Waxing fried

Bombay Indian Restaurant


CHEAP EATS I got a Brazilian. I play on a Brazilian soccer team. I pass for Brazilian. I pass to Brazilians. I figured, what the fuck, I'll get a Brazilian.

My Canadian likes it like that. I happened to know this, and did it for him. That way, in case we become a couple and have a fight some day and he says, "What did you ever do for me?" I'll say, "I got my ass waxed in the middle of winter," and, argument over, we'll live happily ever after.

Why I don't write restaurant reviews is illustrated by the following little story:

I ate at my always favorite restaurant, Just For You, three times in 10 days, and two of those times I ordered the hangtown fry. If you don't know what a hangtown fry is ... I feel so sorry for you that my eyes are watering.

My mouth is watering too, because what it is, see, is eggs with onions, oysters, and bacon. Or: everything that makes life lovable, give or take butter. And there's always plenty of that on the table at my always favorite restaurant.

Just to be clear: this is not a review of Just For You. I already reviewed it eight or nine times. It's my last-standing always favorite restaurant. This is just a story (true) that has a moral (iffy), and happens to be set at a particular place. In Dogpatch. San Francisco. California.

The hangtown fry's creation myths center around Placerville, which used to be called Hangtown, and/or San Francisco, which used to be called San Francisco, during the gold rush. Miner walks into a bar, says, no joke, he struck it rich, what's the most expensive meal they can make him? Cook invents the hangtown fry ($6) on the spot.

Six dollars!!! In the middle of the 19th century!! Do you see my point? Inflation be damned, 160 years later you can get the same damn thing for breakfast at Just For You for just four dollars more!

But that's not my point. My point is that, if you ask me, the oysters should be breaded and fried — not because that's the more authentic way to make the dish (although it might be, for all I know), but because it tastes better this way. Trust me. That's how they made it on Friday. And if I were a restaurant reviewer I would have written, Ohmigod! Ohmigod! Ohmigod! I mean what else can you say about fried oysters and bacon on the same plate? With eggs and onions.

Cornbread ...

And then when I went back on Wednesday, with Earl Butter, and ordered the hangtown fry again, the oysters were not at all breaded or fried and the dish was, like, yeah, whatever.

Don't get me wrong, I love raw oysters. There is no oyster better than a raw oyster. But these wasn't raw oysters. They were knocked out of a jar (I'm guessing) and cooked into some eggs. And there's a world of difference between a not-raw jar-knocked oyster breaded and fried, and a not-raw jar-knocked oyster just knocked and notted and cooked into eggs, bacon notwithstanding.

Tell you what, I have never been madder at my always favorite restaurant than I was that Wednesday morning, Earl Butter as my witness. I was madder at them than they used to be at me 10 years ago for trying to keep the place a secret.

Which goes to show you that, in the words of Shakespeare, you never can tell, and therefore shouldn't write restaurant reviews. You should get a Brazilian.

And a Canadian who appreciates Brazilians.

On exotic-bodied chicken farmers.

If you're me.

My new favorite restaurant is Bombay. Indian. Only I'm madder at them than at Just For You. It was classic: small white girl orders something hot hot hot, and a knows-better waiterperson goes, "Oh, no no no, that's already the spiciest dish on our menu." He talks her into medium, and the spiciest dish on their menu turns out to be as spicy as a bowl of corn flakes. Been in a bad mood ever since.

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