CHEAP EATS Here’s how I’m different from most people, yo. When most people go to a restaurant and become gastrointestinally challenged on the walk home to the point of very nearly having to do something undignified in the bushes, they don’t go back to that restaurant.
Me, I not only go back, I order the exact same thing!
I don’t think it’s stupidity, per se. Maybe it’s patience. Extraordinary patience. Or curiosity. I needs to know, is all. In fact, maybe I needs to know more than I needs almost anything in life, including I guess dignity.
My motto is: Poison me once, shame on you. Poison me twice, shame on you again, mother fucker. And poison me three times . . . ack-ga goddamn it, stop poisoning me!
So . . . I don’t know, maybe it is stupidity.
You tell me:
The first time I ate at Ly Luck, I got a li’l unlucky with a bowl of duck wonton noodle soup. Is all. But maybe it wasn’t the soup, either. Maybe it was something I picked up off the floor and licked earlier that morning, at home. Or maybe a bug one of the childerns gave me, when I picked them up off the floor and licked them. Who knows?
Point is: usually, as you know, duck soup is medicine to me. This being flu season, I couldn’t just throw my leftovers away. I couldn’t. Even with just a common cold, you don’t always feel like going out, and there was, as I hope I have established, at least a chance that this soup wasn’t poisonous. I got what was left to go, fridged it, and a few days later I took a look.
Maybe it was a week. Anyway, it looked fine. Just fine, but not like a lot of soup. So, being very hungry, and not at all sick, I put my old leftovers back in the back of the fridge and made some eggs.
For the record, it smelled fine too.
But then I ate my eggs and went about my little life, trying to write, taking long baths, cooking up stuff for Hedgehog, playing my various sports, and just generally thinking about tomatoes, when all of a sudden one day, many weeks later around lunch time, I found myself on Fruitvale Avenue, returning a library book or something, and there was Ly Luck.
I didn’t think about it, I ducked in for the duck soup do-over.
Instead of duck wonton noodle soup, however, I accidentally ordered duck yee wonton soup. In Chinese, yee means that the wontons are fried, the broth is gelatinous glop, and the duck is just little tiny pieces of duck, and peas. And, you know, carrots and things ($5.50). But mostly gelatinous glop and fried wontons.
I love gelatinous glop with fried wontons in it, turns out, but while it didn’t make me sick, luckily for Ly Luck (not to mention me) I couldn’t really call it medicine, either. I mean, fried things can be health food, in my book, but probably they don’t have curative powers. (This may require research.) Anyway, when I was done with the duck yee wonton soup, I ordered an order of duck wonton noodle soup to go.
This did I store in my fridge until dinner time, around about which I got hungry again.
Where was Hedgehog during all this? Welding class. New Orleans. Writer’s meetings. On an airplane. I think she was on an airplane exactly then, yes, about 30,000 feet over Albuquerque.
I think she heard me scream, over all those feet and the roars of all those engines, not to mention the episode of This American Life I was listening to when I dug distractedly into our refrigerator and pulled out the to-go container of soup in the little plastic white bag.
And opened it.
And saw the horror movie science project that I saw, all fuzzy and colorful and fingery, kind of clawing (or so I imagined) for my throat. I had grabbed the wrong one. Which settled it for me:
New favorite restaurant!
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3537 Fruitvale Ave., Oakl.
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