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Dining With Elvis: Turkey? Thanks, But No Thanks.

Last Thursday afternoon, Elvis came home from a run around Lake Merritt and said, “Man, it smells sweet in here, like you’re wearing a perfume called ‘Grandma’s Kitchen’ or somethin’.”

“It’s Thanksgiving. I’m making us dinner,” I said.

Elvis smiled at me. “Son, you’re yanking my chain, if it’s Thanksgiving where’s the damn bird. I looked in the ‘fridgerator this morning, and I didn’t see nothing with wings in there.”

“That’s because I don’t eat turkey. Come on, Elvis, you remember–I’m a vegetarian.”

Chik'n nuggets, mushroom balls, peppered Tofurkey slices

“I thought that just meant you ate more vegetables than regular folk. Well what the hell are you cooking up?” Elvis dabbed at his forehead with one of his custom made “E.P.” embroidered  towels and sauntered over to the stove. “Well that there’s ham, son, you been fooled,” he  laughed.

“This right here is fried chicken, and this,” he poked at the skillet with a spatula.”Well this I don’t know what it is; looks like sheep’s balls or sump’n, but I’ll tell ya this, it ain’t nuthin’ that no veggy-tartarian-person should be shovin’ down their gullet. I don’t know what poor animal had his nuts sliced off for your uptight Britsh version of Thanksgiving, but I’m as hungry as a horse. Man, those better not be horse’s nuts.” Elvis laughed again and said, “I’m gittin’ in the shower. Son, you are one daffy kinda Limey duck.”

I pulled the pan of roasted potatoes from the oven, I’d mixed in some turnip, carrots, and sweet potato in there for some variety. I could hear Elvis singing in the shower. “Now and then there’s a fool such as I…you hear that, you crazy Brit, a fool you’re a damned fool…vegetablearian my ass.”

Elvis got out of the shower and slipped into a maroon velour jumpsuit and I burst into laughter when he came into the living room. “Elvis, you look like one of the Golden Girls in that thing.”

“Son, I told you how much I love that show, now you can make fun ‘a me all you want, but you tear into what’s her name? You know, the slutty one, or that other one, you know the dumb one, or that big one, and that older lookin’ one, you askin’ for a whole mess a trouble.”

“You don’t even know their names,” I laughed, and Elvis fell into a pout. “All right, no harm intended. I’m plating the food in a minute. First though, a toast.” I poured two glasses of champagne. “Here’s to our first Thanksgiving since I rescued you from that old folks home, you ungrateful tyrant.” I smiled and winked.

“Amen,” he sang. “Let’s grub.”

Elvis bowed his head and said a prayer for his mama, and dug into the vegetarian feast like a shark feeding on chum. “What the…this ain’t no sliced turkey, and this…this ain’t fried chicken, and these balls didn’t come from no animal I never heard of. Son, are you trying to poison me?”

“Elvis, I told you it’s all fake meat stuff; if you wanted something different you could have made it yourself. Now sit down and eat your dinner, before it gets cold.”

Elvis harumphed and sat to eat.

“Pass me some of them potatoes and other funny colored things…and I guess that ham steak looks pretty good. Fake meat, my ass, ham s’posed to come from a dang pig ya know?” He cut off a slice and began eating the veggie ham. “Say this ain’t too bad, little o’ this gravy on the top.”

For dessert, I served Elvis a slice of pumpkin pie and within minutes after finishing it, he was asleep on the couch snoring with remote control in hand.

I guess the old guy was tuckered from his run, but maybe it was the dang tryptophan that put him in that food coma.

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Dining With Elvis: Forbidden Island–a.k.a Too Much Monkey Business

      As you know, Elvis Presley is alive and well and lives in a room in my house. While in public, I call him by his Graceland codename of “Alan” so as not to raise suspicion. This way we can come and go largely unnoticed. His appearance is not one of caricature. He’s now 75 years old, and has short, thick silver-gray hair, and is in fairly good shape. He tries to keep a low profile, but every now and again Elvis hankers for the days of yesteryear.

        A couple of weeks ago (August 16th) I took him to a party at a tiki bar in Alameda that held a celebration in honor of the anniversary of his “death.”

       We arrived at Forbidden Island and the joint was packed. Clips from some of his movies played on the televisions and on the big screen in the back of the bar. A man in a fez greeted us warmly. He was known as “Will the Thrill,” and known in Bay Area circles as a writer and an emcee for social events that are eclectic in nature. He was known to me, because I’d heard that Will believed Elvis Presley was still alive. I would have to be careful around this guy. If he suspected that I had “The King” in tow, things could get stickier than a tiki bar cocktail tray at closing time.

       Elvis looked around the bar. “Man, these people still give a damned, huh?”

       “Of, course, Alan,” I said. I leaned in and whispered, “But if people knew you were still alive they’d crucify you all over again. Not to mention you’d spend the rest of your life in jail…and a real one, not like one in some dumb movie.” I gestured to the screen showing a clip from “Jailhouse Rock.”

       “You take that back; that was one of the better ones,” he snarled. We sat down and drank $6 Mai Tais. Elvis turned down the chance to order some deep-fried appetizers, saying, “Nah, I don’t eat that crap no more.” We watched the screen with the enthralled audience. A montage of images from Elvis’s life poured from the projector, and I thought I saw his eyes well up as a picture of himself with his dead mother flashed across the screen. “Get me another damned cocktail, something different,” he choked out quietly.

      I went to the bar to give him a moment alone, and ordered him a drink called “The King.” It was a rum, banana, and peanut butter concoction especially created for the occasion.

      While I was at the bar, the real “King” had recovered his composure and was chatting up some girls who were easily half his age. They smiled politely and laughed at his jokes. Just as I arrived at the table one of the women said. “You seem awfully familiar. Have we met?” I interrupted in my thickest English accent (before Elvis could answer). “Leave it out, Dad, you’re not trying to convince these birds you’re a bloody American again are you? Bleedin’ hell, give him a rum drink and he thinks he’s a Yankee Doodle Wanker from Tennesse or somethin’.”

      I smartly pulled him away from the table back to our spot. “Hey, man, I thought I was going to get some action there. I told the blonde that I could swivel my hips just like Elvis,” he muttered.

“You mean ‘hip replacements,’ right?” I laughed, and he scowled and cussed me out quietly.

      The host, Will the Thrill, picked up a microphone and announced that there would be Elvis trivia for prizes. All right, I thought, we’re going to do okay here. Some people around us got the easy ones. I’d told Elvis to sit tight and hold out for the grand prize. Will and his wife (Monica The Tiki Goddess) deliberated over what the final question might be, and then it came.

      “What was the name of Elvis’s pet monkey?” There was a silence cast across the room as it was apparent that these alleged Elvis “fans” were shocked to hear that he owned a monkey. Elvis slowly raised his hand.

     “Yes, you sir, what’s the answer?” asked Monica the Tiki Goddess.

     “Scatter!” drawled Elvis as if barking a command.

     “Correct and what is your name, sir?”

      “My name is El…I mean…Alan. My name is Alan.” The women at the next table looked over towards him and cheered and applauded. I smiled. “Well done, Dad, we won!” I said animatedly for their benefit. I gave him a big hug and he whispered in my ear. “Do you think the grand prize is a ‘57 Cadillac?”

      As I feared he might, the still be-fezzed Will the Thrill angled for a better view of Elvis and was looking like he wanted to find out more about the gray-haired Southerner by my side. I grabbed Elvis’s arm, thanked the bartenders, and made for the door quicker than a pig that had accidentally wandered into the middle of a Luau. It was a necessary maneuver, I sensed the rum might loosen the king’s lips and, God forbid, his artificial hips.

Dining With Elvis – Speisekammer in Alameda

    As some of you may know, Elvis Presley is alive and well and lives in a room in my house. Every month we choose a new restaurant to visit in The Bay Area. We eat, drink, and talk about the old days.

      It was Elvis’s pick this month and I gave my colon a pep talk believing “The King” would likely take me to the greasiest spoon in the world. I tried to talk him into selecting a place that served fish ‘n’ chips so that I might continue my search for the best in the Bay Area.

      When Elvis told me he wanted to check out a German restaurant in Alameda called Speisekammer, I was surprised.

2424 Lincoln Ave., Alameda, CA

     “Man, you know I like the wiener,” Elvis said, completely straight-faced.

“You like ‘the wiener,’” I said, trying not to laugh.

He said it again, and then upon realizing what he’d been saying, slapped me across the back of my head. “Make fun of an old man wouldya?”

“Sorry, Alan,” I said, using Elvis’s Graceland codename. “Let’s get a beer at the bar. I need to get my throat lubed up if I’m going to be swallowing wiener.” I shot Elvis a cheeky grin and he just scowled at me. “Sorry, King,” I whispered. “No more, I promise.”

       Elvis was stationed in Germany in the late 1950s and during that time discovered a penchant for real German food. We took our beers to the table and Elvis looked over the menu. “What the hell are ‘German Fries?’” he said.

“I don’t know, mate,” I said. “What the hell are French Fries? I mean they’re talking about chips aren’t they? I’ll tell you what, Alan, order some and we’ll check their little passports.”

Ketchup by Heinz?

       Elvis ordered the Bratwurst: two pork sausages served with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes and mustard. When Elvis’s food arrived, I glanced at his plate and quickly looked down at my beer and smiled. He stabbed at a sausage with his fork and waved it at me. “I swear to God if you make another pecker joke…” God bless him, but I swear he makes more inappropriate jokes than anyone I know; especially when it comes to discussing his own “wiener.”

Two wieners, und I’m ze only plate, ya.

    Our “German Fries” arrived and as I suspected they were just normal fries, perfect in every way, though. Elvis asked me if I’d ever had Spätzle. “Gezundheit,” I said.

“No, Spätzle, you dang stupid Limey. It’s like Mac and Cheese, but for grown-ups.”

Spätzle is like a savory desert-treat

      In an attempt to still get some variation of my fish ‘n’ chip craving, I ordered the Gegrillte Lachsfilet which was a grilled salmon fillet with mashed potatoes, spinach and cucumber-dill sauce. The salmon was so fresh it tasted like it had been hoisted from a stream that afternoon. I watched Elvis inhale a sausage and wished he’d break his “no paparazzi” rule and let me take a picture of him. “Man, this is as good as I remember,” he smiled, as I wiped a little dollop of mustard from the side of his face with my napkin.

      The band began to set up their instruments, and Elvis looked at the stage longingly. “Do you think I should ask if I can sit in with them for a song or two.”

“Come on, Alan, you know you shouldn’t try to draw attention to yourself,” I said. “Anyway, we should be getting you back home. There’s a Golden Girls marathon on Lifetime. You know how much you love that Betty White.”

“Man, I sure do. Did I ever tell you I let her…”

           “Meet Little Elvis?” I interrupted, resisting the urge to use the word wiener. He furrowed his eyebrows a little.

“No, I was actually going to say ‘let her……beat me at Scrabble.’”

“Sure you were, Elvis, sure you were,” I whispered, as I helped him out of his seat.

For more background, read the first “Dining With Elvis” here:

https://thebayareabrit.com/2010/03/02/dining-with-elvis/

©Matty Stone 2010

Dining With Elvis

The Bay Area Brit reviews local restaurants with Elvis Presley

As some of you may know, Elvis Presley is alive and well and lives in a room in my house. Every week we choose a restaurant in The Bay Area and eat, drink, and talk about the old days. We each review the restaurant from our unique perspectives.

The Search For The Perfect Fish ‘n’ Chips

Barclays Pub 5940 College Avenue Oakland CA (near Rockridge BART)

     Our first review is of Barclays Pub in the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland. I was craving something British to eat, and Elvis wanted some comfort food. Elvis still loves cheeseburgers and fries, but was reluctant to be seen eating fried food as he felt it re-enforced a negative stereotype regarding his eating habits. Of course he didn’t really say it like that; I’m translating. Elvis is 74 now and still drawls a little and cusses far too often for a man that grew up singing gospel music, but far from being an older caricature of his former-self, he looks quite distinguished with short gray hair and is in fairly decent shape. I assured him that no one would make fun of him, as everyone in the world believes he died in 1977.
When seen together in dining situations Elvis and I come and go with anonymity. Restaurant employees and patrons alike do not know they are in the same room as “The Bay Area Brit” and they’re oblivious to being in the presence of a man once known as “The King.”
We pass for a sort of “Odd Couple” version of a father and son.

       I ordered the Fish and Chips. The fish was a beer-battered Pacific Snapper. The portion was huge. I joked to Elvis, “We’re gonna need a bigger plate.” A reference to the movie “Jaws.” Elvis just looked at me with a confused look on his face.

         “Why don’t you just ask for one, then?” he said without a trace of a recognition.
“No, it’s from Jaws, Elv…I mean, Alan.” I call him Alan to reduce the chance of anyone recognizing him. It was also his codename at Graceland.
“Oh, yeah, the film about the shark, right. I saw that. Man, I almost pissed in my jumpsuit when that thing leapt out at those guys on the damned boat.”

“We’re gonna need a bigger plate.”

          Elvis’s burger finally arrived (he’d sent it back twice claiming it still wasn’t cooked enough. Personally I think that this sort of behavior is unacceptable, but who am I to argue with Elvis Presley?) He’d ordered it extra well done. “That mad cow disease is all well and good for you limeys, but I ain’t dying over it.” Elvis is a bit paranoid, and the burger came back from the kitchen looking like a hockey puck but he was satisfied and ate voraciously.
My fish was tasty and moist. The chips, which claimed to be cut English-style, were very good, but not quite fat enough to pass. The chips in a “fish ‘n’ chips” dish should be the size of a thumb and a little soggy. They should be piping burn-the-roof-of-your-mouth hot and doused in salt and vinegar.

          Elvis was very happy with the fries though and contemplated ordering another side of them. “Now, now, that’s just what the old Elvis would do,” I whispered. Elvis suddenly noticed a guitar hanging on the wall near the door and suggested he could pay for our lunch by singing a song or two. “You know like in my movies.”
“I don’t know. I think that’s a bad idea, pal.” He pulled a sour face after I shot down his suggestion.

         Overall it was a good effort for an American British-style pub. I paid the bill and Elvis said he wanted to leave the tip. In the old days he’d do things like leave the keys to a Cadillac if he thought the waitress was cute. Fortunately for us, he doesn’t have that kind of money at his disposal anymore.

© Copyright Matty Stone 2010