Liver or leave ‘er

Pub date August 8, 2012
WriterL.E. Leone
SectionCheap Eats

CHEAP EATS Kayday came back down to town and for letting her stay in our bottom apartment, she treated Hedgehog and me to Chinese food, and just me to Japanese. The Japanese was at Izakaya Yuzuki, which I can see out my window right now cause it’s just across the street, kitty-corner-wise.

Small plates. Big bucks. Not the kind of place I would ever dare to go to if there weren’t at least a 67 percent chance of someone else picking up the check. In this case there was a 100 percent chance.

I’m not saying that this is a review of Izakaya Yuzuki, but this one dish . . . I never got its name, but it was squid marinated in its own liver and something really very salty.

I love liver, and that includes every kind of liver I have ever had, including squid liver, but the really remarkable thing about this dish was that the squid didn’t go away when you chewed it. It didn’t grind, crush, tear, or otherwise respond to mastication in any of the usual ways. You couldn’t even call it chewy. It just kind of immediately . . . shrunk. It retreated into itself and became a small, condensed blip in my mouth.

My first thought was, it’s alive.

But it wasn’t, of course.

This is a review of Salumeria, where once I shared a prosciutto-on-pretzel sandwich with Stringbean the Person, my beloved quarterback, because really if there’s one person in life a wide receiver needs to eat with, it’s her quarterback. Nothing says “throw me the ball” more than sharing a sandwich and pickle board at an outside table on a sunny Mission day.

She insisted on paying for her sandwich though, dadburn it.

“Throw me the ball,” I said, thrusting her wadded up ten back at her. She wouldn’t take it — maybe because of some quarterbacky code I don’t know about.

But, anyway … yeah: pickles. As in pickled things — maybe some of the same ones that were conspicuously missing from my beans a couple weeks ago in this column. Salumeria delivers. Salumeria comes through, on the pickle front. Okra. Green tomatoes. Beets …. Pickles!

And the sandwich came through too. It was prosciutto on pretzel, and it was dee-fucking-both-licious-and-lightful. I’d never had pretzel bread before. And I’m not sure I ever had that much prosciutto, either, on a sandwich. Fantastic!

The Person had to go to Rainbow Grocery after lunch, she said, to return things. “What are you returning?” I said. She told me she’d accidentally bought an overpriced foodie magazine for $11, and something else overpriced for $11 — I think she said vitamins. “I’m going to return them,” she said, “and buy $22 worth of sausage.”

Seldom in my life have I heard such sound economic theory laid out before me, like pickles on a board. I was touched.

I was moved.

I loved my quarterback right then, and felt proud to be one of only a handful of people in life who gets to catch her balls. I mean, 11 + 11 = 22, forever and always, but when you express this mathematical truth in terms of sausage attainment, it kind of sizzles and pops. Like poetry.

And when I first met Stringbean, bear in mind, she was a skinny vegetarian! Speaking of which, I did feel a little badly for my many skinny vegetarian friends down at Rainbow, because of course they don’t sell sausages. Which gave me an idea.

“Bean, wait right here,” I said, and I ran back into Salumeria to buy her a homemade salami. For (what? whoa!) 10 bucks. Ack! I couldn’t pull the trigger, even though I had a 10-dollar bill I didn’t really want. Which gave me an even better idea.

I ran back outside and handed the 10 to Stringbean. “I bought an overpriced salami for you,” I explained. “But then I returned it for cash to add to your sausage fund. Here.”

She looked at me like I was crazy and would not take the ten.

“Throw me the ball,” I said.


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