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April 8, 2009

Ride to Eat/Eat to Ride

ride%20to%20eat.jpgI rode on the back of a motorcycle. Once. I was wearing a skirt and no helmet. When my friend turned a corner too sharply, we went over. The nurse at the college infimary did her best, but I've still got some dirt embedded in my knee all these years later. Naturally our guest poster, Shallow Thought Wednesday guru and motorcycle enthusiast John Lindner would never treat his friends so rudely. EL

Sunday lived up to, for a change, its eponymous moniker. And though it was not warm (72 degrees farenheit is the nadir of warmth in my estimation), it was uncold enough to break out the two-wheeler and ride -- straight to a restaurant. ...

Bikers tend to be melodramatic regarding their pastime. We like to play on the mystique of danger, rebellion and death. For some, riding a motorcycle is as close as they will come to what they’d recognize as a spiritual experience.

Ironically, we are almost all annoyingly religious about what one ought to ride -- like Mac owners but with leather and skull jewelry. We adopt canonical habits (in both senses of the word). We have our cowhide vestments. We have a sacred salute. We chant broody, mantric slogans like “Live to Ride/Ride to Live."

Come the 90s, Boomers groping for hip grasped at motorcycling, found it conferred cool, and bought in en masse. They created a new class: the bourgeois biker. Bike shops went from grimy, dimly lit quonset huts that smelled reassuringly of testosterone and 90 weight gear oil to prissy boutiques that sell more designer clothes than motorcycles. (In some of them, the floors are actually clean.)

While the change left much to be mourned, some good came of it. While packs of us still thunder off to bars of a Saturday afternoon, when we arrive, we get more carbs from fries than beer. Many of us drink nothing more mind-altering than cola and iced tea.

The trick is to find places that tolerate windblown, tattoo-bearing, slightly deaf gray hairs that reek of 50 SPF sunblock but that also serve food worthy of our discerning palates. The former is surprisingly easy. The latter, not so much.

Sure, it’s still fun to strike terror into the hearts of the populace, rattle windows with our preposterous exhaust pipes (all bow and repeat after me: “Loud Pipes Save Lives”), and soak in the envy of the earthbound. But now we are rebels with a cause. Mine happens to be medium rare.

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 12:32 PM | | Comments (36)
        

Comments

I like "Ride to eat, eat to ride." These days, though, I ride a moped, which is even more uncool than riding a Japanese bike (which is what I used to do).

Loud pipes annoy people behind you. You can't hear them from the sides or the front.

You've only been riding since last Sunday this year? But there hasn't been ice on the road since February!

Lissa -- first time I rode a moped was in India, sidesaddle, wearing a salwaar-chemise, flip-flops, no helmet, my dupatta streaming behind us. Next ride was on an Enfield Bullet motorcycle. Still no helmet, but this time I wore jeans and insisted on straddling. Good thing, because I was in no way prepared for the upgrade in power.

Haven't been on a motorbike now for about twenty years and would certainly never ride without a helmet. But boy, I had the time of my life.

Thanks for the post, jl. Don't know about the kind of places you're looking for but having a bike sure makes parking easier.

Man, the picture alone makes me long for the days I would hop on my bike and get one-with-the-wind.

Alas, I'm a living, breathing (thank god) example of the notion that there are two kinds of bikers: those that have crashed and those that are going to.

Mrs. Bucky wouldn't let me replace the bike when I went from one group to the other.

(Never had a Harley, jl (nor a Mac.) I had Beemers. That started when I got my first bike and Harley Davidson was owned by AMF. We called them "Hardly Ablesons". Even after Wille G rescued the company I stuck with the Best Mortorcycle in the World.)

You were riding to Daniel's were you not? If not, you got some 'splainin' to do. I've got Daniel's on my list of ppalces to eat, based on your recommendation.

Bucky, it's still a bit chilly out for the outside bar at Daniel's.

It may be chilly, but the crowds are already riding in to Daniels. Rode by last weekend and it looked pretty full out front.

Laura Lee, my host families kept me off the mopeds and motorcycles when I lived in India. I still miss running around in salwar kameez, though. Besides the lack of pockets, that is the most comfortable, practical clothing around, isn't it?

Where were you?

They still make Enfields in India, it is the only place left, I think. I used to have an Indian moped, but it got stolen my first night in Baltimore, so I have a Slovak 'ped now.

Anonymous: Long story. There's logistics involved in early rides. Also, frankly, I'm a warm weather rider. Don't like leather. Too confining. Hate helmets, but the beanie thing I wear staves off non-compliance gremlins.

was it "Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Repair?"
Traded my two wheeler(Honda) for a
four wheeler(MG Midget) years ago...
almost as much fun and it hides the paunch

... and the art of motorcycle maintenance.

"The trick is to find places that tolerate windblown, tattoo-bearing, slightly deaf gray hairs that reek of 50 SPF sunblock but that also serve food worthy of our discerning palates. The former is surprisingly easy. The latter, not so much."

Peter's Inn on Ann Street in Fells Point fits the bill. At least, so long as you're not too "cafe racer."

What a crock of ****! Why not see what motorcycling is really about? It's not bar-hopping and going to the local Hooters to get the pretty girls to sit on your $40,000 "custom" chopper. Most of the people that buy the bike with the "ride to live, live to ride" attitude park the bike if it's: too cold, too hot, too wet, or not convenient enough. Buy a bike FOR YOURSELF and go ride it!

Long story short: you view motorcycling as some kind of sport. You are, as gently as I can put this, a lightweight.

Sensible people (like myself, of course) view it as a 60+ mile-per-gallon means of transportation. And faster than the bus.

I might add that "don't like leather, really means, "relish the possibility of having my flesh ground off", and "non-compliance gremlins" means "fools who think a wet-brain like myself can be convinced that sitting in a corner drooling is not an attractive future".

I don't know Mike, if given a choice between going to the local Hooters and having the pretty girls sit on my chooper or going for a bike ride in the harsh elements, I'd choose the former. Then again, I'm really in no position to offer an opinion about riding a bike as the last one I owned was a Huffy in 1984.

Yo! Mike's got religion! Katie bar the Power Commander!
And thanks for telling me what I really mean, Anon. I would have never guessed that I relish my flesh being ground off. As for drooling in a corner, I did that all through high school and college and I turned out OK, right?

Bah! You are all lightweights! Ride a moped around Baltimore, that is hardcore!

Hooters! We don't talk about Hooters enough in this blog. It is a fine restaurant chain.

I can't believe I didn't think of this before. Every week, I spend hours trying to think of something "foodie" to write about, and then 10-15 minutes actually writing. And all this time, there was Hooters, big as...uh...life...staring me right in the face.

Has anybody been to the Woodstock Inn lately? I saw they remodeled it and hear the food is pretty good but haven't tried it myself - yet.

Did I ever tell you about the time I took my infant to Hooters and started nursing him when he got fussy? Talk about stares.

I think Bucky just gave us a sneak preview of next Friday's topic.

Laura Lee, you didn't! Oh, gods....way to remind everyone just what they were designed for.

Laura Lee, I am laughing out loud here!
But you didn't really--did you?

My friend's father used to comment every time the paper had a story about someone wiping out on a cycle that the gene pool had just been improved.

Laura Lee - was that the Hooters on Light St. by the Inner Harbor or the one in Towson?

Joyce, they've remodeled since last year? I know they did a remodel job 2 or 3 years ago (maybe 4?). I've been there several times since. Thought it at or just above average tavern/bar food. I certainly plan to visit again.

jl, I didn't realize the remodel took place so long ago. I went out there last year with a band promo and was shocked at how spick and span and big it was now. I do hear they've got a new chef though - newer than 2-3 years ago, so I'll be interested if you think the food is better.

Until you start driving all the way down through Granite, you just don't realize how far that place really is.

Alright, alright I made it up. But many's the time I fantasized about such an action.

If only I were more confrontational.

Hey, this is a food blog you know.

Lissa -- sorry I never answered your earlier question. I was in Pune on that motorcycle but also spent time in Mumbai, Goa, Agra, Rajasthan, New Dehli, and Calcutta. But most of the days I was in India were lived in Punjab.

Still drag out the salwaar-kameez on occasion.

BTW salwaar-kameez is the perfect attire in which to nurse infants.

Lady Lion Laura Lee, it's like you're speaking another language! Stick to English. Zut alors mein amiga.

You got around, Laura Lee. And I wish I could still fit into my salwaar kameez. Guess I'll have to be content with still fitting into my saris.

Laura Lee - you cave far too easily. You could have kept going and made up an entire evening at Hooters. The Inner Harbor one. We wouldn't have known the difference and I'm certain we would have been entertained.

Bucky, I'm not sure if an entire Laura Lee-imagined evening at Hooters would be publishable here.

I'm sure it'd have us all rolling, though.

Joyce, I'll try to make the Woodstock soonest and report back.
Part of the charm of the Inn is that it's on Woodstock Road, which, however brief, is fun on a bike. Notice the Inn also has hitching posts. They're used. Almost everytime I've visited, horses (Patapsco Park) tarried outside while their riders dined alongside lesser genes within.

jl, I agree, it is a wonderful bike ride. It's been years since I've been able to do that though. It's been so long since I've taken that ride, that you were still allowed to go without helmets. I'll leave it at that, because those who ride know how long that's been. And, although I really don't want TBI (traumatic brain injury), the thought of wind in my hair is so appealing.

I didn't know about the hitching posts. That's awesome! I don't know many places that have people riding up on horseback!

Joyce, jl
In Woodstock/Granite....
What is now a Job Corps site was once the oldest Jesuit Seminary in the US until it was closed in 1974...quite a nice "campus"

Hue, thanks for that detail. I will whip it out next time I'm at the inn with friends. It will serve to perpetuate their mistaken suspicion that beneath the rubble of my personality there lurks a soul of erudition and culture.
Joyce, the horses are a nice touch. And if I thought about TBI, I wouldn't get on the bike (or a horse). The ride, I've reckoned, is worth the risk, while not riding is not worth the illusion of safety. I approach automobile rides and showers the same way -- but so far I'm not required to wear helmets in those two deathtraps, though doing so would be, I'm advised, a lot safer.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.
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