The sporting life

Drool-soaked soccer-watching shirts, Argentineans, and choo-choo trains
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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS In defense of Emeryville, there's the Emery Bay Public Market, where you can get duck noodle soup for $6, or almost anything else in the world. There's a Caribbean booth, Indian, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Afghani, Cajun, Mexican, pizza, Peets ... You can sit outside, if you want, and watch the trains go by.

There are train tracks in Emeryville.

Today I had a gyro. On a big screen near the main entrance to the market, South Korea was playing Nigeria, and on a small TV up over the Caribbean food, Greece was playing Argentina. I took my gyro to Jamaica. Tonight I have a date with an Argentinean with at least four names in his name, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to have something to say on the subject in case he's a soccer fan.

As you know, I'm not. But I am.

What in the world I'm doing in Emeryville — hanging out at the Emery Bay Public Market, drinking Peets, watching trains, and dating Argentineans who may or may not have anything to say about soccer — has everything in the world to do with my friend Kiz.

This may sound somewhat time-lapsed, but Kiz found her man, and they moved in together and got engaged and now they're in Hawaii! He's great, but he has a dog, is where I come in.

At first I didn't want to do it. Why would anyone choose to be in Emeryville. For a week! With a dog. I'm more of a cat person. I love where I live and don't like being more than one building away from Earl Butter (who lives upstairs) for hours and hours, let alone days at a time. But then I started thinking about it: Kiz and her man have a TV. Cable. DVR. And their apartment complex has a swimming pool and hot tub. I could record and watch soccer and soccer and soccer. I could throw my drool-soaked soccer-watching shirts in the dryer (which they have), jump in the pool, soak in the tub, and check out yet another international delicacy at the Public Market across the street.

So far, my favorite is Sergio Ramos of Spain. Although, damn, there's this one guy on the Greek team ... But I'm rooting for Argentina. Today. Tonight.

To boot, I became a basketball fan (also by accident) just in time to see the Celtics lose to the Lakers in game seven of the NBA Championship. Really and truly I was looking for fried chicken, of course; but I'd heard that it could be had in fine fashion at a bar in Emeryville called Scends.

My informant being a literary editor who has published and paid but never perked me, I accepted his invitation to dine there together. I use the word dine loosely. We sat on a bench by the backroom exit, eating off of paper plates in our laps and jostled by drunken sports fans hooting and hollering at a big screen TV behind our heads.

In other words, my kind of place!

The fried was perfect. They have wings, oysters, catfish, snapper, and prawns. But my favorite was the lug nut in the porkpie hat who kept yelling above all the rest of the din: "Fumble!!!" And "Touchdown!!!"

Christ, I love people. Especially ones who can fry fried stuff the way Scends does, with lots of crispy crunch and — same time — enough succulence to float the sinkingest of ships, like me. Christ, I love juicy meat, and oysters. And mac 'n' cheese with lots of hot sauce on it.

So here's to Scends, and here's to Ponzo the Dog, whose shit I almost actually sort of don't mind bagging, and Sloop the Non-Slacking Editor, whose shit I have not until this very sentence had any occasion to even think about — damn my convolutedness!

But it was Sloop's idea to go there, also not realizing it was game seven of the NBA finals, and his tenacity and elbowing skills found us a little corner to imbibe in. Not to mention his hard-earned dollars that paid for our fried and beers.

So, yeah, so ... Emeryville. Who knew? All this, and choo-choo trains.

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