Rite Spot Cafe


by Dan Leone
July 2, 2003

The rite stuff

GOT MY CHOLESTEROL checked. Got the results back. Got milk, got cheese. Got a barrel of flour, lord, I've got a bucket of lard (in the immortal words of the late Jimmie Rodgers). Butter, beware. Look out, eggs. Steak, stick around. I want to talk to you.

I've got work to do.

And when I'm not working on all of the above, these days, I'm laughing in the face of Crawdad de la Cooter, wife. Now I'd like to laugh in the faces of all my friends and readers who have suggested and sometimes even urged me to get my cholesterol checked when I turned 40. Your worst fear is realized: low cholesterol.

Yeah yeah, you'll laugh last, I know, I know, but for now it's all over easy and biscuits, pass the butter. Pass morebutter. Life is good. Or, in statistical terms: 160 mg/dL (anywhere under 240, according to my great pal S. Batchu, M.D., is good). That's total cholesterol. My HDL (the good kind) is 48 mg/dL (anywhere over 40, says good ol' S. "Great Guy" Batchu, M.D., is good).

Hard to say, in terms of celebration ... because all of life, as you may have gathered, has been wall-to-wall wally wally ever since the results came back in my favor. But I have to write about something, so last night's chicken parmesan springs to mind. I mean, breaded and fried chicken smothered with melted cheese has got to be good and bad for you, marinara sauce notwithstanding. If only it were chicken-fried steak parmesan, or at least dark meat ...

Or liver. I was with the Liver Lady, with whom I don't eat often enough, and with whom, when we do eat together, we don't often enough eat liver. Come to think of it, I don't think we've ever eaten liver together so much as we've talked about eating liver, and liver in general. Last night it was the meaning of life. When you're in your 40s you'll know what I'm talking about. I was holding forth on the subject, in fact, feeling inspired by recent revelations and meditations, and was just about to tie it all in with liver and onions when Crawdad, Gator Gator, and the Dith showed up, ruining everything with their thirtysomething chit-chat: "How you doing?" this, and "Good to see you" that.

This was at the Rite Spot Cafe, by the way. Folsom and 17th, in the Mission. One of the city's few actual bars where you can get an actually decent meal for actually not all that much dough. And I'm talking tablecloths, candles, and entertainment: in this case me, Lord Exister < which is about as cheap as entertainment gets, this side of the sidewalk. Also means my chicken parm and wines were on the house. Otherwise it would've costed me $10.95 and $3.50 a glass, respectively. Pasta dishes are more like seven, eight bucks, and then they also have burgers and sandwiches, salads and such. Chicken wings. I saw some good-looking chicken wings.

The atmosphere is old-school Mission: rock 'n' roll, rather than trendy. It's somewhat gritty and somewhat sort of nice (tablecloths, candles) < without any pretentiousness in either direction ... just a good old-timey neighborhood bar, in other words. With a piano. And pretty good grub.

I loved the chicken parmesan. It was fried just right, retaining plenty of juiciness, and then the sauce-to-cheese ratio was right on, too: just enough cheese, more than enough sauce. It came with potatoes and steamed broccoli and carrots. Plus plenty of bread and butter.

Liver Lady got ravioli ($7.95) in the same sort of marinara sauce. I tried them and liked them. When Crawdad joined us, she ordered a big salad. I didn't have to try hers because I'd already had a side one with my meal, and it was good too, with tomatoes and red onions in a great vinaigrette.

You know me < I'd love to just sit here and talk food/shop/shit with you, and meaning of life with Liver Lady, and blah blah blah with the kids ... but I'm double giggin' tonight, like I told you, and it's time to go bang a bunch of songs out of the old steel drum....

From Lord Exister's "Happy High Cholesterol Blues" (written before he ever even got his cholesterol checked):

"I eat two eggs for breakfast

For lunch I eat two more

For dinner I'd eat chicken,

But we're just too doggone poor

So it's eggs again for dinner

Honey, fix me three to start

I love you so much,

Don't worry 'bout my heart"