By Kaitlin Steinberg
By Minh T Truong
By Molly Dunn
By Brooke Viggiano
By Kaitlin Steinberg
By Molly Dunn
By Molly Dunn
By Eating Our Words
It's not hard to find a food truck in Austin; in fact, there were two others on that particular block in downtown Austin that night, but neither had the line Chi'Lantro had, and as I ate everything with reckless abandon, I knew I would wait in line regularly if I were a local. I had dreams of the bulgogi tacos and giant burritos after that trip, and I've often visited the Oh My Gogi! truck for my Korean Mexican fix. But the memory of that night stayed with me, so when I heard Chi'Lantro was coming to Houston, I had to see if reality matched my memory.
I tracked the truck down the day it was parked on Washington and Moy. Unlike my first experience, there was no mob of people. I ordered the same items I did that first time — the bulgogi tacos and a Seoul burrito with chicken.
The tacos ($5) come two to an order. Served on corn tortillas, they are filled with meat topped with lettuce, shredded cabbage, onions and cilantro, what they call Chi'Lantro salsa and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. The meat was flavorful and the lettuce and cabbage crisp, but the salsa wasn't what I had remembered. It wasn't the sweetness that my palate recalled; there was more of a smoky heat. There wasn't anything bad to say about it; I just expected more and better.
Where the tacos didn't quite live up to my heightened expectations, the burrito brought me back to that night. The burritos here are huge, and at $5 are quite a deal. A flour tortilla is filled with meat, the requisite cilantro, onions, lettuce and cabbage, Chi'lantro salsa, lime buttered rice, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses and a fried egg — and yes, the egg comes standard. The cheese melts into the rice, which mixes in with the egg yolk, which meshes with the salsa, into a pile of ooey-gooey goodness. This is what I had been waiting for. The only thing that would have made this better would have been kimchi. You have to add it to all the items except for the fries for an additional 50 cents, but I didn't know that until after the fact.
Other menu offerings include quesadillas, rice bowls and a bulgogi burger. Chi'Lantro's Web site also boasts that they are original creators of kimchi fries. I have to say I've been enjoying Oh My Gogi's quite a bit, so this is the next item I'll be trying — perhaps this calls for a food battle?
Breaking It Down
Does Dallas-Fort Worth Have the Worst Tippers in the State?
Recently, Eater alerted the great foodie masses to a Web site called Lousy Tippers that contains a pretty scary database of the nation's worst tippers.
"There is a consequence," the site preaches ominously from its header. Call it the ultimate form of societal pressure to make sure you leave a gratuity for your server, because if you don't...you may just see yourself listed among the "asshole who owns a bar" and "regulars who tip lousy" in the great database of stiffers. Or, worse, called out as an entire corporation: The list even accuses the Sherman office of Texas Instruments of ordering "over a grand in pizza" with "no tip for either driver."
Eater noted, rightfully, that the database itself is incredibly shitty for a number of reasons: It lists customers' names, phone numbers and home addresses in many cases, and the comments left by servers on the non-tippers range from racist to xenophobic. The servers even include details on how they screwed with customers' food:
"Your tea is 1/4 my piss." "Another customer that deserves the shit we do to his food." "You must love my spit because you eat it all the time."
Waiting was right, as always, about the cardinal rule of eating in a restaurant: Don't fuck with people who handle your food.
And while it's true that the database is pretty scummy for listing full names and addresses, it's also an interesting tool with which to gauge diners' propensity for failing to leave propinas. So which city in Texas ranks the worst according to Lousy Tippers' database?
Red Oak, a suburb of about 4,300 people just south of Dallas, racked up the highest number of non-tippers in the database at a staggering 32. That may not seem like a lot, but the second-highest ranking city in the database was Dallas itself — a city of more than a million people — which had only 27 offenders in the database.
Dallas was also the highest ranking major city in Texas with the worst tippers: Houston was the lowest with only five offenders listed, San Antonio had eight and Austin had 15.
Taken as a whole, the entire DFW metroplex seems to be a wretched hive of of non-tipping scum and villainy. Out of the entire database, most towns and cities with offenders were suburbs of the greater metroplex, for a total of 69 non-tippers in Dallas suburbs: