This week, Willie Brown is all about the Lunar New Year. More than just a traditional celebration, it's also turns out the festival is another way for the former mayor to get the people of Chinatown to buy him lunch. Apparently, little red envelopes containing neatly folded dollar bills are the traditional new year greeting, you see. We were not aware of this part of the new year tradition — we thought it was all about the parade with the wonderful lion dancers — but we're glad Willie could let us in on one of his many secrets for fleecing the good people of San Francisco.
While in Chinatown, Willie ran in to Nancy Pelosi on the street. Like any normal sidewalk exchange, the two discussed whether the Democrats could retake the House. Pelosi is optimistic, it seems.
Before the NFC Championship game (which Willie watched from Oakland, remember), Willie stopped in to the bar at the Four Seasons where a gaggle of NFL-minded personalities were holding down a table. Also at the bar was Dave Chappelle, who really likes to pop up all over the place these days. Willie still appears to be dumbfounded that Chappelle could have walked away from a $50 million contract when he left Comedy Central in 2005. At the risk of reviving a tired meme, we really hope the pair lamented the late Rick James. Or at least talked about doing drugs with Eddie Murphy or something.
In other "Willie Brown eating" news, Da Gourmayor headed to Pican in Oakland where it took him half an hour to get a bowl of soup and another hour to get his second course. Willie is normally the sort of man who enjoys a slow meal, but in this case he was not amused. "There’s absolutely no justification for the quality of the service," especially when all you're ordering is a pre-made meatloaf.
Later, Willie got a chance to sup at the new Original Joe's in North Beach, which appears to be exactly the same and every bit as good as the original Original Joe's, except that it's in North Beach. The best part though, was that the staff saw him coming and immediately laid down a table cloth. With the staff at Original Joe's waiting on him hand and foot, and all the necessary ink spilled in the Chronicle, Willie can now rule over the holy trinity of North Beach (Joe's, North Beach Restaurant and Park Tavern) without ever having to worry about picking up the tab again.
Finally, Willie headed down to Pier 23, possibly at Anthony Bourdain's suggestion, to sample some of their "always iffy" food. He had the ribs. They were excellent.