25385 Cedar Rd
Lyndhurst, OH 44122
by Beau Cadiyo
In law school, one is thrust into a situation where one pretends to be close to people that one can barely tolerate. The cattiness, name-calling and petty disputes are legion and legendary. Someone told me that law school is not for making friends. Law school is for learning and, for many, being miserable.
It’s only after law school that you realize who you liked in law school, and by then you’ve lost the opportunity to see your favorite classmates every day. That’s how I began to feel with Frank Duffy and Frank Broadbent. Although I liked them in school, I really started to appreciate them afterward. Thus, it was fortuitous that I made plans with Duffy for dinner and Broadbent happened to park next to me and joined us.
I’d been to Stir Crazy once before, with an ex. We were living together and we went for her birthday. She complained for most of the dinner about how I hadn’t planned anything to celebrate. To shut her up, I told her about the surprise party I’d put together for later that evening. Immediately, she began complaining about how I’d ruined the surprise, and how she’d always wanted a surprise party, ever since she was young. That was in the middle of winter, and we’d been bundled up against the chill. This time I sat outside in the sun, with a gin and tonic, and noted with pleasure an item denoted “*NEW*” on their menu: the bánh mì.
I’d first heard of a bánh mì in an article in the New York Times five years ago. These Vietnamese sandwiches were said to be sweeping New York at the time. A bánh mì is, quite simply, a French baguette with Vietnamese filling, and is a culinary child of colonialism, much like Thai iced coffee. In New York, small family shops serving fresh baguettes and with Vietnamese filling were having trouble keeping up with demand. I first tasted one in Columbus, at the North Market, but was geographically constrained from reviewing it. Eleven months later, I was at Legacy Village, and I knew what to order, and I was excited.
Later, Reuben told me that he’d never heard anything good about Stir Crazy. I wish he’d told me before. The bánh mì came with a coleslaw and a pile of candied ginger, both appropriate for the Ahi Tuna Sashimi I’d ordered as filling. The sandwich was medium-sized and well-presented. The bread was admittedly good, but the rest of it was a disappointment. The ahi, seared on the outside and pink within, was tough and tasted slightly stale; it should have been yielding and smooth. Anything else in the sandwich was forgettable (as I’ve completely forgotten it). The coleslaw was, again, mediocre, but the crushed peanuts was a nice touch. The ginger, which I’d been looking forward to, was bright orange, rubbery and saccharine sweet. I kept eating it, hoping that it would change flavor or reveal subtlety I hadn’t found before, but in the end it was simply bad.
The bánh mì, 1/3 of an order of decent duck wraps, a cup of (almost) hot-and-sour soup, my gin and tonic and a generous tip ended up just under $30. We then sat around talking shop about our post-law-school lives. Eventually, we got around to pondering whether others encountered the same problems with practicing law that we were encountering. I was reminded of the advice given to me by the study abroad people at my college: “Remember, EVERYTHING YOU FEEL IS NORMAL.” Surely, the girl who admitted that the only reason she went to law school was to stock her closet, or the Napoleon who once bragged about punching someone in the back of the head and running away, or the girl whose sole ambition seemed to be to satisfy her mother’s wish that she marry a wealthy lawyer and get alimony (something she’s well on the way to doing) – surely, we thought, they are all feeling the same pains and frustrations we are feeling in their own practices. I’ll never know – I don’t keep in touch with them.