Well, it’s 10:30am and I’m not at work. I’m going to Southern California today, so I’m using that as an excuse. As in, I’m going to miss work later today, so I should probably miss work at the beginning of the day for parity.
In any case, last night’s Mission Street Food excursion was our most successful/ridiculous/last(?) one ever. The evening started with an early incident of assbaggery that presaged even greater things to come. A valet, working for a nearby restaurant, took it upon himself to move our orange and white saw horses that blocked off the space for the truck. When the ladies dropping off the truck tried to ask him to move, he blew them off and jogged back to his job of merrily hiding SUVs around the neighborhood like an urban Easter Bunny. A few minutes later, there he was again, power-walking by us. “Excuse me,” I ventured, waving a hand in front of him as he sashayed by me.
Not a peep. Just skipped on with his basket of colorful eggs.
Anthony walked over to the valet stand and spent some time trying to reason with the dude, who eventually moved the car, and we were able to start setting up maybe fifteen minutes after we had hoped.
But ho, not long after, who should come poking his head in the open door of the taco truck but our second and most heroic hero of the night, Complete Maniac from the Building Next Door. CMFTBND came in rip-roaring, with no intention of letting us get a word in edgewise. On and on he went about how he’d kicked us out of this spot before, how we were breaking the law, how we were breaking promises we’d made him, and, most hilariously, how he wasn’t going to budge until this whole thing was shut down.
Of course, we’d never met this dude. To be fair, I don’t know what kind of preexisting conflict there has been between CMFTBND and the proprietors of the antojitos truck, nor do I have any real insight into permits or the permitting system. This guy, though, was coming completely unglued. He was just working himself into a frenzy before we had a chance to understand what he was talking about. Then he started cussing at Karen, who in my opinion is among the 8-10 nicest people on the planet, and then I maybe let a few choice words slip. At this point there are between 25 and 30 people in line and we’re supposed to open in 10 minutes.
CMFTBND disappeared from my view for a couple of minutes while Karen did her best to settle this teething baby. I walked out of the truck and saw that CMFTBND had pulled up and double parked his convertible Mercedes(1) across the street. Karen was rubbing whiskey on his gums with her finger, but he just wouldn’t stop being fussy.
Anthony and I decided to open anyway and sell as much as we could. It would’ve been a bummer for the people who had already been waiting for the better part of half an hour to not get anything. If we got shut down, at least we’d only have to eat most of 12 pounds of pork belly ourselves.
Well, after one more visit to our truck and some convoluted statements, involving us barking up the wrong tree, a garbled threat about slashing our tires, and something about us having to pay his accounting department, CMFTBND disappeared again. I don’t know what happened to him after that but I imagine baby was tuckered out and had to go sleepy.(2) Someone acquainted with CMFTBND actually stopped by the truck later and explained that the guy usually isn’t like that. Well in the time I’ve spent with him, he does appear to usually be like that. I just can’t imagine someone with such an advanced grasp of assholeness (assholity?) could achieve it without careful study and years of practice.
The last ridiculousness of the night involved people drinking in line. I was in the truck for this, so I only know what happened secondhand, but it appears as though some open container citations were handed out. I feel terribly for the people who got cited. We have to discourage people from brown-bagging in line now, which makes me sad. I hope the conviviality and good nature of the line-waiting experience won’t be lost. It’s been a really neat social experiment, in my opinion. The food is good at lots of restaurants, but people aren’t usually willing to wait for an hour outside for it. It’s a testament to Anthony’s brilliance in creating Mission Street Food (or maybe he had no idea what would happen, and it’s a measure of the bonding power of Bud tallboys on a warm night).
A word about the food. The Tennessean bacon that Anthony brought was unreal. Insanely smoky, perfectly salty, and a nice fat/meat ratio. I’m sad that more people didn’t venture into bacon territory, and nobody save Jordan suggested a bacon/brownie/brie/hazelnut royal rumble. Maybe next time. Oh, speaking of next time, keep track of missionstreetfood.blogspot.com for updates on what’s going to happen with this whole thing.
(1) I can only assume that he took the time to drop the top of the convertible on his way to securing his nuisance perch across the street. I walked over to him at one point to try and talk him down, but he wasn’t hearing me. The crowd had gotten whiff of what CMFTBND was trying to do, and at this point they were pricelessly (but admittedly maybe not helpfully) voicing what they thought of him. I, like Palin before me, did nothing to quiet my murderous base. CMFTBND told me that we were bringing a lot of animosity to the neighborhood (what?), along with upsetting local merchants. I’m sure the closed hair salon across the street would have agreed with him had they not already been closed for three hours. Mike’s Liquors across the street didn’t seem particularly pissed either, but more on that later.
(2) The police did show up later to check our permit. It seemed like everything was in order and the officer went on his way. In an almost poetic turn, Karen asked the officer if she could give him the name of the man who had been harassing us. Zing!