How 'Bout Them Knockers: Skillman Wok/Border Express

Skillman Wok
18900 Dallas Parkway

Promised delivery time: 40 minutes
Actual delivery time: 30 minutes (on the dot)

The Score
Knieval-like daring-do of ordering Tex-Mex from a Chinese kitchen: 35
Implied authenticity of a franchise called Skillman Wok: -18
Suspicion that owner made delivery: -6
Fine print that excuses surprise menu/price changes: -3
Speed of delivery (minus cold food factor): 1
Equivalent of a large bag of chips for $1.75: 25
Living through the experience: 20

Total: 54

Overall Standings

Chef House 79
Panda Delite 78
Skillman Wok/Border Express 54

See the final 2008 standings here.

There are a couple of rules--unwritten but solemnly acknowledged--that govern the behavior of all men. Guys like Patton and Tracy (Spencer, but Dick understood them, as well), Washington, Rockne and Eastwood all lived according to their precepts--namely, never refuse a shot and never back down from a double dog dare.

When you see a place with the unlikely name of Skillman Wok fronting a strip center far from Skillman, promising to deliver tacos and enchiladas...well, you gotta take the dare, otherwise you risk driving an economical car and spending game days at the mall.

OK, so telling an Asian guy on the phone you need a big plate of tacos, the tamale platter, chips and salsa is a little strange--a feeling compounded when someone who sounds like the very same guy appears on your doorstep, paper sack in hand. Then again, he was ten minutes early. But the tacos felt like they spend much of the afternoon in a refrigerator, the mound of simulated Spanish rice also cooled noticeably and the grey plop of Ro-Tel quality beans...the whole thing just adds to that initial sense of unease.

At least they wrapped the tamales in foil--as well as actual husks. It was about the only welcome, restaurant-quality touch about an entree of pasteboard masa and spicy chalk con carne.

There's a minimum charge to qualify for free delivery, so ultimately it's an expensive way to buy a bag of pretty good chips--heated, seeping oil and flecked with large grains of salt--and decent commercial salsa. But it's worth the cold soggy tacos and all that other crap to reaffirm your male self-esteem (there are other words for this, too) by living up to centuries of tradition.

After all, you always have to ask yourself: WWPD? That's What Would Patton Do?--and you know he would scarf up the entire platter, without complaint.

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Dave Faries
Contact: Dave Faries