Cheap Eats

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 »

Feathers flew

Winging it right at the Pizza Place on Noriega


CHEAP EATS The good wings were at Noriega Pizza in the Sunset. So there, Mission District! First Wayway leaves the building and takes his cutie-pie with him — not to mention their baby. And now this.

And not only to the Sunset, by the way, did they move, but way the hell out there in the Sunset, on 40-somethingth Avenue, around the corner from Noriega Pizza. Or, as it is more officially known, The Pizza Place on Noriega. Which Wayway likes better than Delfina, but maybe just because it's possible to eat there.Read more »

Playing Joe Cool


CHEAP EATS Last Straw Sullenger and me were walking. Just strolling around the corner, to Community Thrift, to see if they had some things. My list was long. But I was telling her, as we walked, about my football team — the "here" one — and how, after just three seasons, it was starting to come together for us. Two straight wins...

How a lot of our players who had never played football before are starting to really get it and kick ass, especially our quarterback.Read more »

Smoke and mortality

Can The Dancing Pig's smoked chicken mend a broken heart?


CHEAP EATS Earl Butter's dad died, so they cremated him and put him in a cookie jar. Words were said by Earl Butter. I wasn't there, or someone would have laughed at his joke about the Waltons.

On the day that Earl Butter was flying back from New Hampshire, I walked past a new barbecue place in the Castro. It smelled real good. I was hungry. It was lunchtime...


Earl Butter being one of my longest standing and therest-for-me friends, I just kept walking.Read more »

Mummy's the word

Hot players, drizzly victories, and some fine eggs Precita Park Cafe


CHEAP EATS The morning after Piggy and the Conch Shells got bonked in the first round of the playoffs, I packed a bag of ice and some turkey jerky and boarded a train for here. I had three days on that train to study my San Francisco team's playbook, but of course I didn't. I hobnobbed with stranger-than-life strangers, listened to Utah Phillips albums, wrote half a book, and just generally stared out the window.Read more »


Kicking it with burgers and the Verms at Thee Parkside


CHEAP EATS One of my favorite places to be is at the foot of Potrero Hill in Jackson Park, where I played pick-up baseball in the 1990s and soccer in the 2000s. It's very unclaustrophobic around there, maybe you've noticed. Although: the air is thick with Anchor Steam hops and, for me, memories of athletic style glory such as grounding out to third.Read more »

The future's got spice

Collaborating on life -- and tucking in at Pagarung Thai


CHEAP EATS Remember Montclair Village in the Oakland foothills? Yeah, you think you're in this cute little awesome little hidden-away hide-a-hood, until all of a sudden you realize most everything around you is a stupid chain. Starbucks and Peet's are on the best corners, across from each other. But you have to look a little harder to find Nelly's Java down the road, where the wireless is free and there are plenty of empty tables.

So hurray for mas and for pas, and let's hear it for Nelly in general.Read more »