Stuck on my craw

Pub date March 29, 2011
WriterL.E. Leone
SectionCheap Eats

CHEAP EATS Finally! Business as usual, here at Cheap Eats. But before I start talking about sports, there’s a little more I want to say about the poop in Coach’s garage.

It came with a few sheets of toilet paper on top. And when her landlord found it he said, “Hey, was there a dog running around in the garage?” I stayed in the house while Coach went out to see for herself. She was pretty sure that dogs didn’t use toilet paper, she said.

Then they both cleaned it up, and Coach started down that long, rocky road to forgetfulness. You know, at first I was on her side, but now it’s one week later and she keeps bringing it up. So I guess that means I’ll keep writing about it.

Blame Papa for not letting us talk about football last night, over sushi.

We lost 32-6. Speaking of shit. Maybe that had something to do with why Papa, our Center, didn’t want to talk about it. Actually, 32-6 was less than we expected to lose by. This would have been the first time in sports history that a 32-6 loss went down as a “moral victory” — except for one minor problem: they only had six players, and we had 14.

Athleticism is a wonderful thing to watch, even when you are covered in mud with cleat marks in your cheek. I’m not saying that’s what happened. We play on turf, so I was covered in little black turf balls with cleat marks in my cheek.

You know how they say that winning isn’t everything? Well, neither is losing. Traditionally.

We might change that, but in the meantime the troops remain optimistic and cheerful. My favorite moment was watching our quarterback chasing down yet another interceptor, late in the game, while laughing her head off.

She’s a rugby player. We may be the most bad-assedly bad team in the league, if not sports. We have a couple field hockey players, two to three soccer players, a basketball star, and maybe a little softball experience. But only two of us have ever played American football outside of bed and/or high school gym class.

We will have our day. It just might not be in my own personal lifetime.

After the trouncing, I made the mistake of going to Rockin’ Crawfish on Lake Merritt with the de la Cooter fambly. As if I didn’t already know what it means. To miss New Orleans.

While I was there — down South, that is — I kept sending pictures to Crawdad de la Cooter’s mister, Mr. Crawdad de la Cooter, of all the wonderful things I was eating, which included of course fried oyster po’ boys with bacon and cheese, and even more of course, crawfish etouffe, crawfish pie, and crawfish.

First he kind of begged me for mercy. Then he gave up on mercy and wrote me about a place they found in Oakland with “passable boiled crawfish.” When he brought it up again, upon my reentry, I thought he was trying to be helpful. I should have known he was plotting his revenge.

Passable? Maybe, if you haven’t been anywhere near Louisiana for at least four years. Mere days after feasting on Kjean’s with Cherry, B.B., and Hedgehog … forget about it.

I love Cajun. I love Asian. I love fusion. Authenticity means nothing to me. Berkeley has better Chicago pizza than Chicago, and the best pizza I ever ate was in Germany. I’d pit Just For You’s po’ boys against any I had in New Orleans.

Rockin’ Crawfish … just … doesn’t. Like Red, here in the city, it’s like they’re trying too hard. They crash the garlic over your head and blast you with hot sauce. And I love both those things but don’t associate either one with great crawfish.

The ones I was making love to last couple months, they don’t give you five choices. They come one way, with a subtle, more blended and complex zing to them.

It ain’t fair, I know. I should have waited four years. Anyway, I’m here. Sigh. My new favorite restaurant?


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211 Foothill, Oakl.

(510) 251-1657


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