Walter Mencken 10 a.m., July 23
Carla To Grumpy: A Little of What Ye Fancy...
“Code Stroke, ER, Bed Number Three! Code Stroke, ER, Bed Number Three…”
It’s the hospital sound system.
“Sounds like “Code Stroke, ER, Bedford numb and freezed,’” I say to Carla. “Let’s get da heck outta here.”
We’re at Sharp Coronado, visiting a friend. I always get grumpy in a hospital. Jes’ wanna git while the gitting’s good.
Trouble is, Carla wants to eat first. Hospital cafeteria.
But hospital food? Eck.
“Let’s not and say we did,” I say.
“Let’s do and say we didn’t,” says Carla. “I’m starving.”
So okay, we plunge down to the back of beyond, into this outfit’s cafeteria-style eatery.
Cathy’s Place (250 Prospect Place, 619-522-3600).
It’s full of those pastel colors you find in doctors’ waiting rooms and corporate cafeterias. Colors that kill you with unobjectionableness. Only thing I don’t see are cutey-cute dolphin paintings.
“Now don’t get grumpy just because of pastel colors,” says Carla. She leads us up to the food line.
“You realize this is our breakfast,” I say. “And they’re serving lunch.”
“But they have coffee, right? That’s what coffee’s for,” says Carla. “To make guys like you less grumpy. If you and I had first met before breakfast, we would have had very different lives. Like, separated by a million miles.”
“Wow. Maybe you should have a cawfee too,” I say.
Luckily, that’s when Carlos comes up, behind the heated pans steaming at the counter.
“Hi folks!” he says, like it’s a real sunny day outside. OK, it is. But he’s a pretty cheery guy. Recommends the “Exhibit No. 1,” nachos ($6.45). Just to keep things moving along, we both agree to have a plate of them. Plus a cuppa jo each ($1.75).
Fast-forward five minutes. Yes, there are still a lot of patients and surgeons and green-tunic medical guys not letting us forget where we are. But me, I’m deep into my crispy nacho taste-fest here, with good marinated ground beef, jalapeño heat and cheese and sour cream, almost overflowing on this decent-sized black plastic plate. Perfect with coffee. Together, they make a great savory breakfast.
Talk about mood enhancers. The more those jalapeños get us waving air into our mouths, the more things start looking up.
“Oh man. Back of your neck?” says Carla.
I know what she means. Sweat’s poppin’ out back there like cawfee from an espresso machine.
“Don’tcha love the half crispy-half floppy thing with the tortilla chips,” says Carla. “’Course talk about Code Stroke food…”
“I know, I know,” I say. “But as my Scottish grandmother used to say.…”
“‘A little of what ye fancy does you good,’” says Carla, imitating a Scottish accent.
“Couldn’t have put it better myself, lassie,” I say.
Guess I’m still half into Rabbie Burns’s day.