Appetizers
August 5, 2011
Dine and dash: Our governor's french fry problem

039.JPGI have good sources on the streets of Sacramento. One of the most reliable told me about Gov. Jerry Brown's visit to a certain midtown restaurant. The gossipy details suggest that in some ways he's just like the rest of us - he steals other people's french fries. And in other ways he's not at all like us -- the guy who drove him to the restaurant was behind the wheel of a black SUV with dark windows and with a rifle perched between the two front seats.

That's how the governor rolls these days. He's older now and married, and he's busy trying to save this broken-down state from going completely broke. The governor no longer rents a modest apartment at the corner of 14th and N Streets like in the old days. Instead, he lives in a swanky, pricey loft at the corner of 16th and J, just two blocks from the old governor's mansion his dad, Pat, occupied in the 60s. And you won't find the more mature governor tooling around the grid in that Plymouth Satellite he had when he was the 34th governor of California from 1975 to 1983.

These days, it's a tricked-out SUV. When he's ready to leave a restaurant like Cafeteria 15L, as he did the other night, his driver turns on the flashing emergency lights, blocks traffic in the right lane on 15th Street until the governor is safely inside, and then makes the lengthy drive home - um, that would be three blocks, not counting the one-way streets that make the drive a cumbersome six blocks. Still, his security detail is seemingly lighter than his predecessor's. Once, when the GF and I were shopping at Mike's Bikes at 14th and I, we noticed six guys in suits walk in. All had earpieces. The Schwarzenegger walks in wearing a tan summer suit and ask, "Where are the bike shorts?" We didn't stick around to watch him try them on!

I digress. It's what my source told me about Brown's arrival a couple of nights ago that was the best tidbit. It seems that when the governor walked up to the restaurant, he spotted someone he knew dining a table on the patio, which is separated from the sidewalk by a wooden wall about four feet high. Brown reached over the wall and snatched some fries. Then he snatched a few more, apparently proclaiming them worthy. He then went inside and had dinner. I have no intel on what kind of tipper he is.

Disclaimer: The fries in this picture are not from Cafeteria 15L. They are used merely to show what french fries look like and are in no way intended to represent themselves as the fries Gov. Brown snatched from an unsuspecting diner at the restaurant in question, which did not make these fries.

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