Posted by paulrivas on:
Rivas Cultural Services spied the one and only Coach Pimm at Saigon In and Out on State Street Friday night. That's Jerry Pimm, Coach, the man who led UCSB's celebrated men's basketball teams of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Prior to the men's soccer team's rise to prominence and 2006 national championship, the big basketball wins of Coach Pimm's days were probably the high point in the history of UCSB athletics, in terms of national recognition (and attendance). Even today, with the men's soccer team's present success now coming as expected, people recall the glory days of the basketball program, which came under Pimm.
I hadn't seen Coach Pimm since his first days as an athletic department administrator following his retirement from coaching. Back then, he looked beat, but Friday at Saigon In and Out's downtown location, he looked never-better, probably 10 years younger than he looked 10 years ago. (In fact-checking for this story, I learned that Coach Pimm's mother recently passed away aged 99.) Coach's granddaughter, Gina, was in my third grade class at Foothill School.
I very nearly got up and greeted him, to give him his due props and thank him for first putting UCSB athletics on the map, but it's a delicate operation over there at Saigon In and Out, and one finished diner crossing the room to great another diner just about to sit down may well have brought the whole place crashing down. Saigon In and Out (not Saigon by KMart - never been there) is Clare's and my favorite restaurant these days. We get pho and chicken curry noodles, a Dragon and Angel brand beer and a Diet Coke for about $24.
The food is delicious, and they have a chrome rickshaw that would make any of the local low-rider bros take a second look, but what we love about is is how the very short women on the staff scream hello and goodbye unseen from the far end of the restaurant as soon as a customer crosses the threshold. Such is the hospitality at the downtown location. The staff bend over backwards to be welcoming and helpful, all the while laying conversational booby-traps that are at best startling and at worst the potential for disaster. When Clare ordered both the pho and the chicken curry noodles one time, without saying that we'd share the two dishes, the 90-pound waitress shouted, "It's too much food for you!!!" If a diner tries to order something before the waiter is ready to field the order, or speaks before the waiter has finished speaking, the whole transaction comes to a crashing halt, often necessitating an entire do-over. So you can see how I just couldn't stand up and traipse across the restaurant floor, willy-nilly, and start shaking hands with the customers, even for Coach Pimm.