Stone’s throw

Pub date September 4, 2007
WriterL.E. Leone
SectionCheap EatsSectionFood & Drink


CHEAP EATS While y’all were at Burning Man, I was in the bathtub. I was taking a bath. I was floating in a swimming pool with a mojito in one hand and a grilled hot sausage on a long fork in the other. I was walking in a fog.

I was eating a popsicle, running naked through sprinklers, stepping on worms.

I was listening to Elton John. In my room. Window open. I was eating salad and salad and salad. The greens were green and crisp, the tomatoes not quite ripe.

I was slicing white onions. I was eating white onions, raw, and hot peppers. I slept real hard and figured out how to open my window and walked around in the sun and the shade, looking people in the eye.

I took a bath and a shower at the same time, and drank ice water out of a glass, the outside of which frosted over, so I licked it. I dressed conservatively.

I hung out in coffeehouses. I am writing this in coffeehouses. Coffee. Iced coffee. Green tea. Italian sodas. This morning I went to a different coffeehouse, and I tried to see if I could eat Korean barbecue with rice for breakfast, in a coffeehouse.

I could! While y’all were at Burning Man, I was at the Pebbles Café in Glen Park, at 8:30 in the morning, eating bulgoki over rice, with a salad. Bulgoki, or bulgogi, means "fire meat" in Korean. In this case it’s beef, very thinly sliced and marinated in something salty and sweet, with onions and peppers and carrots and ohmigod! For having this on the menu, and for serving it to me at 8:30 a.m., Pebbles Café is my new favorite coffeehouse.

I think that people are vegetarians. I say this because I was sitting at a table full of dudes in a different coffeehouse, and they started talking about Burning Man this, Burning Man that. So I cleared my throat. I told them my idea for bringing Camp Chicken Farmer to Burning Man. They looked at me like I was crazy, and I looked at them like they were vegetarians.

The idea for Camp Chicken Farmer ’08 was hatched at Camp Trans, while I was interviewing someone about why didn’t they have eggs. And they said it was too hard to keep eggs without refrigeration, or even ice. Thing is: the freshest egg in the world is as warm as a mug of coffee, and the freshest meat is still moving.

To illustrate this natural fact, I am going to take Camp Chicken Farmer to Burning Man next year, if I can raise the funds and recruit farmers. So far I have one. Well, by myself then, if necessary, I’m going to haul a pick-up truck of live chickens to Black Rock Desert, and a sack of feed, and a hatchet. I’m going to dress conservatively, stay sober, and just fry fresh eggs and butcher and barbecue all week long, go to sleep early.

Now, my attentive readers are going to go: "Wait a minute, Chicken Farmer, you had a hard enough time killing Houdini."

Exactly. And what’s the cure for not hardly being able to kill a chicken? Killing hundreds of them. Anyone could tell you that. On the other hand, it takes a paid professional specialist like me to tell you about the intricacies of coffeehouse Korean barbecue in Glen Park. For breakfast.

Two drunk guys on a sidewalk in Chicago got in my face. They asked impolitely if I was a transvestite.

"I’m everything," I said. "I’m trans."

"You mean you used to be a man and now you’re a woman?" one guy asked while the other started going on about how God made you one way. "You don’t mess with that," he said.

"I did," I said.

The light changed while they were still in my face. "I’d love to stay and chat," I said, flashing them the peace sign and stepping in the street, as if I had somewhere to be.

In fact my bus didn’t leave until two a.m. I had time to kill. The sun was just setting. The tops of the tall buildings were lit, and we were in it, in one sense, like ants under a magnifying glass. I had time to kill, and time was killing me. So while you were at Burning Man, I was still in Chicago on the sidewalk between bums, drunk, hungry, discussing theology, not giving anyone any hand jobs, laughing, and on fire.<\!s>*


Monday–<\d>Friday: 6:30 a.m.–<\d>3:30 p.m.; Saturday: 8:30 a.m.–<\d>3:30 p.m.; closed Sunday

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