Lame Adventure 316: Home is Where the Heat is

A note to my devoted readership – and all seven of you know exactly who you are, if I seem to have had no adventures of the lame variety during my recent vacation in the San Francisco Bay Area, you are sorely mistaken.  I was in the throes of MacBook hardware-related technical difficulties, but now all is well again in Lame Adventures-land.  Actually I exaggerate a tad for I did return to the Big Apple in a heat wave and to a 19th century era garret that is not wired for air conditioning unless I fork over $600 to my landlady.  Since I lack the necessary six hundred clams for this home improvement, I am pounding the fluids and only making tai chi-style movements to avoid suffering heat stroke or dropping dead with an inelegant thud.  Fortunately, my personal sweat lodge has a northern exposure so it is easily three degrees cooler within these baking walls than the temperature outside.

The temperature outside when I returned home from work on Thursday.

Traveling back in time about a week to wonderful warm weather sans humidity, I was in San Rafael in the company of BatPat, my best friend from college, her husband, Mick, and their daughter, Hepburn.  We visited downtown San Rafael where there’s an excellent farmer’s market on Thursday nights with live music, a rock climbing wall, beautiful fresh fruit and veggies, delicious smelling Kettle Corn as well as more exotic foodstuffs.  We walked through it and quickly grew hungry as bears.  Hepburn suggested we continue our stroll and scarf some of the exotic eats, but BatPat declared:

BatPat:  I want to sit at a table.

Mick and I trampled each other in agreement.

We headed over to Sol Food, an oasis of excellent modestly priced Puerto Rican cuisine where a live band playing outside serenades the patrons within.

House of yum!

Sol Food’s live band — these guys are great!

If they opened a branch in my neighborhood, Manhattan’s Upper West Side, it would be one of those hot spots with a long line stretching down the street and around the block since we’re huge fans of both good food and waiting in mile long queues over here.  At the same time, the neighborhood crank would smack them with a lawsuit over the musicians playing music outdoors so a petition on their behalf would also be circulating.

Back in San Rafael’s Sol Food, the atmosphere inside is also packed with flavor.

Instruments displayed out of reach to discourage patrons from showing off the conga playing skills they lack.

Dual purpose green plantain — food and napkin weight.

Hepburn in foreground, hustle and bustle in background.

Our order, lucky number 38.

BatPat and I ordered the same dish, Pollo al Horno, baked chicken thighs seasoned with garlic and oregano, served with rice and beans, organic salad and fried plantains.

Pollo al Horno – simple but delicious.

The pink beans stewed with herbs and Spanish olives were great.

Mick had the Bistec Encebollardo i.e., the steak with the Mofongo, a mashed fried plantain seasoned with garlic and olive oil.

Bistec Encebollardo – pronunciation that eludes me.

BatPat and I thought the regular plantain, which is sweeter, had more character.

Hepburn, the family contrarian, ordered the Mofongo Relleno de Camarones, a.k.a. to this gringo-ette as tomato sauce-topped garlic prawns with the mashed plantains and fresh avocado.  It looked scrumptious but tomato sauce is on my Do Not Eat Ever Or You Will Die Painfully Even Faster list.  My gastroenterologist will not allow anything acidic to enter my fragile intestines, so I just stared at her dish and drooled shamelessly.

Mofongo Relleno de Camarones – oh, to be able to eat something like this again!

Everyone raved about the Limonada Fresca, fresh limeade made on site.

Chug a lug … not!

Since I suffer the trinity of gastrointestinal ills – esophagitis, gastritis and hiatal hernia, that I keep at bay via an insanely strict diet to avoid going back on meds and feeding that evil beast, Big Pharma, I had to settle for the House Agua.

Whoop-dee-do-less House Agua.

Sensational hot sauce, or so I’ve been told.

Overall being in the company of some of my most treasured friends on the entire planet and chowing down tasty food in a delightful atmosphere while listening to melodic live music, was one of those times that owns placement in my memory bank in The Good Old Days file.

We returned to the car parked in a public parking lot behind a Walgreen’s feeling mellow.

Mick observed:

Mick:  Hey, did any of you notice that dead guy lying in the bushes?

Did he make an inelegant thud?

No one got too close, but it was possible he had only passed out.  Hepburn whipped out her iPhone and called 9-1-1.  BatPat sensitively reasoned:

BatPat:  At least he chose to go near the recycling bins.

58 responses to “Lame Adventure 316: Home is Where the Heat is

  1. Welcome home. There’s a lot to digest here and I am not just talking about the Mofongo. I am not sure when I became a loyal reader (whether of the 7 variety or not), but your relative absence these past few years (okay just days) has led me to the revelation that I need professional help. I Googled Lame-Anon but didn’t seem to find the sort of support group necessary to get me through the lame-less days at my work computer.

    How cool is it that in California you really can get away with naming your kids after your favorite actresses. By the look of the kid I am guessing her parents were more fond of Audrey than Kate, but I could be way wrong. I guess the kid should be pleased her folks’ favorite actress wasn’t Annette Funicello.

    On your order number, I hope that was that a youthful photo of one of the owners or employees at Sol Food? Had a flashback to Buenos Aires in 1977. Sorry.

    Finally, re the dead guy, did you guys stick around long enough for the EMT’s to make some sort of assessment? Dead or just dead drunk? If it had been 5 years earlier and in NYC you’d have thought you walked into the opening scene from Law and Order, just waiting for Jerry Orbach to deliver a groaner of a pun. (On a personal and pretty much useless side note, Jerry’s grandson is a friend of my son and they were teammates on the Glen Ridge HS wrestling team.)


    • Yes, Mike, it was a lovely getaway even though I could not write LA which was rather discombobulating. I hope Lame-anon came through for you! We hit on LA-naming BatPat’s feminine spawn Hepburn when she sheared her flowing tresses last December. Her entrepreneur brother named himself Guinness and the family cockatiel Buttafuoco for me. I am an ardent fan of giving the younger generation a voice in Lame Adventures-land. It’s the least I can do for them since they’re paying for my social (in)security.

      We made a pretty fast exit when we found “the dead guy” — but just as quickly made the phone call for help. Our guess is that he just passed out from too much liquid pleasure for we did not see any report about a guy dropping dead behind Walgreen’s in the local press. Hepburn later suggested that maybe what happened to that chap is what Walgreen’s does to shoplifters. Food (but not as delicious) as Sol Food for thought.


      • How Lame of me not to realize you protect the identities of those close to you in LA Land. Now that I think of it, Dovima name is probably a nom de plume (or de guerre) as is Herb with the silent H. I guess for the past few months I was under the (mistaken) impression that you were christened with the normal name and that your older sibling was the product of an over developed imagination on the part of your parents. I probably should have known better.

        Re Walgreen’s and shoplifters, not so sure. But it may have had something to do with SF area Tea Party denizen and their warning shot across the bow of Obamacare. Not really sure.


      • So it was the homage to The Beverly Hillbillies that I initially thought. Couldn’t square the photo of your father and your previous reference to being Italian with the surname Kulp.


  2. sweet mary susnhine, sugar! that was some adventure out in cali!!! 😉 now i’m hungry AND i feel the need to watch law&order, the early years! xoxoxo


  3. I’m hungry too, but only because upon returning with my rotisserie chicken to my refrigerator like cooled tree house did I sit and unheat while reading your post and admiring your food photos – hope the heat wave breaks; for your well being.

    I’m off on one more errand to purchase a canopy so I can work at the Market in Lambertville tomorrow.

    Coming back to Campari and soda with extra extra lime over much ice and Sherlock Holmes.

    Peace and cooler temps,



  4. Sounds like a great vacation and lunch. Poor guy! Maybe the rellanos didn’t agree with him… 🙂
    Keep your fans running. The sweat lodge doesn’t sound very inviting…


  5. Possibly dead guy, beans and plantains? Does anyone else see the connection here? Uh-huh—read your clues folks, and beware the red herrings.

    Good Gawd, go on that money-raising site and offer an ebook of your posts so far to raise the 600 drachma for the a/c!!! Listen folks, don’t you get it? At least 5 of we 7? The dead guy (possible dead guy) was ALL about Lame-O’s desperate cry for a/c!!! Inelegant thump: a clue. ::shakes head:: Lame-O (and I say that with great affection) needs 7 fresh faces!


    • Gee, I wrote that past and I’m completely oblivious to all the connections, clues and red herrings, but on another night following an epic hike with BatPat I did dine on the waterfront at Tony’s Seafood in the town of Marshall on delicious red snapper with barbecued oysters.


  6. Sol Food looks awesome. Do you think they’d deliver to NYC if a bunch of us order at once? Meanwhile it occurs to me that probably very few people think of calling 911 here when they see someone sprawled out like the guy you saw in San Francisco.

    Glad you had a great trip!!


    • If I saw that same guy lying in my subway station on the way to work, it’s so true I would never think about calling 911. Yet, seeing him like that in a parking lot in San Rafael rang the alarm bells in my head. If only sol Food could deliver out here, that would be SWEET! And also deliver the band to serenade us while we eat.


  7. Where do I begin? Welcome back. Ahh, the good old days — 1) I miss Calif. and those fabulous little restaurants, the food and the music; 2) Wow. Your garret is way too hot. I thought I was going to suffocate a couple weeks ago when it was in the upper 80s here in Delaware; and I have a house with windows on all sides, including bay windows to catch the breeze even from an angle. I have since had my handyman come and install my 3 window A/Cs. I recall the years when I lived in center city Phila. in a 200 yr-old brick townhouse apt. in the summer w/o A/C and drinking gallons of iced tea. I often wonder how I did it. The key is that I was 20, I believe, and that was nearly 200 years ago now.

    Looks like a great vacation. I enjoyed all the photos. Now I have to go eat.

    (Hope that man was merely napping. That’s freaky.)


  8. I am just slower than most.


  9. I think it was the result of having espied a greeting card downstairs from my office when I was getting my 2 pm Diet Pepsi. It read (on the front) National Sarcasm Association — Not That We Need Your Support (and inside) Happy Birthday, You Don’t Look a Day over 29 — No, Really!

    Sorry to hear about your significant other situation. If you are ever in neighboring Montclair NJ (The UWS of New Jersey) check out Gina’s Bakery on Walnut Street near the train station. They could help you out. At least with respect to the pie…


    • What an excellent b-day card! That would be perfect for my sidekick, Greg, when he hits three-oh next year.

      Just checked out Gina’s — the fruited pies are definitely she and I.


      • Yes, I was in dire straits the other day and Googled Strawberry Rhubarb Montclair Area and found it. I’ve lived within 2 miles of this place since 1989. Anyway saved the day for me as we celebrated my wife’s Hawaiian birthday (book ’em Dano) earlier this week. What can I say, kids don’t dig cake. We do Birthday Pies.


  10. I actually like platanos (fried & savory) better than maduros (sweet). I make them pretty good, I would make them for u but not unless I got I pie.


  11. Pie is always a good thing


  12. Edwin -

    Thank you for the awesome pictures, they made me hungry! I wonder how that hot sauce was made and what it tastes like.. I love trying hot sauces 🙂



    • Glad you liked the pictures. Unfortunately, with my defective intestines I cannot tell you what that sauce tasted like Edwin, but my dining mates insisted, “You’ve got to try this, it’s great! Oh wait, you can’t try this!”


  13. V,
    I was the seventh blogger to like your post – I do recognize myself as part of your devoted readership… I’ve never visited the San Francisco Bay area, and it’s a real shame as my father-in-law lives in a house boat in Sausalito. I’ve never been invited. Perhaps I’m just refusing to read the signs…

    I stopped reading after gastrofecal matter and liver hernia. I have my own damn problems.

    Lovely pics, though. Sort of.
    Le Clown


  14. Snoring Dog Studio

    I can barely see to type this. My monitor has lick marks all over it. I’m so hungry. When it gets really hot here, I find that lying on the floor helps a bit. And whimpering.


    • If you’re ever in San Rafael SDS you must dine there. I think you’d like it very much. I suspect this is going to be the summer of lying around and whimpering a lot over here.


  15. You censored all of our tasteless composting jokes? They were classic! 🙂


  16. LA, it is always a bit of a dampener to one’s holiday when you find a dead guy, so it’s good to hear that he was merely sleeping things off, although by the looks of things he doesn’t look particularly comfortable in that photo.
    I’ve never tried plantain – are they sweet? They look sweet as they look like bananas to me, although I’ve had some bananas that weren’t sweet.
    Anyhoo… hope things aren’t too hot for you now, we’re getting a little bit wet over here at the moment!


    • That was the first time I ate plantains, too, Tom. They look like green bananas but they’re more like a potato. They’re very tasty and a bit sweet. If you want to know more about them click this link. The weather has cooled down on this side of the pond significantly. Yay!


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