Pub date October 17, 2006
WriterL.E. Leone
SectionCheap EatsSectionFood & Drink

CHEAP EATS The idea of love at first sight is a ridiculous thing to me. Most people I love long before I ever see them. In fact, if I’m not already in love with you, try taking your knife out of my back and calling an ambulance.
You don’t believe me. I don’t expect you to! I don’t believe me either or you or anything. All I do is see and say. And by see I mean see and feel and hear and taste shit and yeah, by way of a Purpose in Life, try and tell you about it.
For me and Orange Pop #2’s second date we went to my new favorite restaurant, Penny’s Caribbean Café. But I already reviewed it, so here’s a poem:

You can love the world
so so much yet know that
no matter how ultimately it embraces
you, it won’t, can’t return

your box of chocolates

So you hope to find
instead a person
maybe loves the world
as much as you do

or more even, and
you can play together
in a darkened room
while outside, without knocking

the earth sends flowers

That’s my poem. Remember Orange Pop #2? She got some gigs personal chefing around San Rafael and might sometimes need an assistant. So she said she was going to get me a chef’s shirt with Daniella on it.
I pointed out that technically my name is Danielle.
“I like Daniella,” she said.
Me too. She’s the boss. Sometimes, on her days off, we eat at places, talk about food and boys and whether to put the chicken in the soup before or after the water gets hot. And she showed me how to make a tart.
One day Orangey called and asked how I make chicken with rice and tomatoes, because that was what The Man wanted for dinner. I was ashamed to say how simple it was, so I made up some extra steps, like breading and browning the chicken first, and sautéing stuff and reserving this and clarifying that, and the next day she said her client loved it. “Really?” I said. I didn’t tell her (until now I guess) that normally I just throw everything in a pot, put the lid on, and wait for dinner to happen. Out of curiosity, I cooked it up the cockamamie way I’d told her to do, and it came out inedible. But I’m pretty sure that was because the expiration-date chicken I’d bought was bad.
Anyway, this time she had a cute little café in Larkspur to take me to. The Tabla Café, which I loved. Restaurants are just like people to me, except the menu is easier to read. Salads. Soups. Drinks. The Tabla’s specialty is dosas, and they’re great. They’re crepes made from rice flour and dal and wrapped around whatever you want, like scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, chicken, turkey, mushrooms…. I had to have the last one on the list because it was lamb meatballs and I liked the sound of that. It was 10 bucks, but it was big enough to feed two people if you get a salad or something else, which we did — a green one with candied walnuts and vinaigrette ($7.50).
OK, so we split all that and it was delicious. The meatballs were great, punctuated with pickled onions and cabbage and drizzled with tahini. The dosas come with a choice of dip-intos, including avocado orange salsa, apple ginger salsa, raita, and peach chutney. The chutney was good, but the dosa didn’t even need it, really.
Nice place. Like everything else in the North Bay, it’s in a plaza, but — small, bright, airy, arty, and in short, my new favorite restaurant!!!
Are you on to me? With the help of my good friend hyperbole (and maybe a dash of brute force), I mean to completely obliterate any inkling of an idea of a chance in the world for an objective and accurate restaurant review — or love. SFBG
Tues.–Fri., 10:30 a.m.–7 p.m.;
Sat., 10:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
1167 Magnolia, Larkspur
(415) 461-6787
Takeout available
Beer and wine
Wheelchair accessible