Besting a star

Pub date June 26, 2012
WriterL.E. Leone
SectionCheap Eats

CHEAP EATS Hedgehog goes and goes and goes to New York. For work — so they fly her and put her up in a nice hotel. This is what’s called (I believe) a business trip. But there’s more than that, of course, to it.

Examples include eating at WD-50 on my birthday (without me), and being at that Mets game (without me) when Johan Santana pitched the first no-hitter in team history, lucky duck. By which I mean Hedgehog. Santana’s a pretty good pitcher.

Me, I’m not a Mets fan or a foofy restaurant fan but, in a word, still… I like baseball. I like food. These are documented facts. Well, I must have whined and complained enough, because this time she said, “Wanna come with me?”

“No thanks,” I said. “I’d rather whine and complain.”

“Suit yourself,” she said, adding that there was a fitness center in the hotel, that she would take me to WD50 after work, and a Mets game the next night. Romanticness was insinuated. That, and hot dogs.

I thought and thought. And thought and thought. There was no guarantee that my new friend Shaya (from last week’s review) would be on this flight too. But Hedgehog would hold my hand real hard during takeoff and landing, she said, and sing my favorite songs into my ear.

I thought about how hot it was in New Orleans in June, how lonely it was in the air-conditioning without her, and I decided to go to New York.

She bought all the necessary tickets, made the necessary reservations, drove us to the necessary airport, and when I emerged from my necessary Valium haze I found myself in a nice, cozy room on Times Square, staring out the window at those scoreboardy ticker tape thingies with all the stupid stock statistics flying by. One of the most dizzyingly annoying events I have ever found outside of any window, anywhere…

Until early next morning, this morning, when I awoke abruptly to “Blister in the Sun” by Violent Femmes over a PA system in the street below. That’s a great song, but at 6:30am in the morning I think I might rather sleep, thank you.

At 7:30am in the morning it was yoga — loud, microphone yoga. This was the annual Mind over Madness yoga event, Solstice on Times Square, idea being “to find tranquility and transcendence in the midst of the world’s most commercial and frenetic place.” At an hour when sane, peaceful people are trying to sleep.

At least all the colorful mats and yogawear made a pretty picture when I finally got out of bed and opened the curtains to see what the flying fuck all the noise was about.

I need a nap.

Tonight, if all goes as planned, the normally entirely hittable Dillon Gee is going to pitch a no-hitter for the Mets! And I’ll be there, with Hedgehog and hot dogs.

Last night was more of a lobster roe duck egg chicken confit veal brisket crab toast lamb sweetbreads kind of a night, but even I know not to compare a Michelin-starred restaurant to stadium hot dogs. No. I’m going to compare it to a tiny takeout sushi place on Solano Avenue in Berkeley, where once I went with a Chunk de la Cooter and her dad to bring home the hamachi, as the saying goes, for the whole wide family.

Except there wasn’t much hamachi, as I recall. A lot of cucumber and avocado rolls, that sort of thing…

Mostly people get prepackaged sushi from the display case, which might explain the de la Cooter family’s preference for sushi-less sushi, but you can also order made-to-order items, and I got a lot of those.

All of them were awesome! I especially liked the unagi bowl and the nigiri saba.

Saba is my favorite sushi. Thus was I delighted to see something very much like it leading off the 13-thing tasting menu at WD-50 last night: nigiri’d mackerel on salsify, instead of rice, with seaweed and sesame. Many of the later dishes, especially the yuzu milk ice dessert, did indeed blow my mind. But this, the nigiri, wasn’t one of them. Ha! It’s better at:


Mon-Fri 11am-7:30pm; Sat-Sun 11am-6:30pm

1599 Solano Ave., Berk.

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