The mad hatter

El Rio's fry bread guy mends romantic hunger


CHEAP EATS I had a coffee date after work in Alameda. He wasn't feeling well and wondered about chicken soup. I knew exactly what to tell him, and he invited me to come along, but got it to go.

"Do you want a drink?" he said, while we were waiting.

I liked the guy alright, but don't drink before dinner.

When his soup came, he walked me to my bike and gave me a hug.

"Let me know what you think of the soup," I said. The place was La Piñata, but it said something else on it. It still said La Piñata, but it just also said I-forget-what. Some other name. So maybe it was La Piñata, and maybe not. But, hey, I get sick too, and what if my favorite bowl of chicken soup in Alameda is not what it used to be?

These were the thoughts I was thinking. Honestly, I knew I wasn't going to see the guy again, datewise. I just wanted to know about the soup. In retrospect, of course I should have just ordered a bowl, to stay, and sent him packing.

I remember why I didn't. I had to get to Deevee's house in downtown Oakland to pick up/borrow my/her pink cowboy hat before she went to sleep. This was important because I was going camping the next day, and Deevee goes to sleep early. So no matter how hungry I was (very very), I had to suck it up, bike to BART, BART to downtown Oakland, bike to Deevee's, and bike back toward BART on an empty stomach.

All for the sake of a pink cowboy hat. What can I say? I have a huge fucking head, and this is one of only two hats I have found in my life that fits it. It's good to have a cowboy hat when you go camping. Keeps the sun off your ears, the rain out of your eyes, and the pine needles out of your hair — and if it's pink it might even make you popular with park rangers.

Just a thought.

Thinking which, I forsook a bowl of sit-down soup to get to Deevee's before bedtime (hers). Then, on my way back to BART, I thought I would duck into the first restaurant I saw for a quick little bite of something-or-other.

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