October 30, 2002
Arts and Entertainment
by dan leone
LET'S SEE, last week I wrapped up the cheap-foolery with a rare political plea. This week, in case you missed it (or forgot), I'll start off on the exact same note:
Vote! And don't just vote for anything. Vote against PG&E and landlordladypeople and big bad bidness, and for me. I mean in place of me, because I don't live in the city no more and can't. If you don't know what's going on, just do like I would do: do whatever the Bay Guardian tells you to do, and if you do know what's going on, then that's already the plan, I'm sure. And if there's such a thing as write-in propositions, write one in that says Ann's Cafe has to come back out of retirement.
There. That's it for Cheap Endorsements. I guess this about does it for baseball season, too. So after today you won't have to worry about me only ever eating anywhere with a TV with baseball on TV. Football, if it's Sunday ... but there's an 85.7 percent chance that it isn't.
But it was when I went to Beijing on Irving. The 49ers had already lost to the Saints, and the Giants were losing to southern California 7-4, according to the car radio. I saw a parking spot, so I parked. I'm like that.
There was an old Toyota van like mine, also parked, only its occupants were watching the game on a little tiny portable TV on the dashboard, windows down. I asked what the score was, even though I knew what the score was, because it seemed like the right thing to do.
"Seven-four, Angels," they said.
There didn't seem to be any food in their van either, so I went and looked at the menu on the window of the Chinese restaurant I'd just passed: Beijing on Irving. I looked at the menu with one eye, I should say, while the other eye was keeping an eye on the game on TV up in one corner of the restaurant.
Jeff Kent hit a solo home run while I was standing there which of course made up my mind for me more than anything I saw on the menu. It was his first of the postseason, I think, so the place had to be good juju.
Atmospherically, Beijing on Irving is somewhat institutional, with one of those drop-top white panel ceilings, that standard-issue red-and-black carpet, and a glassed-in kitchen. The tables have pink tablecloths with glass on top. The napkins are cloth, and the music is almost Muzak.
But why was there music anyway, when there could have been sound on the TV, or better yet, the game on the radio? The only other people in the place besides me (and I was obviously there for the game) were a family of four two too many of whom were toddlers in the corner right under the TV, and they were making so much noise fighting over food and playing with straws that Joe Buck and Tim McCarver could have been singing the entire score of West Side Story, or even Oklahoma!, for all they'd've ever known.
Anyway, I ordered chow mein from the "Chef's Special" section of the menu. Six-fifty for a pile of food big enough to nurse through a four-hour slugfest not to mention game two of the World Series.
I'd also ordered an order of potstickers ($3.60) to tide me over until the chow mein came, but then the chow mein came first, and it was immediately obvious I wasn't going to need no potstickers. I took a break from the chow mein and ate them anyway, reasoning that chow mein would be better left over.
Everything was great! The chow mein still is great. (I'm eating it for lunch while I write this.) It has skinny noodles, lots of pork, lots and lots of scrambled eggs (which is all I need), and finely shredded carrots, cabbage, and snow peas. And to give you some idea just how much there was (is), it's two days later.
Huge portions is a good excuse I guess for everything being a buck or two more than you want it to be, if you're me. All the beef stuff, most of the chicken stuff, and half of the pork stuff is over seven bucks. Seafood's mostly over nine. Duck's more than that, and lamb is slightly less.
On the other hand, they have lunch specials for under five, and those come with soup, appetizer, and rice.
And on the other other hand, the ringingest endorsement for the place:
it was 7-4, Angels, when I first showed up in the window, and when I
left the Giants were winning 9-7. That right there makes this one of
the great restaurants in San Francisco.