Punting for Peru

Pub date February 26, 2013
WriterL.E. Leone
SectionCheap Eats


CHEAP EATS First time she touched a football it was a wonky, bouncing punt, and she plucked it up and ran it back 180 yards to the five-yard line. I say 180 yards because there was a lot of zigging and zagging involved. Coach’s grillfriend Zeezee is a professional surfer, and ever since that punt return (October), I have had newfound respect for the athleticism of professional surfers. Not to mention which, a bouncing punt is the hardest kind of football to pick up cleanly.

So . . . nice hands!

Her dad down San Diego way teaches surfing, as far as I know, and music. He made a cajon, which is that Peruvian box drum that you sit on while you play. I’ve seen Zeezee play the cajon, and she played the kaboodle out of it. In fact, ever since then I have had a newfound respect for punt returners. As musicians, I mean.

Anyway, Zeezee lives in S.F. now, so we get to have her for a full season this Spring, so long as she doesn’t get a job. That’s right: If you are looking for a rad-ass surfing teacher with great hands and cajones, look away. Please. We need her. Sunday mornings, at least.

For Hedgehog’s birthday I bought a cajon from Zeezee’s dad. It’s beautiful enough to be furniture, and Hedgehog has been spending a lot of time on it. She uses her hands, uses brushes, wears her washboard . . . Somehow I knew she would know what to do with a beautiful box.

But there is something about February makes me mad. Maybe because you never really quite get your money’s worth, rentwise. I don’t know. Or Valentine’s Day, which bugged me this year very literally. One of my cute little charges got sent home from school on account of lice, and me and her mom had to pick through her and her sister’s hair looking for and yanking out nits.

Then their mom went through my hair and found one there, too, so I had to sit on the edge of the tub just like them and get sprayed and combed and just all around humiliated. All on account of one lousy nit, yuk yuk.

And also, yuck.

So that was how I spent my Valentine’s evening: at the laundromat, washing our clothes and towels and bedding and everything, while the lovers passed two-by-two on their way to Delfina.

My own lover was in New Orleans, out with her single work friends. I called her, I was so depressed, and she sang “You Are My Sunshine” to me — wisely leaving out the verses. The day before she had sent me flowers with the sweetest little note attached. I forget what it said, but I read it again that night once everything was finally folded and put away, and I went to bed.

Her birthday is the real holiday, and she was back for that, like I said, slapping out straightforward 4/4 rhythms, as she ain’t Peruvian. She’s rock’n’roll. But for dinner we went to her favorite restaurant (and mine), Limon Rotisserie — not even thinking that it completed the Peruvian circle.

Next morning I woke up a little later than usual, threw on some clothes, sprayed my hair down with tea tree oil, and risked life and limb and driving record only to get to work two hours early. I had forgot (as usual) to look at my work calendar.

And this is where Olivia’s comes in. Olivia’s Brunch and Fine Dining. In Bernal Heights, down from Holly Park on Mission. Instead of driving all the way back home, during rush hour no less, I decided to kill two hours with two eggs.

Huevos Rancheros!

Good ones! With pinto beans, avocado slices, ranchero sauce, a corn tortilla underneath, and a whole damn quesadilla on top. Note: That’s two meals in one. Yeppers, Olivia puts the unch back in brunch. Which wasn’t exactly what I needed, since it was still pre-9am. But it did help kill the time.

There was no one else in the place to talk to. Just Mona Lisa, a painting of a mounted deer head, a charging elephant, and a very crooked picture of our lord and savior Jesus Christ pulling some crazed dude out of a pretty turbulent sea. Either that or pushing him back in. No no, he’s got him by the arm. See? They don’t call Him lord and savior for nothing.

Nice place. Good food for under 10 bucks. Boom, back to work.


Mon-Sat 8am-2pm, 5-9pm; Sun 8am-3pm

3771 Mission St., SF

(415) 970-0375


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