L.E. Leone

A lady's choice

Panda Country Kitchen
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le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS There is a kind of chocolate bar with bacon in it, so you know. There. You can go back to sleep now. You can believe in God again, or call and cancel your next 40 years of therapy, or board that airplane, or fall in love. I can't do any of those things, yet, but you have my permission to go ahead without me. I'll catch up.

First I'm going to sit here and work on my sweet tooth, which I've been trying to work on my whole female life. Read more »

Poodle piddle problems

Bakesale Betty's
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le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS You thought you were done with this, I know, but I forgot to say that I did get a couple of correct answers to my months-ago riddle: what my mom said when I came home crying after the beating I took for peeing on my kindergarten teacher's hot-car-melted poodle.

Two readers got it right, but only one accepted lunch on me, and that was my new friend B.B. Teaspoon, who earned her fried chicken salad by crafting her answer into a brilliant, Ogden Nashish, Shel Silversteiny — no, downright Dr. Read more »

Walk the line

Soi 4
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le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS "It's hard to find people to eat pork bellies with me," he said, over pork bellies, and I thought: I'm your girl.

This was my second date of the day. I'd had a chef salad for lunch in another town, with someone else, and was not his girl. I could tell. Still, we walked down the hot sidewalk and into a famous bar with trophied animal heads all over all the walls. I'd always wanted to go there, and liked it inside, so I asked if he wanted to stay, have a Coke, or something. Read more »

Like butter

Uncle Willie's BBQ & Fish
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le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS I was eating eggs fried in butter and scratch biscuits made with butter and then slathered with butter, thinking about addiction, and how I don't have an addictive personality.

I'm addicted to popcorn. But oddly enough, I don't like butter on my popcorn. That's how I know I'm not addicted to butter. Just popcorn.

The last time I saw my sweet, good, dear friend what's-her-name, we were standing in her kitchen at 9 p.m. eating butter with spoons. It wasn't just any butter. Read more »

Razzed and dazzled

Getting her hair did -- and feeling downright sexy about it
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CHEAP EATS My new favorite hair chopper is a magician's assistant named Dazzle, thanks to whom I accidentally got beautiful. I admit this defies logic, not to mention math. But defying those kinds of disciplines — with the help of elves and pixies with names like Dazzle — turns out to be one of my specialties.

I wish there was a way to use time-lapse photography in Cheap Eats. Read more »

Bones and balls

Mary's Place
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le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS Bones are supposed to decompose, right? But sometimes, for the sake of archaeology, they don't. They pile up behind you in the cave until, if you eat as much meat as I do, you eventually have to live outside.

It's like naming a band. The old ones don't go away, so it just keeps getting harder, which is why many musicians my age either give up or rejoin their old groups and go on reunion tours. Or they switch genres, simply so they can recycle the old names but with z's for s's. Read more »

A time to kill

Thai Noodle Jump
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le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS It's a question of balance. If I brag, it's because I also put myself down a lot, and I wouldn't want anyone to think me insecure. That's not it at all. I am capable of saving the day, but probably more likely to trip over a milk crate with a crunched, empty can in it. My fuck-ups are occasionally spectacular and always well documented. You don't have to read Cheap Eats. Just look at my shirt.

I mean, read Cheap Eats, by all means. The thing about failure is that it makes better copy than success. Read more »

Yet

La Piñata
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le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS "Well, sweetie, what did you expect?" my mother said after I came home crying from the beating I took for peeing on my kindergarten teacher's melted dog. "You can't piddle a puddle of poodle without getting paddled!"

... crickets ...

Oh, Christ. You're not buying it, are you?

I know because ever since my punch line and I were so heartwarmingly reunited, I've been telling that joke — the joke I wrote — to everyone I know, and a lot of people I don't. Read more »

The punch line

La Corneta
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le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS I wrote a joke. I don't mean that I tried to write something funny. I've been doing that (which is to say, this) since I was nine. I mean that for the first time, I wrote a joke joke, the kind that gets told by comedians, barbers ... basically everybody in the world tells jokes. Except me, cause I can never remember the punch line.

For the joke I wrote, I made the punch line first. Read more »

Chickens and cake

Robata Grill & Sushi
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le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS I put the chocolate chip cookies in my purse and of course forgot about them. There were three, homemade and perfect, and the small plastic bag that they were in immediately entangled itself with feed store receipts, directions to junkyards, takeout menus from restaurants I've been meaning to eat at for 14 years, a barrette, some lipstick, and hand cream. The pills, pen, loose change, and wads of ones go without saying, I presume. Read more »