CHEAP EATS After breakfast we went to Whole Paycheck. I needed to pick up a chicken, an onion, and carrots and celery for work. Earl Butter needed a lot more than that, but of course couldn't afford anything at all, since Whole Paycheck's pricing is designed to keep out riffraff, such as teachers and newspaper columnists.
Earl was sad, so I bought him a bottle of hot sauce. Floyd & Fred's, extra hot. My new favorite hot sauce. It's made out of key lime juice and habanero, and comes in a cute little bottle with a cute little picture of a distressed lime on it, mouth open, eyes rolling, and flames licking out of its head.
I first discovered Floyd and Fred in Crawdad de la Cooter's refrigerator. Except back then it was just one of them, I forget which. Probably Floyd.
You can't fit two people in a refrigerator.
"What's this?" I asked Crawdad, way back whenever, because I'm always interested in new kinds of hot sauce.
"You can have it," she said.
Crawdad is 10 times the heat demon I am. In fact, she taught me how. So as soon as I tasted Floyd & Fred's, back when it was Floyd's or Fred's, I could see why she didn't go for them. Him.
It was so mild, I used half the 5 oz. bottle on one little bowl of soup. Well, the good news is they make an extra-hot version, which is pretty much perfect. And the bad news is I only ever seem to see it at Whole Paycheck. For $5 a bottle! Those of you who are paying attention, and good at math, will realize immediately that we're talking, let's see ... 5 oz. bottle, $5 a bottle, carry the one ... what? Roughly a dollar an ounce.
At which rate my standard size (10 oz.) bottle of my old favorite hot sauce, Tapatío, for example, would have set me back (hold on, I'm going to use a calculator this time) ... $10, exactly.
Actual cost: oh, $3.65.
So you see? This is why I never shop at Whole Paycheck, except when I'm shopping for someone else. My Canadian says they're union busters. I think, at $5 for a cute little tiny 5 oz. bottle, they're busting a lot more than unions.
But it is good stuff, Floyd & Fred's. I'm an addict. I keep a bottle of extra-hot in my purse at all times, and rarely if ever mistake it for perfume.
The other day, though, I was in a public restroom, rummaging frantically through my purse, not quite exactly saying but almost audibly thinking, "tampon tampon tampon" (I do this sometimes, by way of establishing ladies room cred) ... when I came upon my little hot sauce bottle and noticed, for the first time ever, that there's a phone number just below the nutrition facts, 415-987-LIME.
"Cell phone cell phone cell phone," I thought, rummaging. I had one! Took it outside, dialed, and a man's voice answered. Just: "Hello?"
"Hi ... Floyd?" I said. "Fred?"
Silence. Then: "Yes?"
I briefly summarized my situation, that I was a starving artist slash chicken farmer and a hot sauce junky and where I lived, in the woods, and so forth, and he interrupted me after 15 minutes and said, "There's a Whole Foods right near you."
"Whole what?" I said. "I can't afford to shop there! Do you sell directly to people?"
By the case, he said. How many bottles in a case? Twelve. How much? (You're going to love this ...) Sixty dollars! He must have heard my mathematical wheels squeaking through the phone because he made a quick adjustment: $50, free delivery.
Well, $4.16 a bottle is still steep. But addiction is addiction, and delivery is delivery, so I made the deal, and now won't have to worry about hot sauce for a long, long time, fuck Floyd. Fuck Fred.
My new favorite restaurant is Moki's in Bernal Heights, because Sockywonk picked up the check.