philly – cycling and food

It was blustery, I mean windy in Philly when my favorite youngest and her boyfriend took me through the city traffic to the bike path along the Schuylkill river. We had seven hard miles out, and then blew back like leaves tossed in the wind.

Cold, Sunny and windy along a tributary to the Delaware

Cold, Sunny and windy along a tributary to the Delaware

You just don’t go anywhere in Philly without finding something historical, and some of the stonework on the bridges or off the path is outstanding. But when we passed Paine park, which surely must be named after Thomas Paine, the author of “Common Sense” where he railed against primogeniture and the monarchy for the right of the common man, I thought history has a sense of humor. He got a skate park.

Returning, windswept we could see the setting sun reflecting gold against the sky-scrapers, and I was reminded of how the Spaniards must have felt about El Dorado, the city of gold. The city skyline is very nice, and nicely lit at night.

If you get to Philly, stop at Monk’s Cafe for Chimay beer, brewed in Belgium by Trappist monks where it with the restaurant’s wonderful scallops and mussels will fill you with pleasure.

And the one place that is a must visit is the Rim Cafe in South Philly. It is truly the best hot chocolate I have found ( my previous favorite was a little place near Garmisch at the border of Germany and Austria ) but at the Rim cafe, they are passionate about chocolate and everything is hand made. it’s expensive but the drinks are lovingly prepared

Each glass is meticulously prepared

Each glass is meticulously prepared

When they have drizzled the salty caramel, or the dark chocolate and add the molten hot chocolate ( either dark or milk ) you won’t regret it. I almost tried the edible gold cannoli ( but Jan convinced me a $24.00 pastry was over the top )

Here’s two of our drinks almost ready, before they added shavings of chocolate truffle and other amazing toppings…

almost ready... just a perfect cookie, and hazlenut, berry and chocolate truffle shavings to add....

almost ready… just a perfect cookie, and hazlenut, berry and chocolate truffle shavings to add….

Philly – a good place to cycle and enjoy the table.


boca raton just desserts – food

Maybe the last merger trip brought us down to Boca Raton where it was a sultry 80 degrees to the Chicago 40. If you get down to the Del Ray beach you can sit along the sidewalk at the City-Oyster and watch the pretty girls go by and enjoy a drink and delicious food. From the Prince Edward Island mussels cooked in white wine with caramelized onion to the smoked fish dip served with home made saltines you won’t be disappointed. A sip of one the local craft beers, a bite of saltine and the fish spread… a wonderful combination.

But the desserts were perfect too – key-lime pie which is cool and tangy, just the right cooling sensation for the warm weather.

never underestimate the subtle pleasure key-lime pie delivers

never underestimate the subtle pleasure key-lime pie delivers

And because we were sharing – we tried the pecan pie. Brash and bold, this pie was served in a glass with pie on the bottom, a layer of vanilla ice-cream, and then home-made marshmallows with a touch of caramel on top. It was the complete opposite of the pie, but outstanding in itself. The nice thing was that all the desserts were made in the restaurant, I like that. It makes the dining unique.

pecan pie taken to the next level

pecan pie taken to the next level

Consider adding the City-Oyster in Del Ray to your dining list.


mackerel sky and food and cycling

We set out to ride along the Des Plaines River but it was a Mackerel Sky – Never long wet, never long dry. At fifteen miles of rain it was time to turn about and admit defeat and try to get warm. There was a bit of color to offset the drab raining sky.

Chris and some of the lovely maple trees along the river

Chris and some of the lovely maple trees along the river

Once back, we were near Bob Chin’s Seafood Restaurant in Wheeling Illinois where ( we were amazed they let out wet muddy selves in ) and I enjoyed a fine clam chowder followed up by mussels and then finished off with a family recipe for dessert unlike any I have tried. It was pie, with the purple base made from potatoes grown in Okinawa which are regular potatoes with the purple color. It is whipped finely with coconut milk and served on a graham cracker and macadamia nut crust and topped with a layer of coconut with a texture like custard and that topped with whipped cream. It was rich and tasty and not overly sweet.

The perfect dessert, unique and satisfying

The perfect dessert, unique and satisfying

Of all the place in Chicago, Bob Chin’s is right up with the Publican in restaurants not to miss. It makes a day cycling in the rain and mud seem not so bad.


iowa, planking, cycling, rootbeer and chicken livers

Iowa was so friendly, and the Wabash Trace so nice that it needs a second post. In Shenandoah at the restaurant called the Depot – you can get a locally crafted root-beer. Rich and smooth with just a hint of anise it was a treat.

Root beer from the Depot in Shenandoah - served in a frosted mug.....

Root beer from the Depot in Shenandoah – served in a frosted mug…..

We stopped at several other nice restaurants, but I couldn’t find one that sourced local Iowa beef, maybe that’s something to find in nearby Omaha which is a larger city, but when I asked the waitress what they recommended everyone said “Onion Rings” and “Chicken Livers”.

Now that's an Iowa onion ring, served at J Brunners

Now that’s an Iowa onion ring, served at J Brunners

I have to admit that all my life I’ve never tried a chicken liver, though my mother a farm girl loved them. So to honor Mom’s memory we tried the chicken livers and they were very tasty.

Breaded hicken livers, mushrooms and provolone - rich and tasty

Breaded hicken livers, mushrooms and provolone – rich and tasty

Maybe this is Iowa foie gras? It was pretty good but very rich.

So, if we’re going to enjoy the table – we’d better do some extra along the trail…

My favorite oldest daughter planking on a break in the trail

My favorite oldest daughter planking on a break in the trail

Well, we can’t let youth have all the fun….

planking on the bridge over the Nishnabotna river

planking on the bridge over the Nishnabotna river

Safe riding everyone!


sunrise – cycling

At 6:00 am, the train station is desolate. The streets to the train station are empty and the air is cool. We were soon to be off on the train to downtown Chicago and from there ride our bicycles up along the lake and paths the 120 miles to Milwaukee.

Naperville-station, as isolated as if the zombie apocalypse was upon us

Naperville-station, as isolated as if the zombie apocalypse was upon us

Dawn rises along the tracks and soon enough the ride begins.

sunrise along the tracks

sunrise along the tracks

Every ride is full of wonders, like the scent of chocolate baking along the streets of downtown, or the sea of spandex when our path merged with a woman’s 1/2 marathon. It’s a chance to find mom/pop restaurants like the Mexican place in Evanston where you can get corn meal pancakes and the restaurant is so small that you have to walk through the tiny kitchen and ask the dishwasher move to get into the tiny restroom.

corn meal pancakes - like a corn muffin you can put syrup on - what's not to like ?

corn meal pancakes – like a corn muffin you can put syrup on – what’s not to like ?

Hope you ride your bike to new places and find adventures of your own.


the opposite of mass produced – food

We went to a local wine tasting. Tried some reds and whites from California and Oregon. They were nice but we didn’t purchase any. On the way home we stopped at Standard Market where they were having a tasting by a local craft brewery of Gin, Vodka and Aquavit. Chicago Gin, I like the sound of it. And I like the idea that they are small enough to label each bottle by hand. It was pretty tasty, made by neighbors ( although Chicagoland has about 9 million neighbors ) it’s fun to purchase locally.

North Shore Distillery – check them out if you can.

cheers....

cheers….


western root-beer food

The cabin is a long ride up the mountain and the road is rough so when Jan stocks up at the grocery store I check for any local root-beer.

Bedfords comes in a manly bottle, no twist off cap – you need an opener, or as I have seen, teeth, or an eye socket. ┬áThis root beer takes me back to the good old days.

found in Sheridan Wyoming

found in Sheridan Wyoming

This one has a big strong flavor. It’s not as smooth as some from the East coast, but the big flavor makes it unique.


rootbeer and chips – food cycling

We happened into an upscale restaurant halfway through a bike ride to LaSalle Illinois. Cycling into a town, you roll up and down the small main-street looking for a place that looks good. Across the street from a hot-dog place was the Uptown Grill. We normally try the hot-dog place almost every time, but since my daughter was riding with us, we decided a place with napkins would be in order. The grill turned out to be a very fine restaurant with a complex menu and fine wine list. But, for a biking lunch I threw down the gauntlet. What kind of root-beer do you serve ?

This is one fine root-beer.

This is one fine root-beer.

They say hunger is the best sauce for food, but a hot humid bike ride can help a root-beer taste pretty good. Hank’s from Philadelphia was a rich smooth root-beer, served in a chilled glass. A restaurant that cares about its root-beer just has to care about everything.

We had Gorgonzola chips, fresh made chips so crispy and light your fingers didn’t get greasy.

behold Gorgonzola chips, guilt free with a six hour bike ride

behold Gorgonzola chips, guilt free with a six hour bike ride

Having just been in France, this reminded me welcome back home to American cuisine.


what’s in a word – travel basel

We dined well in France, and were so tried of dinner with champagne and wine and many courses that for our night in Basel, we thought we would eat simply and found a little pizza place. We could get one small pizza and split it.

Since the bus that took us to our hotel was the 604, we decided to get # 604 on the menu, we thought it might be ham, mushrooms, artichoke, and egg. Egg ? Well, we were too tired to try to do the English to French without my sister so we just cast the dice.

Imagine our surprise when what we thought was egg turned out to be olives.
It was a very good pizza, and they had ice cold water, which I was dying to get.

Sometimes it’s all in the translation.


dessert – food northern france

We stopped at a restaurant for lunch, and we’ve had so much great food for the French take their table seriously.

I was going to talk about the aperitif which was a sparkling wine and tasted of ginger and spice cake, very festive.

I was going to take a picture of the plates, which were modern and stylish or the fact that my sister’s dog Jumi was at our feet as we ate.

Then I was going to talk about the foie gras on a bed of lettuce with little pices of roast duck… perfectly done and complimented by the rolls.

Next I thought I would post about the chop with the white comte sauce and of course “French Fries”, but I just didn’t get pictures taken.

Then dessert showed up.

dessert, two esses since it isn't a desert.

dessert, two esses since it isn’t a desert.

Freshly baked wafer with ice-cream and whipped cream and a touch of chocolate sauce. I had to take that picture.