is the burger free but you get an “I Ate Danny’s Big Boy” t-shirt, an irresistible incentive given that one of Chow, Baby’s best friends is named Danny. With all that on the line, though, the waitress wouldn’t give Chow, Baby any tips about whether ’tis better to eat slow or fast, just matter-of-factly started the clock: 2:45 p.m.
In physical preparation, Chow, Baby had skipped breakfast, morning snack, lunch, and after-lunch snack; mentally, Chow, Baby had planned to think of its challenge not as two pounds of hamburger but as two 16-ounce rib-eyes, which it can chow down with both hands tied behind its back if somebody else is there to cut off bite-size pieces. That imagery turned out not to be necessary because, all gimmicks aside, Danny’s Big Boy is a seriously good burger, juicy and flavorful, and topped with gooey cheddar ($2.50 extra, but remember that’s five people and a dog’s worth) and all the fresh fixin’s. Chow, Baby most likely could have eaten this whole burger just on its merits, were it not for the extras Nuthouse threw in: a whole heap of hot, crispy, McDonald’s-style fries plus another heap of hand-battered onion rings. Most unfair, particularly the highly addictive onion rings, which brought Chow, Baby down just past the one-pound mark. Failure.
But when Chow, Baby asked innocently — certainly not with any fantasy of showing up at Lockheed’s gates wearing only an “I Ate Danny’s Big Boy” t-shirt to (deceitfully) perform a high-kicking victory dance before Jason and Andy — if it could buy one of the shirts, the waitress kindly gave up one for free! (She probably wasn’t supposed to do this. Don’t get her into trouble by begging for one after eating a measly fifth of the burger pie.) Not surprisingly, it’s available only in XXL — a little big on Chow, Baby now, but probably just right after it finishes the rest of this delicious monster.

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