Sichuan healing

Hurting for the delicious no-frills delights of Sichuan Home in the Richmond


CHEAP EATS Hedgehog tried to play flag football with my pink team, and before the game even started she broke her wrist, both bones, and had to have surgery.

All she did was trip over her feet and fall wrong.

Boom: Titanium rods.

The week that week was hard, and then it was Tuesday again and I was going to play flag football with my pink team without her, after dinner.

"Whatever you do," she said, over my first-ever attempt at a summer gumbo, "don't get hurt."

The advantage to being a complete and total lifelong klutz, I assured my Hedgehog, is that you get really good at falling. Your body just knows where to go, and how to hit. "You wouldn't understand," I said.

And it's true: Hedgehog is solid. Grounded. She never even drops anything, let alone drops. Whereas I am bruised and scraped all over, all the time, but have never (knock knock) broken a bone.

My gumbo was good. A little over-okra-y, and not juicy enough, but — .

I'll get it down. Next time.

"Don't. Get. Hurt," Hedgehog said again when I kissed her and left her on the couch with everything she would need for the next couple hours: ice pack, ice water, open pain-pill bottle, and baseball on TV.

I promised I wouldn't get hurt, then went and threw my 49-year-old body around the football field. I played offense and defense, but not special teams, because that's where, yeah, I do tend to get hurt.

And, as you know, I couldn't. For at least another week, I was going to have to take care of Hedgehog. Do all those two-handed things that need done, in life. Drive her to work, to the doctor. Wake up with her at night, there-there her, and go get more ice.

We won! Nobody got hurt! Not even me! We're 2-0 now.

I was T-boned pulling out of the parking lot. Don't be hurt, pleeease, don't be hurt, my head said to my body as we 360'd across three lanes and crunched onto the neutral ground.

What the world needs now, as far as Hedgehog and me are concerned, is a new favorite Chinese restaurant. That's not going to happen in New Orleans. For one thing, we no longer have a car to go out and eat with. For another, it's just not going to happen. It isn't. Like me getting hurt. (I didn't.)

Our new favorite Chinese restaurant is in San Francisco, and we can't wait to be back there, home home, at Sichuan Home in the Richmond. Poor Hedgehog. The broken wrist, the broken car, me for a partner, and she hasn't even eaten at Sichuan Home yet.

Yet, it was she who referred to it just now, over lunch (leftover gumbo) as our new favorite Chinese restaurant. That's because she knows. That's because I can't shut up about it, ever since I've been back — how the fried calamari was almost all tentacles, and just perfectly crispy, exploding into salty, spicy holidays on your tongue.

Well, mine.

Oh, and the special vegetable combo, which was an unlikely mix of taro root, lotus root, and sweet potaters, all slivered into a nest of little sticks — orange, tan, and green. Such a strange and wonderful variety of textures, colors, and tastes. And sweet potatoes are Hedgehog's favorite kind of potato.

The chicken salad, which is warm and lettuceless, and the spicy beef ribs with baby almonds are other must-haves.

Must not necessarily haves include "pig blood, fish fillets & intestine stew."

But, honestly, this is a great little no-frills, awesome-food, and extensively-menued kind of place. Over 150 things. Friendliness... "nutritional mutton soup" .. .

Props to my secret agent lady, Sal the Pork Chop, for turning me on to it, and for eating there with me, and for reminding me what we ate when I texted her just now and asked — not to mention what I thought about it.

I mean, I didn't get hurt, but, really: where is my mind?

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