CHEAP One of the first things I did when I got back was I got on the football field.
“Welcome back,” said the referee.
“Welcome back,” said the other team’s captain. And she called “red” and it was red so we’d lost the toss.
“Good luck,” their captain said to me.
“Good luck,” I said.
The ref said good luck to both of us and just like that — after three months in cars, planes, small dark hotel rooms and foreign countries, but mostly cars — I was back where I belong: on defense.
I love defense because it’s got more dirty work than glory. You have to do things like “dig in,” “cover,” and “bend-don’t-break” while the offense is basically sticking it to you.
And, as if that weren’t sexy sounding enough, on my particular San Francisco Women’s Flag Football League team, the defense scores more often than the offense. This season, for example, to date, our defense has outscored our offense 2-0. That’s after four games, mind you. We have scored a grand total, in four games, of exactly one safety!
My first game back ended in a 0-0 tie.
“Good game,” we all said to the other team, and they said to us, and you know what? It was! Except from a fan’s perspective, probably, it was a great game. I love 0-0 ties.
Out of habit, I went to Benders. Coach couldn’t make it because she was helping people, so it was just me and Hedgehog and Earl Butter. The big idea being to drink the beer, eat tater tots, and just generally watch baseball; but Benders was only cooperating on one of those fronts. Something goofy was on TV. The kitchen wasn’t open.
We started walking toward the Phoenix, and at roughly Mission Street I remembered about Giordano Brothers taking over Ti Couz’s spot on 16th and Valencia. Remember? I even told you about it from the road and promised to check it out for myself as soon as I was back.
Which I forgot. Then remembered. So, OK … so, Giordano’s. Yeah yeah yeah, the all-in-one sandwiches with French fries and cole slaw in them, a la Primanti Bros. in Pittsburgh. But mostly we were interested in the pierogi. Because there aren’t a lot of places in San Francisco, let alone the Mission, to get a plate of pierogi.
We got a large combo: two regular old potato ones, two sweet potato ones, and two with serrano peppers and cheese — and potatoes. And those two were of course the best. But we had to advocate for them because at first there were only potato and sweet potato ones.
Hedgehog was already all a-bristle over they didn’t have Yuengling beer. Although, technically, the problem was that they did have a neon sign saying Yuengling, but didn’t have the beer. The sign was just for atmosphere.
So when she realized there were only two kinds of pierogi in our three-kind-of-pierogi combo plate, she had a little talk with the waiterguyperson, who had a little talk with the kitchen, who had a little talk with the butter and onions, then brought us two more pierogi. With serrano peppers and cheese, and they were delicious.
Earl Butter was beside himself with comfort and joy. He kept talking about how happy he was just to be out of his apartment. And I’ve been in his apartment. The TVs are not as big.
We had Sunday night football in one eyeball, and baseball playoffs in the other. I’m not so sure about the sandwiches though. I had promised Hedgehog, based on a visit to North Beach five years ago, that Giordano’s was better than its inspiration, Primanti’s, on a strictly sandwich-y level. My argument was that their French fries were better and the cole slaw was fresher, and while those facts may be true, in themselves, the problem is that putting French fries and cole slaw inside a sandwich with the meat and the cheese is just a flawed idea to begin with. Beyond the good ol’ goofy sportiness of it, I mean, you are left with a mouth full of pretty much starch.
The kielbasa was good, but lost in the rest of it all. And I like to dip my fries into things.
Ketchup. Hot sauce.
Mon.-Tue.: 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Wed.-Thu.: 11:30 a.m.-midnight; Fri.-Sat. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 a.m.; Sun. depends on football schedule
3108 16th St., SF
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