Deutch maneuver

Pub date May 9, 2012
WriterL.E. Leone
SectionCheap Eats

CHEAP EATS “Berlin is awesome,” Kayday writes me, from Berlin. “We should all live here.”

Amazingly, I answer her in German. “Genau,” I write.

Berlin is awesome, true. But it’s one thing May through September, and something very much else the rest of the time. Is my opinion.

Kayday lives in Seattle, and complains about the weather there from September through July.

She doesn’t want to live in Germany, I feel certain.

When she was here, just a few weeks ago, she wanted to eat at Schmidt’s, maybe for practice. So we did. No complaints from me. Schmidt’s has the best wild boar sausage in all of San Francisco.

We also ate at my new favorite Chinese restaurant, in the Richmond, but I’m not going to tell you yet about that. Maybe next week. If you’re good.

Wild boar sausage, I’m pretty sure I already told you about. There’s Rice Broker though, in the Mission, which is another place where Kayday and me ciao’d down.

“Hi,” I said.



And she tried to answer — probably in German — but couldn’t, because something had gone down the wrong pipe. Maybe, I’m thinking, a sesame seed. Or a teeny tiny speck of almond?

Both things were in her rice bowl, which was the two skewers of lemongrass beef one, with whole orange slices, string beans, and, yeah, almonds and sesame seeds.

Now, I’ve seen people choking in restaurants before. I’ve even been the person choking in restaurants. It’s no big thing. You cough, you turn red, you hold up your finger to let your dining companions know that, no, in fact you don’t need the Heimlich. Yet. And then you drink some water, cough some more, tear up a little, feel like an idiot, and continue eating.

So happens, the wrong-pipe problem is a recurring theme for me, in life. I have lots and lots of sympathy and patience, and too am ready — if necessary — to spring into action. Ever the nanny, I am trained in CPR and so forth.

“Hello?” I said again. “Are you quite sure you don’t need the Heimlich?”

“I’m OK,” Kayday said. “I just need to go for a walk.” And she excused herself. “Be right back.” And left.

This was a first.

I digged into my own bowl, which was rice porridge with pork-and-ginger meatballs, bok choy, and cilantro. It was excellent, and went down very smoothly.

While I ate, though, I couldn’t take my eyes off of Kayday’s bowl, which was beautiful. The meat, as yet untouched, glistened on its skewers. The orange slices shone forth, like little sunsets. The beans — it was just a beautiful bowl of food. Calling to me.

Kayday is a dear and good friend. She’s an important part of my band. It occurred to me she could choke and die outside on the sidewalk. Still, I decided not to eat her food. When she came back, I would ask. And she would share.

Then, the hell with it, I reached across the table and tried a piece of meat from her skewer. Tough city, go figure!

But, like I says, mine was very good. The meatballs were almost as smooth as the porridge, and good and gingery. And I loved my edamame snack bowl, with dandelion and cane vinegar.

Come to think of it, she’d had a snack bowl appetizer too. Pickled daikon and carrots. And I can’t remember now if I even tasted it, but it sounds pretty good, no?

Of course, this isn’t Kentucky Fried Chicken. But to its credit it isn’t Spork either. And even though it choked my friend, I like that Rice Broker is there. Here in the hood.

And anyway, she survived. She came back.

“Hello,” I said.

She said, “Hi.”


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