“The pilot light in the stove had gone off, so when she turned the oven on to full bore, it did not light. A couple of hours later ... she opened the oven door. The flame from the top burners ignited the gas in a single terrifying rush, blasting Courtney three feet back and three feet into the air so that she landed, seated on the prep counter.”
As Central Avenue heads east toward the mountains, the gravitational pull of Nob Hill starts to wear thin. Groovy cafés and thrift stores are succeeded by storage units and mom-and-pop car lots. This sleepy urban backwater is where you’ll find the Babylon Grocery and Café, in a strip mall just east of Wyoming. The wood-clad Iraqi restaurant and grocery store has only been open for six months, but it already has the weathered and eclectic feel of a long-standing outpost in a desert far away.