Terry, Maggie and I did not mind waiting 90 minutes to be seated Saturday at West Oakland’s famous Brown Sugar Kitchen especially since a, owner and hubby of the chef Tanya Holland Phil Surkis schmoozed us a bit during the delay and b, the chicken and waffles were as good as ever and the staff stayed on it until 90 minutes past their advertised 3 p.m. close to fit us in.
Phil also signed our copy of Tanya’s Chronicle Books opus, a cookbook, as if we could try this at home. We compared notes on our respective monologues; whether he was just being nice, he said he wanted to hear more about my comedic antipathy towards my former hoops adversary Jim Harbaugh, the star of my “Harbaugina Monologue”. And it is true, but hardly relevant, that a recent Palo Alto High principal named Phil Winston was reassigned after pestering co-eds, at an Eve Ensler event — a slippery slope for the high school crowd, with apple cider or maple syrup — “don’t you want to hear about your vagina?”
I sent Phil a cryptic text about Tabasco; then proceeded to answer my own query by trying to create savory beignets, and have the pictures to prove it. We also texted our friend the fellow former Palo Alto arts commissioner Ally Richter the rocket scientist about helping to plan a Delta fundraiser there, on Mandela Parkway “and we’ll get Ledisi to sing”.
At Tanya Hollands’ Brown Sugar Kitchen, the friend chicken doesn’t just sizzle, it sings.
Terry kicked me when I went into the part about meeting Bobbito Garcia there, and calling him a one-man, Latino Harlem Globetrotters act.
It took me a minute, like like in The Smashing Pumpkins, The Counting Crows and for a minute my client The Orange Peels, that the sugar kitchen is brown, not the sugar. The sugar, ironically enough is powder white.
I nearly rang the nearby Don Farnsworth, who I believe to be, before West Oakland, a famous Palo Alto artist. I may still. We also noted — and this is as much a book review as the food per se — Mildred Howard in the house. Or a mediated version of such. Can I mention here that I own a basketball signed by she and Walt Frazier?
The book features a preview by Michael Chabon and photos by Austin-based Jody Horton.