Pub date April 5, 2011
WriterL.E. Leone
SectionCheap Eats


CHEAP EATS Coach worries. She wakes up thinking about her social calendar instead of Libya.

Personally, I don’t sleep with my cell phone under my head. By the time I wake up, Coach’s texts have accumulated like little pieces of folded white construction paper cut into snowflakes. We live in sunny California, but the drifts are downright Northeastern. School is cancelled.

Before I know that though, before I even find my phone, let alone look at it, let alone listen to the weather on my transistor radio, I need to use the bathroom.

As soon as I sit on the toilet, my cat Stoplight jumps in my lap. It’s the only time he loves me, or the only time I have time for him. Or both. To this point in my morning, I have not thought about Libya either, and I pee without thinking, as usual, anything.

Stoplight jumps from my legs to the bathtub as soon as I reach for the toilet paper and, as is our custom, while I look in the mirror at the way I look, he looks at me. The sense of judgment is intense, almost palpable, but I’m used to this.

My hair is mussy, so I muss it more. Then I bug my eyes, lean down over the tub into my poor cat’s face, and go, “Mwa-ha-ha-ha.”

“Meow,” says he.

Now I am ready to brush my teeth. Tragically, I drop the toothpaste cap and it bounces off the tile and under the tub. While I am brushing my teeth, I wonder where that little plastic cap might have gotten to, how I’m going to find it, and how — if I don’t find it — I am going to store this brand new, full tube of toothpaste without fear of it oozing out all day while I’m away, and taking over my apartment, speaking of snow days. Speaking of drifts.

I spit. I rinse. I get down on my hands and knees and look and feel under the tub, not thinking at all about Libya. I can’t find the toothpaste cap, so I stand the tube up in the glass where I keep my toothbrush, and I go about my business, which for the morning consists of not thinking about Libya, going to Java Supreme for coffee, and reading my many text messages from Coach. Maybe answering one or two.

1) You are not shallow or dumb, don’t worry; and

2) You have chosen your friends wisely.

Last night we went to this thing called Girl Talk and were inspired and informed. Tonight there is a poetry reading. Me! And Moonpie! Inspired, informed, and entertained. Tomorrow there’s a dance party, and the next day a game.

A week after that, I’ll be back in New Orleans with Li’l Edible and my other baby, eating fried things and just generally going to the zoo. Maybe when I come back I will make a date with my friend Coach, set aside a little time for thinking about Libya, for worrying about world affairs instead of worrying about not being worried.

Once the caffeine kicks in, I feel lucky to be alive, and impervious to personal injury and cardiac arrest. I should write a poem, but all I can think about is the hamburger I ate last night, before Girl Talk, with Coach, Papa and Papi, at that new circus-y place, Straw.

It was a bacon cheeseburger served on a glazed donut. And I am still amazed, alive and well.

But I’m only staying in New Orleans for two weeks this time. Here’s why: that donut burger, chicken and waffles, sweet potato tots with blackberry barbecue sauce, cinnamon sriracha buffalo wings, truffle-oil popcorn, and cotton candy. All the entrees around $10, the service is super-friendly, and if you feel like sitting close to like, your date, you can sit in the date seat, which is taken from a carnival ride, probably the Tilt-A-Whirl.

Great place. New favorite restaurant.


Mon.–Fri. 5–10 p.m.;

Sat. 10 a.m.–10 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.–9 p.m.

203 Octavia, S.F.

(415) 431-3663


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