March 5 2003
funny in Kansas
Arts and Entertainment
by Dan Leone
GET LESS ORGANIZED , it says somewhere in the little memo book I reserve for motivational speeches to myself, shopping lists, important phone numbers with no names next to them, poems that would make Ogden Nash feel like a heavyweight, story ideas, drawings of hats and teacups, and thoughts on the subject. Any subject, such as How Organized to Be.
On the last page of same little memo book, if you find it (and I have every expectation of losing it; I always do), you will encounter a strange and sloppy grid: four rows and six columns more-or-less defined by three crooked lines going one way, five the other. It was going to be a month. This one March. The astute observer will observe, however, that even if one could cram 30 or 31 days into four weeks (with the help of two or three strategically placed diagonals, say), one could never, ever fit seven days into six days, no matter how much coffee one has.
Maybe I was only going to do anything on six days a week this month ... take Sundays, for example, entirely off. But then how would that account for the sad fact that every single one of the 24 squares is utterly empty? I never even bothered to put numbers in them.
Do me a favor, if you find this little memo book. Number those squares for me (I don't care how you do it 24, 28, 30, 31) and write in each one: "Get less organized."
This could be my last Cheap Eats. It won't be, I know, but it could be, the drama queen in me insists. Most probably the week-late paycheck got lost in the mail or something similarly mundane and explainable but even if it comes today, hey, I could get run over by a turkey on my way across the street to the mailbox. Or sucked into the money machine at the bank. Or turned into poetry by any one of Sonoma County's many evil surrealist farmers.
These are hard times for everyone, myself included. Why, Earl Butter himself, who should be getting thousand-dollar royalty checks for all the spectacular country songs he's written, has had to resort to driving an airport shuttle, 7 p.m.-to-7 a.m. shift.
Shit. I was supposed to bring him a carton of eggs to eat, according to my lists of Things to Do, on four separate occasions last week, and the annoying thing is that I did bring the eggs to the city with me three of the four times; I just forgot to give them to him. The fourth time, Saturday, I called and woke him up and said, "I forgot the eggs. I'll buy you breakfast."
"Elvis?" he said. (Maybe he was still sleeping.)
"No, man, he's dead," I said. "How many times do I have to tell you?"
"How many times have you told me?" he said, not sounding sufficiently confused, I thought.
"Just this once," I said. "But if I have to tell you again, all deals are off, eggwise." I told him I'd pick him up in 10 minutes and then I showed up in 40, to give him time to wake the rest of the way up.
We went to Chava's.
You're thinking, he already reviewed Chava's, didn't he?
No. I checked. I wrote about the old one many times without ever actually reviewing it, and I reviewed the new one once, but without actually writing about it, or even eating there. Well, what better time than now to put it all together for once. Earl Butter, lard knows, could use some eggs, and we could all use us a little good news:
The new Chava's is even better than the old one, at least as far as the huevos rancheros go which is pretty goddamn fucking far. Old Chava's, on 18th Street, used to give you three eggs in their huevos rancheros. New Chava's, on Mission, says two eggs on the menu, and guess how many they give you ... Four! (4!) At least that's how many yolks I busted open with my rolled up homemade flour tortillas. But maybe one of those might've been a double-yolker. At any rate, what with all the beans and rice and melted cheese all over everything, it was just as good and greasy and all-around great a feast as prefire huevos at Chava's. Tortillas too.
Only problem is the chips weren't homemade, like they used to be, I think. And the atmosphere isn't nearly as atmospheric. It's where a taquería used to be (San Jose #2, in fact). And it's not as crowded or boisterous as the old Chava's was, of a weekend morning. I know, I know. Hard times. Hard times.
We made the mistake (inexcusable, for a chickeny guy like me) of paying some big bills last week, counting on an egg that still hasn't hatched. Boing. Boing. Let me go check the mail again.
Chava's. 2839 Mission (at 24th St.), S.F. (415) 282-0283. Daily, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Takeout available. Beer. Credit cards not accepted. Wheelchair accessible.