Cheap Eats

Ping pong

Roadhouse BBQ

CHEAP EATS It's a swirly, soupy thing, life, and I would like to be less dizzy in it but there's this furiously pointless Ping-Pong game, nonstop, between my head and my gut. Fortunately, I'm a fan of the sport. And of spin, and slams.

Cousin Choo-Choo Train says I am never quite satisfied unless my dinner guests go home a little nervous, on top of everything else. And it's true that I like to err on the side of salmonella, that I have no respect whatsoever for trichinosis, and that E. Read more »

Shitloads of Money

Willow Wood Market and Cafe

CHEAP EATS Stirring constantly ... I'm a troublemaker. For complicated reasons, my old pals, um, Ronnie "Zack" Pottery and his wife, Mrs. "Zack" Pottery, were running from the law. Understand that these are two of the sweetest, law-abidingest people you will ever meet. They live very cleanly, simply, and musically in subrural, um, Idaho, pay taxes, stay sober, write, work, and record at home, go to the doctor, and consume more tea than anyone I know. Read more »

Craft fare

Pretty Lady

CHEAP EATS There was this crafts fair at one of our bars, and Sockywonk said she knew a guy who was giving away waffles. "Crafts fair?" I said, picturing clothes, jewelry, and purses, but not waffles.

Yeah, she said. He'd figured out a way to get waffle batter into an aerosol can, like Reddy-Wip, and he was promoting his brilliant invention by feeding all the craft fairies for free.

I loved Sockywonk for knowing such a thing. Read more »


Cinderella Russian Bakery

CHEAP EATS I see flowers very differently. Not because I'm a woman now, or a softy, or insane, or even a chicken farmer. It's a kid thing. I learned it from little Clara de la Cooter, who bonked into the world a year ago and very quickly became my new favorite person in it.

Probably not a lot of people get to babysit their ex's kids. So I'm lucky in that sense, and so is Clara. She's a passionate eater — I daresay a budding foodie. Her favorite food so far is eggs. Read more »

Change of heart

Califia Taqueria

CHEAP EATS You don't know me. You think you do, but not even my closest friends in the world know what a foolish, silly, misguided, and clumsy chicken farmer I can be. Key word: can be. Key words.

Luckily, we do have a choice, or at least a say. I have decided to be flattered by what happened on the night when I made a beautiful chicken pie out of one of my own, then accidentally dumped it in the sink. This point of view was not easy to come by.

At first I felt about as awful as it is possible to feel without dying. Read more »


Fruitful Grounds

CHEAP EATS One week you smell like bacon, and the next week it's skunk. Life is like this.

And do you know what a skunk sounds like? They make one of the most sinister noises in the animal kingdom, I think. They speak in a kind of wheezy, whiny murmur that forebodes death and disaster like a bunch of gangsters with head colds complaining about the service at a Chinese dive.

First I thought they were trying to make a hit on my chickens. It was three in the morning and I was in the throes of my depression. Read more »

The drop

Dragon Rouge

CHEAP EATS On his 40th birthday Jolly Boy talked about beautiful. Beauty this and beautiful that. We were in a bar in the Mission, saying good night. He was impressed and grateful, I think he said, to have seen so much beauty in 40 years in the world.

"Good night, Jolly Boy," I said.

I hugged some other people too, and one of them said I smelled like bacon.

This floated me home to Earl Butter's closet. I walked across the Mission at 12:30 a.m. Read more »

Duck me, I'm sick

Bai Som Thai Kitchen

CHEAP EATS It had been a few years since I'd been sick, and I'd forgotten how to do it. I walked around in the rain, looking for this party. And when I found it, I stayed until almost the end. Then I called up the Boy Who I'm Kissing and asked if I could come over and kiss him.

In my defense, I didn't know at the time that I was sick sick, as in the flu. I thought it was just lung cancer or something, from breathing all the smoke that I breathe. Read more »


Metro Kathmandu

CHEAP EATS Bernie Jungle made me a frittata, then got the ladder out, and we went onto his roof to look at the chimney.

"It's going to snow," I said.

He didn't argue. Bernie did time in Cleveland, and he can feel when it's going to snow as well as I can. He just moved to my neck of the woods from Oakland and now lives five minutes east of Occidental, in Sebastopol. I live five minutes west of Occidental, in Occidental. Read more »


Citrus Club

CHEAP EATS My little brother needs a big sister, and my big sister needs a little one. Chickens need a farmer. Bread needs butter. Earl Butter needs bread. Crawdad de la Cooter needs me to paint a bookshelf. She's pregnant and can't breathe the fumes. I'm not, and can. But don't want to, so she bribes me with K.C. Barbecue or Zachary's Pizza, then both.

"What time should I be there?"

"How soon can you be here?"

I don't know. Weirdo the Cat needs warmth and affection. Dishes ... My lover needs loving. Read more »