Cheap Eats

Pears and pairings

Gemini life, and Fillmore Mexican Grill
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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS There's that stretch of Fillmore Street between the Western Addition and Japantown. I'm rarely there, but when I am, it amazes and amazes me how otherworldly it increasingly becomes. Chains, boutiques, chains ... Read more »

The art of biking

Bluegrass in the arctic, Chiang Mai on Geary
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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS Earl Butter and me decided there was one thing we wanted to see at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. So I stole my downstairs neighbor's bike, borrowed a lock from another neighbor ... who had to figure out the combination on the Internet ... which took time ... Read more »

Half and half

Mount Whitney Restaurant
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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS At a pretty good restaurant in a small town, other side of the mountains, we were greeted and seated by a small boy, age 9, 10, 11 tops. We looked at each other, looked at the kid, looked at each other, shrugged, and followed him to our table.

"Can I get you anything to drink?" he said.

We had just emerged from Death Valley, where the heat was intense and the scenery surreal, and milk was the last thing on our minds.

"Um, what kind of lemonades do you have?" I said, scanning the menu very quickly. Read more »

Flourescence

Blinking beelines and 2546 San Bruno Cafe
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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS It looked like a good place to sit and so we sat there, basking in the relative fluorescentlessness. Compared to Joshua Tree National Park, there are a lot of restaurants to choose from on San Bruno Avenue in San Francisco. Dive after dive after dive, it's a Cheap Eats mecca. Whereas Joshua Tree has lizards. Stones. A bee that won't leave me alone.

My sweetie and me are under a rock, or rather, under a complex formation of rocks, sharing an apple and writing on our laptops. Read more »

Sunrise

Chuckles on the 21 Hayes, Tapatio at Sunrise Restaurant
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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS I take back everything I said about Kaiser. Not because the receptionist at the Oakland lab asked if my semen sample was my husband's, and not because not one sperm was seen in said sample (although both these little details did make me smile) ... Read more »

Pho la love

Kang Nam Pho House
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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS Don't worry, I sat down at the conference table in my office in Oakland with Earl Butter, a big bottle of gin, a small bottle of grapefruit soda, a bowl of ice, and two small glasses, and we talked until almost midnight. It's taken care of. We're all going to be okay. Even you.

He'd brought a couple bones over from Looney's Barbecue, around the corner, but I'd already bloated myself on takeout pho from Kang Nam, around the other corner. Read more »

In the pipeline

On the permanence of waiting at Kaiser
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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS Bedazzled, bewildered, and bejuiced, I dream that I start an already started car, and instead of the grind of everyday catastrophe I get another level of startedness. An overdrive. An engine firing on more cylinders than it even has. This bodes well. For the first time in over three weeks, I wake up without a headache.

Still, I keep my appointment with my doctor. How could I not? I've been waiting to see her for 23 painful days. God bless Kaiser Permanente, it's the best I can do!

And I love my doctor. Read more »

Corn on the curb

Cobs across America, and a sandwich at Tay Tah Cafe in Albany
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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS I pick up my brother at the airport. It might not always be the Oakland airport, but I will always pick up my brother at the airport. Besides love, there's corn in it for me. Ohio corn. I didn't know about this angle when I tried to lift his suitcase, while he was busy with a big ragged box with duct tape all over it, situating this in the back of my little car — just so, because that's the way he is.

Me, I've been struggling with the Meaning of Life a little lately, and you never know where you will find a sense of purpose. Read more »

Man in the mirror

Tropical lamb burritos and a possibly fictional crisis at the Hot Shop
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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS I love the fog. I love a street lamp. I love my log pile. I had just driven down from the shack so I needed to pee, plus lunch.

"Lamb burrito with chile lime sauce," I said, because I had to know.

"You like spicy?" he said.

"Yes."

"Then you should get the tropical lamb."

"Tropical lamb burrito," I said. "Do you have a bathroom?"

He motioned over his shoulder, through the kitchen, and I went there. But it was unclear. Read more »

Hard-headed

Duck soup for one at the Old Siam
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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS The wheel came off the shopping cart and the whole thing went over. Cans clanged and rolled. Plastic milk jugs bounced, and the toddler in the kid seat crashed down with them, helpless, tangling with cereal boxes and plastic bags of produce.

Her mom, who was also holding a baby, had the look of a mom who was watching her two-year-old fall on her head. In between the bonk and the scream, there was that split second where question mark and exclamation mark meet. And stare at each other. Read more »