Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

24 September 2015

Riding To Eat, Eating To Ride

It's been said that there are basically two types of people:  those who eat to live and those who live to eat.

I think you can substitute the word "ride" for "live" and describe a lot, if not most, cyclists.  If you think I'm in the "ride to eat" category, I wouldn't argue with you!

The ride I did today proved it.  Now, we have all sorts of wonderful places to have breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks or anything else you can think of here in New York--and, for that matter, in my own neighborhood. But today I rode about 70 kilometers each way, and crossed a state line, to go and eat in a specific place.

Why?, you may ask.  Well, the place where I had my late lunch/early dinner is something we don't have--at least, to my knowledge, in Queens or anywhere else in New York City.  

You may be wondering what sort of restaurant New York wouldn't have.  Think about a Maine lobster shack.  It makes sense that we wouldn't have them here because we don't have lobsters in our local waters.  For that matter, I don't think any stretch of shoreline within 400 kilometers of New York has them.  

So...Imagine the lobster shack without the lobsters.  I know that sounds contradictory. So let me clarify:  The spirit, the essence of the lobster shack.  In other words, a place that serves up fresh seafood, without fuss or pretense:  what fishermen and their families might cook for themselves, and each other.

The place I'm talking about also sells fresh, uncooked seafood.  Some--like shrimps--don't come from anywhere near these shores.  But other things in the shop come from about 30 kilometers, or more, out to sea from the shop.

That place is the Keyport Fishery in New Jersey.  When I was in high school, my mother used to buy fresh fish from them every couple of weeks or so.  It's probably the reason why my siblings and I grew up liking seafood:  The stuff we ate was always fresh.  One of the best meals we ate every year was a traditional Italian Christmas Eve feast consisting of calmari, scungilli and other marine delicacies.  The fish my mother and grandmother cooked came, of course, from the Keyport Fishery.

Every once in a while, I get a craving for one of their platters or sandwiches.  Today was one of those occasions.  So I rode down to Keyport, via back roads, and opened the door to a shop and kitchen that's hardly changed in four decades.  

I went with a flounder platter.  Three large filets are lightly battered and fried, and served with KF's homemade cole slaw--yes, it tastes home made; it's not drowining in mayonnaise--and Freedom Fries.

Yes, they call them Freedom Fries.  Of course, they weren't calling them that when I was young.  But, apparently, they started calling them Freedom Fries, as so many other places did, during the Iraq War, when France wouldn't commit their troops to the effort.  One of the sons of the family who owns KF served, as a Marine, in the war.  And the family includes others who've been Marines in other wars.  So I guess I can understand why they never bothered to change the name back.  

After eating that moist, flaky flounder and savory coleslaw, I can forgive that. The fries were good, too!  

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