A Sang Tung disappointment, but a good save by Perilla
CHEAP EATS Hedgehog has a favorite restaurant in San Francisco. No, it's not John's Snack & Deli, but only because you can't sit down in there, and so it's hard sometimes to think of it as a restaurant. Hedgehog's favorite restaurant restaurant is San Tung, the incredible chicken wing place.
We tried to go there during our Avenue Days. We did, we walked through the Golden Gate Park, past the De Young Museum, around that other thing, and then across the Big Rec baseball diamonds diagonally.
We did not step in dog shit. In this way, we were having the time of our lives. In other ways... not so much.
For example: There was an argument, at one point, over which way to turn. I said right. She said left. I said, no, right. She said left. I said it was my city, not hers, and if she wanted to go left she could but I was hungry so I was going right. She said I had no sense of direction, definitely left, blah blah blah, and I just looked at her. "Do you like being wrong?" I said. She laughed.
Meanwhile, it was Wednesday.
The importance of which will be obvious to all fans of San Tung chicken wings and even probably San Tung other things. We were arguing for no reason! For — sadly, maddeningly, ununderstandably, and entirely unreasonably — San Tung is closed on Wednesdays.
Why???!!! Wednesday is a day. Lovers of chicken wings will need chicken wings on Wednesdays too, don't they know this?! What do they think, that weeks should have an island of winglessness in the middle of them? I don't think so, and neither does Hedgehog; and yet, if I had a memory, I would have remembered that San Tung was closed on Wednesdays and steered us toward Memphis Minnie's or some other good-wing-having open-on-Wednesday place.
My sense of direction, unlike my memory, is almost impeccable. I know where the sun rises and sets. I know how to find the North Star. I know where that smell is coming from. And I think I know what you're thinking.
You're thinking, I thought you were in France, Ms. Sense-of-Direction.
Well, yeah, but we're time traveling. I know how to do that, too. For example, if it's Wednesday when you read this, never mind San Tung. If you set your mind or heart on dry-fried chicken wings, or even wet ones, you are going to wind up at Perilla Vietnamese restaurant, drowning your sorrow in a big good bowl of rare beef pho. Not that that's what we got.
We got five-spice chicken (great), garlic noodles (great), and the raw beef appetizer that is normally called I think Bó Tai Chanh, but Perilla calls it beef carpaccio — which just doesn't do it justice. It doesn't pack the same lemony, peppery, peanuty, fish saucy punch as Bó Tai Chanh. Nor was Perilla's as punchy or tender as the dish usually is.
Still, on the strength of the other stuff, I liked Perilla. No, it wasn't what we had crossed the park for. But. You know. The best-laid plans of chicken farmers and sound editors ... and so forth.
Or I should say writers and writers, technically, because as you know time has passed and Things have happened. I thought I was going to come back from France with a new lease on life, if not chicken farming, and the truth is that I did not.
I came back from France with a bum trigger finger and a healthy bum.
It's not what you think. I simply spent so much time there pushing butter knives through butter that I actually deeply bruised the bone at the tip of my right index finger. It's the first ever excessive buttering repetitive stress injury in the history of eating, that I know of.
So now almost everything I do kinda hurts, but especiall tpig — if o kw wat I ea.
I'm just kidding, of course. I mean, it hurts to use a knife, but not type. And I am otherwise as healthy as a hearse and happy to be reunited with my favorite language ever.
And my new favorite restaurant:
Daily: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
836 Irving St., S.F.