Duck soup

Pub date May 17, 2011
WriterL.E. Leone
SectionCheap Eats

I shouldn’t be so hard on Kaiser. I myself am prone to misdiagnoses. Example: the knee injury I sang the blues about two weeks ago that turned out to be a hamstring problem.

When I passed out in the bathroom at 5 a.m. and came to, all bonked and a-crumple, my first thought was Too Much Whiskey. Then I realized I hadn’t drunk anything for at least two weeks. So I must have been dehydrated.

Whatever. As you know, my cure for almost anything — including the common cold, uncommon anxiety, hammies, depression, and dehydration — is roast duck noodle soup. So when I saw Thailand Restaurant on Castro Street across from the theater, after all these years, I wondered if they had it.

The last time I ate at Thailand Restaurant, just to give you an idea, might have been the first time I had ever eaten Thai food. I’m pretty sure it was the first time I had tom ka gai. We’re talking early ’90s.

I was hungry. Then, I was always hungry. Now I’m just hungry when I’m awake. Like last week when I renoticed Thailand Restaurant. I was awake, depressed, dehydrated, and hamstring challenged. Plus some other things, so even though it was only 5 p.m., I ascended the steps.

And they did have roast duck noodle soup! Like a regular walking into a bar, I ordered it before I even sat down. Then I sat down. In the window. And I looked out the window and thought about my old friend Satchel Paige the Pitcher.

He lives in Thailand now. Teaches English, is married to a Thai woman named Ann Paige the Pitcher, and they have cute little half-Thai, half-tall kids. Every couple years or so I get to see them, usually in Sacramento.

I would like to go to Thailand one day.

I’m not sure what I would do there, besides eat, but the other day Satchel Paige the Pitcher surprised the pus out of me by knocking on my door.

I opened it and just blinked and blinked.

“Hi Dani,” he said. It’s dark in my apartment. It’s also small.

“Satchel Paige the Pitcher!” I said. And I gave him a big hug and welcomed him to my small, dark apartment. Which he barely fit into.

Embarrassingly, I was still in my pajamas, even though it was afternoon. I was writing; I just hadn’t bothered to get dressed yet because sometimes, you know, I don’t. On writing days. I am rarely visited, and even rarelier by Satchel Paige the Pitcher.

I mean really, the only person who ever drops by besides Earl Butter — who doesn’t count cause he lives upstairs — is the Maze. And the Maze comes at night, so I tend to have clothes on. Lately he brings chicken saag from my new favorite restaurant, Pakwan, because it’s one of the worst restaurants in the city to eat in at, and I happen to live two blocks away.

And I happen to love their chicken saag.

But that ain’t what this is about. This is about me being in the darkest of moods, for the third week in a row, and sitting in a second-story window, looking down on Castro Street, thinking about Satchel Paige the Pitcher and waiting for duck soup to come fix everything.

He’s moving back, you know, he thinks. Maybe. Probably, but to Sacramento. And do you know why? Because in Thailand, he says, girls don’t play team sports.

His cute little kids being girls, and Thai ones, I can’t think of a better reason to move to Sacramento. Where would I be, for example, without team sports? I could draw a line all the way back to my earliest memories: football, soccer, baseball, football, volleyball, baseball, golf. Ironically, that was where I started: golf. But that ain’t a team sport, and I already said I’m not going to golf.

There must be a gene. Before I am a writer, a musician, a woman even, or a queer, I am an athlete. Satch has got it. His kids, probably. And if I don’t get back out there, soon — happy birthday to me — I am going to go absolutely fucking bonkers. Here’s my soup. 


Sun.–Thurs. 11 a.m.–10 p.m.;

Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m.

438-A Castro, SF

(415) 863-6868

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