Hail Marys!

Pub date May 24, 2011
WriterL.E. Leone
SectionCheap Eats


We ate chicken and waffles on the loading dock at farmerbrown’s Little Skillet, and garlic fries at AT&T Park. We ate chicken at Limon Rotisserie and chicken wings at San Tung. Tried to get a kimchi burrito, but John’s was sold out. We split a sandwich from Tartine.

She was interested in food, and naps. We did not go to the wharf, the bridge, the beach, the park, the Palace of Fine Arts, or Alcatraz. In fact, the only non-culinary landmark I even tried to sneak past her was The Good, the Bad and the Ugly at the Castro. That day, between meals, snacks, and shenanigans, I would occasionally put my lips close to her ear and go, “Boodi-boodi boooo. Bwa bwa bwa.” Only sometimes I would whistle it.

Didn’t happen. We went to Clement Street — me, Hedgehog, Earl Butter, the Choo-Choo Train, and King. There, at the Clement Street Bar & Grill, we met Baseball Mary. Who knows Choo-Choo, so he got a hug, and we all got baseball cards. Her position is “Lower Box 128, Row 3.” She has the biggest, cheerfulest smile, and has been to every MLB park.

Baseball Mary is from Portland, Maine, and therefore throws “wicked good parties,” according to the stats on the back of her card. In the interest of one day being invited to one, let me tell you that she is my new favorite waitressperson. Not that she waited on us. We didn’t eat. We just sat at the bar and drank and swapped Yogi Berraisms with the dude down the corner.

Truth be told, I was already happy. My three-week run of dark thoughts and existentially important-ass problems snapped the moment my new favorite airline, United, touched Hedgehog down safely at SFO. Of course, now I hate them again for taking her away.

But at least my ass feels better. As for the hamstring … well, there’s Burma Tea Leaf 1, for dinner. And to give you an idea how contented and all-around mentally stable I was feeling by then, they have duck noodle soup and I didn’t even notice! Who needed it, with mango salad, pork with pumpkin coconut curry, spicy catfish … everything under $10. And a waitressperson who gave Baseball Mary a run for her money, smilewise.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were writing this up?” Earl Butter said when I picked up the bill. “I would have been funnier.”

I wouldn’t have noticed. That whole long weekend was all about Hedgehog and me being us, me trying to impress her with chicken wings and so forth. For entirely selfish reasons, I want her to love San Francisco like I loved New Orleans while I was there — thanks largely to her plying me with fried things.

Our last night here we made the sweetest love two people have ever made, with due respect to everyone else in the world. Then, like in movies, I woke up early and snuck out of bed. I was going to be Rocky, and run and jump and run and just generally stretch my hamstring. There was a game at nine. It was the playoffs. I was going to play. Yeah: Rocky.

I got as far as cracking the eggs, then, being me, decided to cook them. With potatoes. And draw a bath. We had breakfast in the tub.

The game was on our way to the airport. On the first play I of course reinjured myself. But I had doctor’s permission now to play through the pain. So I went back in and was able to go about 65, 70 percent. With two minutes left we were losing by a safety and a touchdown.

I had nothing. On the sideline, I found out later, Coach said to Hedgehog, “Too bad you didn’t get to see her A-game.” I didn’t hear this, but must have felt it, because on the next play I wrestled a touchdown pass away from a defender, and a teammate.

But we were still down a safety, with a minute and a half left. For some reason instead of killing the clock, they passed, and for some reason I intercepted — and hobbled it back for a touchdown. Now we were winning with less than a minute left. So they had to pass — but I intercepted that one too. And one week after fearing my life was over because I couldn’t play sports, I was being carried off the field on shoulders, in front of my lover.

So. There’s that. 


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