Lock and load

Pub date June 9, 2010
WriterL.E. Leone
SectionCheap Eats


CHEAP EATS Speaking of pickup trucks, I borrowed the Pod’s for the weekend because Hollywood was coming to San Francisco. It was my turn to drive. As you may know, 20-year-old Toyota pickup trucks aren’t sports cars, but I figured this was a step in the right direction, especially since it’s lesbian-owned.

My brother’s 25-year-old Toyota van, which I babysit, was bought off of lesbians. Still, it’s got very little mystique at this point: just a badly cracked windshield, a badly battered body, one working low-beam, and no brights whatsoever. I feel lucky not to be pulled over by the police every time I move it for street cleaning.

My brother hauls boards and tools and garbage in this van. To pick up a date in it, I feel, would be the end of the date. Once I drove it to a probably-already-doomed-anyway first meeting at a Peet’s in a North Bay shopping center, thinking: shopping center … I could park anonymously! But the damn dude was waiting outside, watching for me, and saw.

So that date was over before it started. I’m not sure what it says about this one that Hollywood wound up taking a cab to the airport. I don’t know, is it a wild weekend, or a wonky one, when by Monday morning you have entirely lost the keys to your friend’s Toyota?

While Hollywood was taking an airplane to L.A., and even for a couple hours afterward, I was still running around like a chicken with its head still on, turning my purses inside out, emptying laundry baskets, unmaking and remaking the bed. I even looked in the refrigerator. I called or went to everywhere we’d been the night before.

After a tow-trucker let me in, I turned Pod’s pickup inside out.

The Club was locked onto the steering wheel, and no, no one had a spare key. There wasn’t one. I’d called her. In Oregon.

Finally I started going into places we hadn’t been the night before, and one of them, a restaurant that was closed (I’d thought) when we’d parked in front of it, had me my keys, praise the lard. And praise the person who picked them up and put them there, whoever you are. I love you.

Loving you, loving life, living lunch, I unlocked the door, unlocked the Club, turned the key in the ignition, and drove to West Oakland to feed Pod’s cats and swap out her truck for my brother’s van. In the act of which — no lie — I lost her house key.

Chickens and waffles is not brain food. It’s soul food. This week they happened at the Hard Knox Café in Dogpatch, and were particularly hard to order because the restaurant was crowded with people eating smothered pork chops, jambalaya, po’boys, mac and cheese, and other good-lookingly soulful woowoo that made me wonder why I only ever eat chicken and waffles.

It’s the perfect time for such wonderings, since I am officially out of ideas, chicken and wafflewise, as well as brain cells in general. If anyone else here does the duo … you tell me.

Hard Knox’s fried chickens were not as good as expected. The drumstick was perfectish, but both thighs were a little overdone and undermeaty. The waffle was great. Nevertheless, if I ever again crave chickens with them (and I might not for a pretty long time), you will find me up the road at Auntie April’s, or down it at Little Skillet.

Oh, but Hard Knox rocks, in many ways, one of which is collard greens with a few squirts of Crystal hot sauce, and then a few more. And then a few more. The Maze made some real nice noises when he bit into his fried catfish po’boy. Which in fact I tasted, and yeah, it was damn good.

And the sweet tea, too. And, like I said, all the smothered stuff sure looked good and smothered. Plus I just love the place! With its corrugated tin walls and old funky signs, you really do feel like you’re somewhere else. Like, say, the South. I love being transported by meals and atmosphere. In fact — trucks and trains be damned — food might be my new favorite method of transportation. *


Mon.–Sat. 11 a.m.–9 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

2526Third St., S.F.

(415) 648-3770


Beer and wine