"Hey, want buy this Bluetooth headset?”
Guy’s talking to me. I’ve just come down to sit in the bus stop.
“Cost me $90. I’ll give it to you for $30.”
We’re at the #2 bus stop here on 25th at Broadway, Golden Hill.
“I lost my wallet last night,” he says.
Oh Lord. I ain’t got no cash, but I’m loaded to the gills with food. Trouble is, this is for Carla.
Fact is, I’ve just scored a Golden Hill feast. A half hour ago, I was wandering around the crossroads here at 25th and Broadway.
Needed some chow, quick.
2469 Broadway, Golden Hill
(No longer in business.)
Hmm. Spotted Kafe Sobaka, the Russian place, across Broadway. It had sandwich board signs on the sidewalk. “Happy Hour.” Oh man. All those varieties of pivo, Russian beer. Five bucks each. Then, kitty-corner, beyond the massive solar-panel roof they’ve cantilevered over the parking lot, I spot this li’l sign that says “Anakin’s Fruit Salad & Deli.” It’s snug between Humberto’s Taco Shop and The Wash Stop coin laundry.
1015 25th Street, Suite B, Golden Hill
’Course I see the Anakin sign and I think smoothies, cactus juice, acai. Great, but not meal-worthy. Still, it also says “and deli.” So, worth a try.
The inside’s tiny. Kitchen takes up most of the space. Couple of guys and a gal working away cutting up fruit, and hey, layering meat on buns right here at the counter’s marble slab.
Couple of gals ahead of me are ordering escamochas, fruit and ice cream, Mexican-style. Look like sisters, but they’re mother and daughter. Rocío and Alex.
“This place is famous,” says Rocío. “We came all the way up from National City to have these escamochas.”
They’ve got towering mixtures of like strawberry and kiwi and mocha ice cream. Paid six bucks each for them.
But I’m here for savory, not sweet. And the deli side looks like it may deliver da goods. “My super breakfast,” says a sign. “Eggs, ham, bacon, cheese torta or bagel, $5 (avocado, 50 cents extra).” Or you can have the same stuffings in a croissant or sub roll for $3.99. Wraps go for $5.
Jose, the guy at the counter, says you can have the full 12-inch sub experience for $6.99. That’s stuffed with grilled chicken. The 6-inch is $4.50. Or, instead of chicken, they’ve got roast beef, pastrami, pepper turkey steak, tuna, or turkey bacon and avocado.
What I like is the guys are pretty easy about stuffing whatever you want in your bread. I end up going for “My Super Torta – the Anakin Special.” Costs $7.99, but Jose loads it with carne asada, ham (or is it pastrami?), a layer of pan-cooked eggs, cheese (I chose pepperjack), tomatoes, rings of red onion, pickles, strips of bacon, chunks of avo, and even looks like some pork? All topped, natch, with squirt-stripes of mayo and then golden chipotle mayo. It’s a monster.
And then, can’t help myself. All those fruit salads they’re making for other customers? I see they have a small version for $4. Except, heck, medium’s only $1 more, so I get the $5 medium with cottage cheese, Granola, raisins, coconut, honey, cantaloupe (“singing wolves,” anybody?), watermelon, strawberry, you name it.
I take it straight outside. Because here it has two tables, but kinda crowded. So right next to the Wash Stop, they have a couple of high tables where you can sit and eat. I start glooping the cottage cheese and honey and raisins and bananas and Granola strawberries and pineapple and melons down. Oh man. Can something so good be actually good for you?
Then, before the main course, I ask Jose if he has any coffee.
“Uh, yes,” he says, like it’s a new thought. I guess everyone here’s drinking spinach, beetroot, nopal (and hey, also savila. Aloe vera). But coffee’s a plant, too, so I don’t feel too bad.
Turns out Jose has coffee — instant coffee. He comes back from the kitchen with a cup of hot water and a Nescafe jar. I pour some in, and add a long drip of honey. He charges me $1.
He says they’ve been open five years already. Man. Why haven’t I noticed them before?
“And Anakin? Is that the name of the owner?”
“No,” he says. “It’s from Star Wars. Anakin Skywalker. Darth Vader. You know?”
D’uh, no man, not really. The whole Star Wars thing is a yawning black hole in my Ed-ucation. I’m spaced out.
I head back out with the torta. Start in on a couple of jaw-to-the-floor bites. It’s totally rich, full of tastes, like the asada, the adobada, the pickles, the cheese, the eggs, and oh yes, the bacon. All in one nice crisp torta. But too much. Too, too much.
“Babe?” I’m on the phone to The Lovely Carla.
“Another leftover?” she says, without waiting.
“Uh, yeah. But trust me, you are going to love it.”
“Well make it quick.”
So I cross 25th Street to the #2 bus stop, and this is when I meet Brendon. Fish out all I got, three bucks.
“You from here?” I ask.
“Indiana. I had to leave my grand piano back there. It wouldn’t travel well to California. Too dry. But I have a piano here. I can teach. Hey, reasonable rates, if you’re interested. Check me out on You Tube.”
“So you play classical?”
“I did, in Indiana. Like, Rachmaninoff’s Prelude. Opus 23, number 5, some Chopin.”
Later, on the #2 bus downtown, I do check him out. And wow. There he is, on You Tube, playing Chopin’s Nocturne, Opus 9, #2.
I know what Carla’s gonna say.
“Just wait till he’s performing at Carnegie Hall and you’re playing “Whiter Shade of Pale” on a grass blade outside. And you’ll be ‘Remember me? The three-buck guy?’”
1015 25th Street, Suite B, Golden Hill
Hours: 7am – 10pm daily (Sunday, 8am – 9pm)
Prices: Breakfast eggs, ham, bacon, cheese torta or bagel, $5; breakfast croissant eggs, ham, bacon, cheese, $3.99; breakfast wrap, $5; 12-inch grilled chicken sub, $6.99; 6-inch sub e.g. turkey bacon & avocado, $4.50; Anakin Special torta with carne asada, ham, eggs, cheese, veggies, avocado, $7.99; Hawaiian torta, with pineapple, $6; cottage cheese fruit salad (with Granola, raisins, coconut, honey), $4 small, $5 medium, $7.50 large; escamocha (fruit and ice cream), $6
Nearest bus stop: 25th and Broadway