few things in this world are better than a downtown dog, wrapped naughtily in bacon, fried on a happenstance griddle, covered in grilled onions…onions that have in turn been frying in the pork fat released from the swine that lovingly cradles a defiantly skanky oscar meyer wiener. turns out i like to eat cheeks, beaks, and assholes more than the next guy.
few things are better than that except for maybe those lovely little puppies served out of similar carts in las plazas de ocotlan. i remember my fat little 11 year-old self greedily scarfing down one or two or three. they were laced with something between a mayo and a crema and came in a steamy bun. surrounded by the sounds of spanish, dazzled by the liveliness of a townsquare, and hungry because i was always hungry, i would look forward to those weekend trips into ocotlan and those hotdogs…my grandmother was always too nice to deny me as many as i wanted, besides, i was a growing boy.
perhaps only other sensuous pleasures––drinking beer, making love, smoking hand roll cigs, smelling the moistened earth of a rural mexican village just after a summer rainstorm––can compare to the experience that a good assbinder affords.
naturally, oscar meyer is shit and should only be consumed when extremely intoxicated or at a baseball game. since i am not white the latter does not apply to me, and since i live in sTa and have easy access to a milieu of tortilla-wrapped delicacies nor does the former.
but my experiences abroad, and specifically with the german-version assbinders, have learned this beaner another, distinct species of assbinder––a species that has been developed over centuries. it’s no wonder my adult palate was re-introduced to all the goodness that can be an assbinder while in germany what with their weißwurst und bratwurst und polischer kielbasa und currywurst und, und, und.
seeing the currywurst man as i exited berlin’s s-bahn at the mitte stop was as unbelievable as watching a woman pump out a lump of wriggling flesh the size of a watermelon. similarly unbelievable not because the currywurst man excreted assbinder from some bodily orifice, but because it was, quite frankly, a remarkable sight: the currywurst man had a flaming-hot griddle strapped to his chest upon which he rotated sizzling assbinders, while he loaded them up with curry-ketchup, conversed with patrons, received money and gave change, and (all the while) managed to not topple over.
the thing to do in germany is drink beer and eat assbinder.
well, it’s not really, but it is a great place to start.
* * *
i sat there listening to professor terror. it was a tuesday night. we were covering barthes’ camera lucida, or kant’s sublime or some such. it was around week ten and by this time i had not so coincidentally befriended the sharpest, most well-read chick in class (who was also, therefore, the hottest). we snickered about the something just as our break approached, and she leaned in real close to tell me about some place she had been to the night before.
“i think it’s called the sausage kitchen,” she said, “but not sausage kitchen in english, sausage kitchen in german.” “like wurstküche,” i say, leaning in a little closer while staring at the piercing just above her lip. “yeah, i don’t know, is that how you say sausage kitchen in german?” “yeah,” i say.
i sit back and listen to her account of this new place in little tokyo. i listen to her say something about a tiny entry space, a long hallway, and the diverse, cool crowd. i interrupt and ask about the assbinder.
what she describes tells me only one thing: i must go to this assbinder kitchen, this wurstküche… .
Cafe Lucca in Orange is a nice 19 minute bike ride from my shithole of an apartment in the heart of sanTana. When I have time or when I really need a good Americano I go there instead of going to the AV‘s Gypsy Den.
The Gypsy Den wins out for convenience sake. I live three blocks and one alley away from the GD, so when I need to just get down to business and get some work done I hop on The Beast, cycle the two minutes to the GD, and, just as quickly, am served my coffee by Sandrine, Christine, or that one chick that lives in the LB.
And frankly, the GD is home: I first ventured into sanTana during my first year at UCI because of the GD’s open-mic night. That night I met Jack and a handful of other people (some still around)–including that one guy that seems to identify galling behavior with free speech. (Naturally, he does have the right to sound like a jackass.) That night my wife-from-another-life and I hung out in sTa until the sun came up. A couple years later I found myself drinking a brown-bagged flasche o’ something hard on one of those promenade benches until the wee hours of the morn with the ever salacious and usually notorious LGFats–a dude (not “the dude,” but a dude) that would eventually become one of my core partners in crime. (This was all years ago when I was a snot-faced wreck who couldn’t tell his arsch from a hole in the ground.)
Memories aside, this is where the competition stops. In terms of service, Lucca wins out: all servers here are extremely competent, whereas (in my experience) only half of the GD servers are competent… “no one home” comes to mind when I think of the other half at the GD.
Espresso: I can’t get a good shot or Americano at the GD even if I pulled it myself. I think that this is due to their machine, they must not service it consistently enough because their espresso never has creme. Lucca offers up nothing but smooth tasting, awesomely pulled shots–complete with the requisite creme.
But digression gets the best of me, back to the best white man’s burrito around.
Listed on their breakfast menu not as a burrito but as a scramble, the Garden Scramble boasts this description: 3 farm fresh eggs, tomatoes, Portobello mushrooms, spinach, jack and cheddar cheese, atop country potatoes. (Served with 7 grain toast.) $8
I ask for the Garden Scramble, made with only two eggs, and in burrito form. What results is a veg-head’s wet dream. It’s served with their house-made salsa that varies slightly according to which brown dude is manning the grill that morning. When it’s the guy with the bomb-ass, elvis-esque hair, the red salsa rocks a consistency similar to that of chimichurri. I like to mix this with the Cholula (bottles at every table) and spoon it onto each burrito bite along with sour cream (served alongside as well).
This definitely isn’t your taco-truck burrito (claims regarding “authenticity” may now ensue), but for whitelandia Orange, this is the best white man’s breakfast burrito around.
Oh and GD’s beer and wine selection trembles in comparison to Lucca’s.
106 North Glassell Street
*Breakfast served until 11am, lunch until 5pm, dinner thereafter.
Certainly, at 22%, women are scarce in philosophy…as are minorities…as are minority women.