Cheap Eats

Dishing the dirt

Potato, taro, and yuca -- yum!


CHEAP EATS I didn't do justice to Curry Boyzz, my new favorite restaurant, in last week's review; I realize that. I completely and utterly neglected to mention who I ate there with!

Well, Hedgehog.

Moving right along ...

Wait, there was someone else at our table, I feel certain. But Hedgehog, who is the half of our family that remembers things, is at work. She is also the half of our family that works.Read more »

Eat these words

It's all a yummy breakfast hot mess at Little Griddle


CHEAP EATS One by one I am finding my old friends and hugging them. Last night at the Giants game, for example, I found El Centro, who — by the time you read this — will have sailed to Alcatraz and swum back to San Francisco. I'm so proud and impressed, and excited because, assuming she doesn't drown and/or get eaten by sharks on her way home, there's going to be a barbecue after at her house.

El Centro will be my second friend to have attempted this feat; not the barbecue, the swim.Read more »


Moving back -- and digging in at Tacolicious


CHEAP EATS I can't tell you how beside myself I am to be back in San Francisco. I can tell you, but it will sound like it's coming from over there. It's not! I'm right here where I belong, typing at you from the warmth of my very own(ish) clawfoot tub in the bowels of my old dungeon-y hovel at 18th and Guerrero.

Upstairs, in the relative sunshine of our other, airier studio apartment, Hedgehog is pacing back and forth and saying to herself: We live in San Francisco. We live in San Francisco. Until finally she can't take it anymore and shaves off her eyebrows. Read more »

Batter up

Baseball, hot dogs, fried pierogi .... and Laotian treats at Ventiane Cafe


CHEAP EATS Hedgehog and me are on the road again. Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone Park, and the Mission lie ahead — by mere days! — and shrinking in the rearview mirror are both our families, several old priced-out-of-SF pals, 10 big states, four or five completely different kinds of barbecue, and many, many baseball games. Including big league ones, a minor league one, a semi-pro one, and a little league all-star game.Read more »

Mega Millions

Hitting the fried chicken and pulled pork jackpot at Rainbow Donuts and Smoke Berkeley


CHEAP EATS I still have some Berkeley wonders to tell you about. In fact, I've been saving the best for last: fried chicken and donuts at Rainbow Donut, which is my new favorite restaurant — and just down San Pablo from there, my new favorite restaurant: Smoke Berkeley.Read more »

So close

Birthday time! But first, some gift-wrappy gold bags at Krua Thai


CHEAP EATS It's birthday season! Me, yeah, but more importantly:

Happy birthday to C. Chunk, 5. Happy birthday to K. Chunk, 4. I took the train home for C. Chunk's birthday, and now I'm taking it home for K. Chunk's. That's a lot of trains, in case you were wondering, and I'm starting to feel like I could write a Jimmie Rodgers song.

What rhymes with Amtrak?

Ah, nevermind. I think I'll play with my laptop.Read more »

Whorls away

In the swim -- with not very many matzoh balls -- at Soup Freaks


CHEAP EATS Way out in the water.

A severed head, a small treasure in gold, or drugs, my own death, fish, a baby in a basket, the murder weapon, the meaning of life, peace and quiet, a clue .. . A long time ago, when I was fearless, I swam toward something. That's how curious I was. It could have been anything, but I had to know.

Now, I can float. I like to think I can float.

Then, I was a pretty good swimmer. I could swim, see me swimming?Read more »

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."Read more »

Deutch maneuver

Sausage at Schmidt's, skewers at Rice Bowl


CHEAP EATS "Berlin is awesome," Kayday writes me, from Berlin. "We should all live here."

Amazingly, I answer her in German. "Genau," I write.

Berlin is awesome, true. But it's one thing May through September, and something very much else the rest of the time. Is my opinion.

Kayday lives in Seattle, and complains about the weather there from September through July.

She doesn't want to live in Germany, I feel certain.Read more »

The Katz correlations

Thinking out the hole thing at Katz bagels


CHEAP EATS Bagels aren't my favorite thing. Maybe you've noticed. I haven't new-favorite-restauranted a lot of bagel places, if any, through the years. But then one day I was on my way to BART, very much in need of caffeination, and Cafe Petra was, to my surprise, all boarded up.Read more »