ZOMG. I am halfway through the second season of RESCUE ME. There is too much truth in this shit. It hurts.
Oh yeah, slutty breakfasts...read on.
I have a homeboy named Matt. The dude is alright. He reminds me of back when I was his age, only about 300X cooler.
So Matt has been hassling me to bag offa work in the morning and go out to breakfast with him. The place that he has said we should go to is called TOMMY'S. TOMMY'S keeps it real. There is no double stepping half truths about the place. You get what you pay for. Actually, as you read on, you will see that I got a lot more out of that place than my cheap breakfast. I got an experience that won't die anytime soon.
TOMMY'S is an American/Chinese joint off of Reindollar in Marina CA. TOMMY'S claim to fame is the WORKINGMAN'S SPECIAL. This consists of eggs, toast and hashbrowns for 99 cents. I thought that it sounded ridiculous, but my curiosity was piqued. So I bagged offa work yesterday morning and went out for breakfast with the homie.
Back in the high school days, I used to meet up with my group of misfits at the McDonald's in Pacific Grove at 6 AM every morning to drink coffee until school started. I wasn't above an Egg McMuffin or hash browns back then, and I used to blow my Jack-In-The-Box cheque on a lot of breakfast food. I also blew the cheque on video games, coffee, movies and beer. The way I spend my cheques these days aren't that different. Food, games, films and liquor. Of course, now I eat better food, I play better games, I buy DVDs and I drink americanos and scotch. There isn't much of a difference. But what I need to point out is that I haven't gone back to the fast food breakfast in close to 20 years. Oh sure, I have had fast food paroxysms in my time. I ate a McDonald's breakfast three years ago in Fresno, and I still remember it. My system simply can't handle it anymore. Five mornings a week, I eat a bowl of oatmeal with raisins, coconut, cinnamon and honey. I wash this back with some orange juice and ultimately, I find a big-ass cup of coffee and commence to sipping until lunchtime. Just ask the fools in the vanpool, 'coz they marvel at my steering with my knees at 70mph as I work the spoon and the bowl.
There was a time when I didn't care what the hell I ate. I was working out six days a week. Every muscle was joined to every tendon and it all showed when I took my shirt off because I was FAKKING RIPPED. I could eat whatever I wanted...and it was a situation where I couldn't eat enough. I would roll with my friend Robby and we would eat those 10 taco packs from Taco Bell for dinner several nights a week. Hell, it was all repped in there. Cheese for dairy. Shredded iceberg lettuce for veggies. Some sorta meat product for protein and a crispy, deep-fried taco shell for carbohydrates. I was on it.
If I wasn't doing the taco thing, I was doing the pizza. It is all in a pizza. Especially if you have tomato sauce on the thing, because then you get your vegetable intake.
Shoot, I used to get away with a bowl of ice cream for dinner...or a mah-fakkin Blizzard at Dairy Queen.
Don't get me started on the beer. I used to drink pitchers of the stuff and blow dinner off, because I was a student. Then something happened. It was my senior year in college. I was living this shoddy eating lifestyle to the hilt and smoking to boot. Problem was that I wasn't working out because I was on the job for 30 plus hours a week and trying to bust out my essays. Suddenly I felt a roll of the pudge. Suddenly, I was told that I was starting to get loose around the belly.
The shock of it all caused me to re-evaluate myself and what I was doing with my health. I cut beer out point blank. I started to eat a decent breakfast. No more half a dozen donuts on Saturday morning at the lumberyard where I worked. I started to look into what I was doing with myself. The days of skipping breakfast came to an end as well. I got back into a workout routine. I started to eat carrots like they were going out of style. I upped my coffee intake. I stopped eating after 8pm in the evening. I stopped eating when I came close to feeling full, and not when I was totally lethargic from an overload. Bottom line? I got control over myself. I am happy to say that I have been getting through my thirties without the roll that everyone else that I know in their thirties seems to have.
Yesterday I was down for the slipup though. Yesterday, I went to TOMMY'S for breakfast.
So, I got to Matt's and after a profanity-laced pushing and pulling, I convinced the bastard to take a walk with me to the place, rather than driving.
TOMMY'S looks like a one-bedroom apartment that has been converted into a diner. I placed my empty americano cup in the ashtray outside and stepped in. The first thing that I noticed was that the place was bustling. Women, kids and fathers. The place looked dirty. The tables and chairs were nondescript. Matt and I sat at the bar and waited. There was no bar at the base of the bar for me to rest my foot. There was no ledge under my chair to rest my foot on either. This because a source of my fidgeting. It also gave me an excuse to look around perpetually. There was a guy sitting to my left that looked like one of those 50 year-old power lifters. He was big. He was sweaty. He also had his eyes closed and he was lolling his head around using his neck like some sort of meat swivel. I kept on stealing looks at him. He made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.
The spoon on the napkin where I sat was greasy. Literally greasy. I wiped my thumb on my pants in awe.
The kitchen had one guy back there. There was a monumental stack of dishes in the sink that was visible from my vantage point. The regulars would step into the kitchen and shoot the breeze with the guy back there, who I am sure was Tommy himself. There was noise in all directions. The men who sat at the bar were older, and single. Well, they didn't have wedding rings on. These guys looked like (and I mean no offense by this, you alcoholics) the burnt out coffee-swilling, chain-smoking older men that permeate AA meetings. I saw this one guy tear through a pile of hotcakes and eat a heavily salted and peppered plate of eggs and hashbrowns in five minutes flat. No manners were employed, save the use of a fork.
We ordered. We both went up a notch from the 99 cent special to the 2.79 special which consisted of eggs, sausage, pancakes and hashbrowns. I swear, for ten bucks, you are a king at TOMMY'S. Matt was the king. The breakfasts and his coke and my iced tea (which cost as much as the breakfasts) wound out just underneath the ten-spot. AMAZING.
"HOW YOU WANT YOUR EGGS?" Tommy's wife yelled at us. I had mine over hard, Matt had his over easy.
While we were telling Tommy's wife what we wanted, the meat swivel neck guy mumbled that he wanted more tea. I barely understood him my damn self, and I was sitting next to him. Mrs. Tommy finished taking our order and then promptly slid a cup of tea in the direction of the meditating man. This sort of thing happened a couple of times. A man whose fingers were strung with melted cheddar cheese as he worked a piece of toast over, said, "I need another one of these" and held up a small jam packet. He spoke this to Mrs. Tommy's back. She did something at the register, and then slid a jam packet to the man. If I had been thinking, I would have realized that this woman hears EVERYTHING. I wasn't thinking. I was drinking in the strange zone I was in, and commenting on it to Matt and not censoring much. I am sure that she heard every last dark word we said. I really don't think that she cared one bit.
There were about five orders before ours, so we had to wait about a half hour before our grub showed up. We took this opportunity to talk about Snakes on a Plane, Clerks2 the Lady in the Water and other such topics. The underlying factor of our conversation was a constant shit-talking about the decor in this place. There was a framed review of TOMMY'S from the Coast Weekly on the wall. I walked over to it and read it. It was not a glowing review actually. The sub-text basically said that TOMMY'S is a slutty little restaurant where your money goes a long way. It also made the comparison to the fact that if one was going to eat at McDonald's or Burger King, then one might as well throw their lot in with TOMMY. The article mentioned the fact that the restaurant has a faded yellow interior. I don't know about a faded yellow, but I do know that there were random statues in various corners of the place. There was a buddha. There was a bucking bronco looking thing. There were abstract calandars on the walls. Tacky is the first word that comes to mind. But I would say that it was an undetermined tackiness. These people are about serving you your meal asap. They aren't about atmosphere. You want atmosphere? Get the hell out of TOMMY'S, because you aren't paying 99 cents to feel like you are eating in a comfotable place. You are paying 99 cents to get that belly full by any means necessary. That is what the vibe was.
Our food showed up. Three pancakes to begin with, with three slabs of margarine on them. I slid the butter substitute wo the side with my knife. I looked at my fork and actually had to take my napkin to wipe off the grime.
The eggs were alright. Tapatio covers a multitude of sins. The sausages were standard restaurant breakfast sausages. The small little pinky ones. The hash browns were in need of a little ketchup. The review on the wall from the Coast Weekly had suggested a change of the hash browns for fried rice. I hadn't made such a move. I needed to take down the hash browns like a champ and make my own decision. The hash browns weren't bad either, I must say. If I had an issue with anything on my plate, it would have to be the pancakes. I just couldn't do them. I took one of the three down, because I needed to be able to say that I had eaten one; dear Lord, that was one rubbery flapjack.
I didn't drink the coffee there because I had tanked up on my way in with the americano. I must say that people were drinking that coffee like it was the best stuff brewed on this side of the peninsula however.
Matt paid the bill and we wandered back to his apartment. I passed my americano cup in the ashstray on the way out with the revelation that no one in TOMMY'S probably knew what the hell an americano was, or even cared. They were on some other shit. We discussed the bachelor party that I had been to the other night, and how I had left before the strippers showed. Apparently anal ring-toss was one of the games that the strippers were offering. Matt and I have discussed the dirty sanchez and the rusty trombone ad nauseum, but we were both stumped by the mechanics of the anal ring toss. Sounds simple, but it probably isn't. This was also part of our running discussion regarding the donkey show and the strange twist in regards to such a show at the end of Clerks2.
What can I say? The breakfast was slutty. Matt hooked it up and I am eternally grateful for the experience. My stomach was queasy for the bulk of the day afterward. I ate a bag of carrots later in the afternoon to balance out the greasy intake on the AM.
TOMMY'S is a food joint that caters to the belly. There wasn't a skinny person in that place. The truth that hit me like a bag of frozen neckbones was the fact that I was surrounded by people who eat this stuff every day. They have their breakfast at TOMMY'S every freaking day. I suppose it is a step up from McDonald's or Burger King, but it is frightening to me. There are people out there doing the solid crap intake and thinking that it is alright. WTF is wrong with America? Matt himself said America is the land of the obese while hurling expletives at me for why we shouldn't walk to the diner in the first place.
I used to live to spend little cash and fill the belly. I just can't do it anymore. The post-breakfast hangover was one of the sluttiest I have had in years. Food is finally at a point in my life where it actually matters what I take down. If the food isn't good, my belly and my head start to hurt.
The 99 cent special will kick your ass people. I have got to hand it to TOMMY'S though, those people are keeping it real.