‘Lunchtime at the Cameo Cafe’
First: Thank you, Mel Brooks, for the title of this piece. Mel had a million funny lines — no doubt still does — but this one’s my favorite. If (gasp) you have no idea who I am talking about, here you go.
Second: Sorry, everyone, for skipping a couple of weeks of pieces. (Assuming, that is, you noticed I skipped a couple of weeks of pieces.) At least I had a good excuse. It was my turn to visit Mom in our sibs’ “Kid of the Month Club” rotation. And, well, what with sitting around drinking coffee and reading books and sitting around drinking wine and watching movies, I couldn’t find the time.
We did some culinary exploration, too. Which is pretty exciting for me. Not the culinary part; the exploration part. See, I absolutely hate to drive when I’m someplace “away.” Part of the reason is that I have terrible night vision. But even during the day, I freak out when I have to navigate an unfamiliar route in an unfamiliar car. My dear sister always makes sure wheels are provided when I visit, just in case. But that case hardly ever comes up, and said car sits in the parking lot in the same spot day after day after day.
Unless The Child joins us. Not only does The Child do all the driving when she’s here, she likes it and is good at it. Surprising, since we had to force her to take driving lessons. Child at 16: “I don’t need to learn to drive; I will never live anywhere that does not have public transportation.” Now she lives in Flagstaff, and if they have public transportation, I’ll eat my cowboy hat.
Anyway. The Child is super busy with some sort of AI project. But she carved out a day for a Mom/Gramma visit on her way from San Francisco to Seattle. We capped off an afternoon of Scrabble with a dinner at Hudson’s Bar and Grill. (Yes, The Child drove us; it’s not that quirky a route, but it was dark out.)
Well, the next day I was feeling that just-saw-my-kid-but-now-she’s-gone-already sadness, when I had a great idea: lunch at the Cameo Cafe! My brothers had been to this place and said it was amazing. One of the proprietors (or cooks?) is Korean, so they have regular diner food and also things like a Kimchee omelet and a Bulgogi Burger. My Mom got the Long Life Soup, which I swear is named after the time it takes to eat it. Just check out that bowl in the photo at the top of this post (!) I swear it was regenerating while she was eating it. Kind of the way Cobb Salad does.
Well. The food at the Cameo Cafe was not only huge — one of their menu faves is the Acre Pancake; if that’s too big, you can get the Half-Acre Pancake — it is also absolutely delicious. I swear I’d never had a better BLT in my life. What with the delicious food and the really nice staff — we were happily steered to a booth for the second time in 24 hours! — my blues just…disappeared.
Top all this off with the fact that I drove there — and back — with nary an incident, and I was exhilarated. What daughter? You mean she was here? And now she’s…gone?
Gosh. I was feeling so heady with accomplishment that I was tempted to hop back in that car with Mom and pull a Thelma and Louise. Road trip!
But who has the time? Speaking of which, it’s time to wrap this up. Missing a couple of weeks doesn’t mean it’s okay to go on and on. I’ll leave you with this little meditation on time that was in the Times recently. Enjoy every minute.
New York City. February 2023