Drive, she said

Pub date November 1, 2011
WriterL.E. Leone
SectionCheap Eats

CHEAP EATS Hedgehog was going to baseball games before she met me — mostly minor league ones, but anyway she was in it for the hot dogs. And beer. And people-watching. Now that she understands what’s actually going on down there on the field, well, it’s a whole new ball game.

Naturally, she wants to play. I’m all for that, so I got us a big bag of spits, and once she learned to spit them like a pro, I went to K-Mart: two gloves, one baseball, and a big old brand new wooden bat. Wood because Hedgehog is of course a sound person, and the crack of the bat is more important to her than longevity and distance, or even the ethics involved with the slaughter of innocent trees.

Through the course of only a few catch sessions, my boo evolved into a world class glove user and ball thrower. Now, having mastered the "wax on/wax off" and "paint the fence" of baseball, it was time for her to learn the Crane kick. So it was that we happened to be out and about in search of batting cages, me and her and Earl Butter.

He’s in the back seat, humming a happy little ditty and just generally playing with the power windows. I’m driving Hedgehog’s car, because I kind of know where Redwood City might be, and Hedgehog is firmly fastened into the passenger seat, trying to look casual while pressing the life out of the dashboard — her usual position when she’s not driving. Or at least when I am.

Our sense of equilibrium was toppled, however, when the conversation turned to oysters — an inevitable subject since, not only were they food, and not only were they one of our collective favorite foods, but Hedgehog had just had a batch of bad ‘uns in her hangtown fry. Not bad as in "get the bucket"; bad as in not fried, like I told Just For You to do a long time ago. Because every time I get breaded and fried oysters in my hangtown fry, it’s my new favorite dish ever, and every time I get just out-of-the-jar and into-the-eggs oysters, it’s crap.

So: Just For You. I’ve been trying to sell Hedgehog on San Francisco for almost a year, and now that I have her here, you feed her an overpriced and undergood hangtown fry. If she runs screaming back to New Orleans, it’s on you.

Anyway, the post-mortem being concluded on Hedgehog’s unfried fried oysters, someone who might have been me mentioned something about raw oysters. And then someone else who might have been me mentioned how when oysters are eaten raw, they might maybe be still alive.

"Define ‘alive,’" Hedgehog gasped, even wide-eyeder than she already was on account of my driving skills, which are considerable.

"Don’t worry, babe. They aren’t alive the way we are," I said, changing lanes for the third time in three seconds and zooming through what I like to call a "pink" light. (I may not enjoy living on the edge, but I sure do enjoy driving on it.)

"’Not alive the way we are’?" Earl Butter said. "Just remember that when the aliens spear you with a cocktail fork and swallow you whole with a spritz of lemon."

He had a point there.

But speaking of eating things raw: sushi! Sushi is a good thing, I’m sure we all agree, but it turns out there are levels of good. I don’t mean fine, good, and great; I mean there is sushi that just tastes how it tastes, and then there is Morally Superior sushi. Welcome to Tataki South.

We weren’t there, when we were there, just because it was rumored to be yummy (which it was).

We wanted to try us some "ethically caught fish" to see if it was like aluminum bats.

Well, the fish that is ethical to kill and eat is pretty tasty, but the short story that accompanies every slice justifying its death made dinner seem more like an outing to a museum than a meal. It also turns out that, just as in the Real World, clearing your palate’s conscious has a higher price tag.

Tataki is a tiny place that doesn’t believe in reservations for parties of less-than-six, so the wait was kinda long. But once we were inside, shoving ethically murdered fish down our gullets, it was so damn cozy and friendly, nothing else mattered. *


Sun.-Thu. 5-9:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 5-10 p.m.

1740 Church St., S.F.

(415) 282-1889


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