An article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle reminded me that it was high time that I sing the praises of BIG NATE'S BARBEQUE. I met Nate Thurmond over ten years ago when we were both members of the same gym owned by Jim Simpson. The gym was then located in the basement of the Marine’s Memorial Building on Sutter Street at Mason. And what a great, funky place it was. I usually worked out on the men’s side of the gym because the men, who worked out in their underwear, were always nicer than the women who would snarl at me if I was on ‘their’ exercise bike for longer than 5 minutes. Anyway, the men who went to this gym included a retired NAACP lawyer, a judge, a hippy songwriter from North Beach, a musician, an evangelist, a retired FBI agent and a stockbroker or two for good measure. They had all been going there for many, many years. That is where I met the jazz musician Vernon Alley. He would tell me great stories about Billie and Carmen and Ella and Sarah as I sweated on the Stairmaster. He introduced me to Dinah Washington's music and her ‘Blue Gardenia’ CD. Another interesting man named Robert told me that you could always tell someone from Los Angeles (this would have been during his downtown days in the 40's through 60's) because the men did not wear hats. Take that, LA! Back to Nate. We started ordering home delivery of his barbeque in 1996 and still do today. Our favorite is the ‘Memphis Pork Dinner’. Pork shoulder is slowly smoked until it is tender and falling to pieces. The pork ribs are great, too. Mr. Culinary Muse loves their coleslaw. I love their potato salad. It took me a long time to understand the purpose of the slices of brown wonderbread. Now I stuff them with morsels of smoky pork bits and nibble away as sauce pours down my hand past my wrist along my arm to my elbow. Elbow licking good!