CHEAP EATS He’s only in high school so far, but Coach’s little brother Coach is a football genius of Bill Walshian proportion. Here’s how I know: He came, he coached, we won.
Us. Yes. 12-0. He practiced us twice the day before the game, put people in their proper places, and called all the plays on offense. He’s 17. His even younger brother, Coachy, 14, taught the “cover four” to our defense, which includes me. I’m 47. And … well, 12-0! Compared to the 54-12 combined trouncing we received in our first three games, this was quite the minor miracle, this li’l shutout win. Four interceptions, two by me, one of which I returned for a touchdown. It was so unprecedentedly monumental that afterward I dumped about an eighth of a bottle of Gatorade over Coach’s brother Coach’s head.
And then, grinning, blushing, and just generally dripping electrolytes, he and his fold-away traveling coaching staff, which included their dad, folded into their car and drove back to San Diego. But not before Papa Coach thanked me again for taking care of that rooster back on New Year’s.
Which is important because no matter how much of a sexy celebrity hot shit football star I may become (with proper coaching) in my old age, I will always still be a chicken farmer at heart. Not to mention that offing this here rooster really gave me good luck this year.
For example: Boston. For example: New Orleans. For example: Hedgehog. For example: 12-0.
So the coaches left, except for Coach, and we were just us again, our ragtag women’s football team, basking on a plastic tarp on the sidelines, no longer winless, and no longer even I don’t think in last place. At least for one week. I wonder what happens next.
Next, I hug and high-five my teammates, and leave them sucking orange wedges to go eat something substantial with our fan, Kayday. That means Red Café on Mission and 25th streets, because Toast has a line, and we can’t find the Ebb Tide on account of existential crisis. Not ours; we’re still here. Well, I’m still here. By the time you read this, however, Kayday will have moved back to Seattle, which is kind of like ceasing to exist, except you can fly back on weekends. And she still wants to be in my band, so … There’s that.
As for Red, why haven’t I eaten here before this?
It’s good, it’s basic, it’s great, and most important, no line! If you don’t mind sitting at the counter, which of course we don’t.
Kayday was just getting over some stomach bug, so she ordered something bland and not worth talking about. I, on the other hand, had just won the first football game of my new career. So I ordered beans, tortillas, fried plantains, and a plastic bag with ice in it.
My knee was sore.
Actually, I’d thought I was ordering eggs too, and one of those balls of rice and beans, but I must have messed up.
Well, the plantains were good, although I couldn’t finish them because there were way too many. The beans were great, and my favorite part of everything was the tortillas, which were fresh and warm and I melted butter in them, rolled them up, and used them to scoop the beans.
My only real criticism of Red’s Café has to do with the ice course. They must have Ziplock bags, right? Or something strong enough to contain your drip when the ice starts to melt. No?
No, my ice was served in a small, handled shopping bag like the drug store might put your tube of toothpaste and hair pins in. No way is that gonna hold water.
I’ll be OK. I’ll be back out there next weekend for more football, soccer, and maybe even baseball just by way of being a complete lunatic about it. I’ll also be back to Red’s Café for the nopales omelet, which I had meant to order before the thought of plantains foiled my plan. Drip. Drip.
Daily: 7 a.m.–9 p.m.
2894 Mission, SF