Adieu, Paris

Our correspondent lies resplendent in New Orleans; Earl Butter visits Pad Thai


CHEAP EATS Dear Earl Butter,

Here's a funny thing. I am supposed to be on a plane right now, and I'm not. You know in movies when the tearful lover is in line at the gate, wearing sunglasses, even while the other lover, the one with better sneakers, is dashing through the airport, leaping over luggage, dodging go-carts, and generally knocking over ordinary citizens in a desperate attempt to stop her?

Well, this was nothing like that. Not even a little. Hedgehog has an ingrown toenail and is in no condition to dash, dodge, or leap. In consideration of which I had tried to get her to purchase an airplane ticket to somewhere, but she was all like, why?

"Um," I explained, "because — hello — my feet are fine?" In fact I am training for opening day of the SFWFFL on March 12, and running through airports is pretty good for me.

She was all like, oh. Still ... did she buy herself an airplane ticket? No, she did not. At 11 a.m. this morning, when my flight to France took off without me, I was sitting on my slave quarters bed, calmly sipping coffee and reading the Sunday Times.

Hedgehog was home reviewing post offices for Yelp. Sure, she is happy I'm still in New Orleans, as am I. In fact, tomorrow afternoon we are going to sit on her porch! So you know, though, two other people are even happier than we are that I didn't get on that plane. I speak of course of the Doughboy's moms, Butterby and Super Duper Flashlight Mom, who have been threatening since my arrival to cut off my feet by way of keeping me here.

Time and again, I have argued that without feet I would not be much use to their baby. Eventually, after many repetitions and PowerPoint demonstrations, they "got" this — thankfully because I wouldn't have been much use to my football team either.

Butterby cried when I told them I was staying. She had to leave the room. It wasn't the first time I made her cry. The first time, I was explaining barbecued eggs to her, and when I got to the part where I wrap the bacon "scarf" around the bell pepper, she started to go emo on me.

Super Duper took me to the Krewe du Vieux parade and caught throws for me. She's tall, aggressive, and Southern by birth, so she says "y'all" with authority. But you know what? So do the Asian people at Nola's many fine Vietnamese joints.

My moms's child, my charge, is perhaps the most edible thing our planet has ever produced. It's all I can do to keep my own teeth out of the fuzzy skin behind his ears, let alone ward off the dogs and coyotes of New Orleans. When we are at the zoo, all the animals, even the vegetarians, come right up to the edge of their domains and stare at him in a kind of a trance.

Do you think he might be Jesus?

Dear You,

That is great. Me and Joel went to the Pad Thai Restaurant near where he now lives, which is Bernal, and that's sad for me in that he no longer lives in the building, but great all-in-all because he has a great setup with a great lady and a terrific little boy wherein he can now get a little weepy listening to pop songs when he thinks about how wonderful life can be. It was Presidents Day, and I was wondering if it was all presidents, including the Bushes.

Joel said no, just two of them.

At Pad Thai, there is no confusion because they have pictures of all the dishes they serve. No lunch specials to speak of, but everything is around $8 or $11. We split a mango salad, which had shrimp and squid and was lime-y and good-spicy. And I got the Egg Bomb because if it's on the menu, you have to get it. And Joel got the chicken with green beans. Except for the egg, our dishes were very similar. Delicious.

Yers, Earl

Pad Thai

Mon.–Fri. 11 a.m.–10 p.m.;

Sat.–Sun. noon–10 p.m.

3259 Mission, SF

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