Thursday, January 24, 2013

Broke-ass Thursdays, Now With Frito-Pie!

Ed note: sadly (or thankfully, according to my cardiologist) this event is "no mas" as of March 2013.

Tastes as bad as it looks.
"I feel like I just hate-f*cked my stomach," I told Stuart on a recent Thursday night after unwisely scarfing down a concoction he calls "Frito pie".

The origin of the Frito pie is shrouded in mystery - all that I know is that it hails from the America South West. It is an over-the top, bottom of the barrel bar-food in the vein of canned tuna casserole topped with potato chips. Only much, much worse.

What is it you ask? Do you really want to know?

Start with a can of Hormel chili held at temperature in a bain marie (Stuart employs a crock pot).

Arrange Fritos in a plastic bowl, adding corner-store chicharrónes if you dare.

Top with chili and Frito-Lay "cheese sauce" (warning: probably does not contain any actual cheese).

Add a generous splash of Tapatío.

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I first encountered Stuart almost a decade ago handing out free bumper stickers ("You are young, broke and beautiful", advertising his blog www.brokeassstuart.com) in Delirium. I was young, broke and up to no good hanging out in the DJ booth with some of the world's most scandalous characters: DJs.

I put down my Side Kick II long enough to chat with Stuart and get a sense of what he was about, then returned to deploying that night's software patch to production (using the Side Kick's still-better-than-anything-else 5-row keyboard and fully functional SSH terminal).

I slapped his bumper sticker on my door, where it still resides, and didn't really give him much thought until a few years later I turned on the TV and there he was on IFC hosting a travel show called "Young, Broke and Beautiful."

--

It's called a Kangaroo, jerks.
There is no such thing as a Vodka Martini.
When I heard he was "guest bartending" at the newly minted The Unresolved Love Life of Evelyn Lee, I was apprehensive.

Did I want this kind of circus coming to my corner bar (formerly the well loved Mission Hill Saloon)?

For me, it is a relief that the (sometimes) youthful mayhem of Dear Mom is comfortably down the road (but not so far that I couldn't pop in for a delicious pork-belly bao on a slow weeknight happy hour), and I was damn glad that I am comfortably distant from the original outposts in the Thieves empire: Whiskey Thieves and Thieves Tavern.

Some nights I pass on stopping in the bar if there are too many fixes chained up to one another, climbing up the barred windows of the bar like a big metal spider.

Still it is worth cutting through the morass of impertinent youth to chat with Stuart, a capable host.

Evelyn Lee, like all the bars in the family (including Blind Cat, formerly Treat Street Bar), has its own personality. It is a "destination bar" and it is and odd cross-section of local cultures - the neighborhood itself being a cross-section of San Francisco - staid natives, varied ethnic backgrounds, younger, older, punks, hip-hoppers, PBR drinkers, wine aficionados (when they have wine), sci-fi geeks, jocks, Paul Simon fans and non-Paul Simon fans. In many ways, every incarnation of the bar at 491 Potrero has always been the most reliably diverse in San Francisco ... a city where hangouts can be surprisingly monochromatic.

Stuart's wanderlust and his literary and cultural proclivities makes a logical addition to the Island of Misfit Toys that is The Unresolved Love Life of Evelyn Lee. Like the bar, Stuart's Frito-pie is a portmanteau of influences and accents, so come and eat one. Because America.

Stuart was kind enough to answer some quick questions from the editorial desk at Chowbacca!:

Chowbacca: How did you get involved with Sf Thieves? How do you know those guys?

Broke-ass Stuart: I've known Jay and Oliver for years. I met Oliver through Kelly Malone right when he moved here, and I met Jay through drinking at Thieves.

Where exactly is the "Frito Pie" from, when did you first encounter it?

I first came across the frito pie at the The Levee in Williamsburg, BK. It's a Texas bar though so I think it's a Texas thing. That said, I put an SF Mission twist on it by adding chicharones and hot sauce.

Did you bartend in any of the other places you have lived?

I bar backed at Badlands in the Castro when I was like 23. I was the only straight guy there. It was currently an interesting gig. 

What is your favorite bartending anecdote (keep it PG-13)?

I just like the fact that at the end of a night, I'm stone cold sober and all the patrons are total demented monsters. Because of this, I'm so much sharper than them that they pretty much think I'm psychic. 

Got any projects you are working on that you can talk about?

I have SO much going on but I gotta play my cards close to my vest for the moment.

Well there you have it. Keep your eyes peeled, America. Broke-Ass Stuart is coming at ya.

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Stuart currently regularly hosts his "Frito-pie Party" on Thursdays at "The Unresolved Love Life of Evelyn Lee" from 9PM until he runs out of Fritos.

For the record, Stuart, Paul Simon is a genius and Graceland deserved every Grammy it won.

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Broke-ass Stuart's Goddamned Website

The Unresolved Love Life of Evelyn Lee
491 Potrero Street,
San Francisco, CA

Dear Mom
2700 16th Street,
San Francisco, CA

Thieves Tavern
496 14th Street,
San Francisco, CA

Whiskey Thieves
839 Geary Street,
San Francisco, CA

Blind Cat
3050 24th Street,
San Francisco, CA