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Bites on Bikes: From Fish to Dish

Whether you want to enjoy a guiltless day of dining or just care to experience what this unique city has to offer in a rather novel way…give it a try.

Story by Teo J. Babini - teo@citizenbrooklyn.com Photos by Alessandro Magi
Photo ©Alessandro Magi

Photo ©Alessandro Magi

When I heard about these foodie bike tours, it occurred to me that it doesn’t really get much more neo-Brooklyn than that. I immediately began having visions of hipsters on fixies grubbing down on the latest vegan treats. But, in fact, the journey we embarked upon felt more like an antiquated adventure straight outta the roaring twenties.

We met Vicki, of “The Vicki Winters Show” food blog, near City Hall Park to grab our gear. She equipped us with helmets and Tern folding bikes, although I opted for a larger bicycle that fit better to my physical frame. From there we rode through and heard some history of the neighborhood, followed by the fishy odors of summertime Chinatown, a gastronomic odyssey in it’s own right.

Photo ©Alessandro Magi

Photo ©Alessandro Magi

Then comes the first real challenge of the day; biking across the Williamsburg Bridge. Now, I’ve walked across this thing at five AM on numerous occasions, the moonlight guiding me along its majesty to the palpable energy on either side, but biking across it at noon in July is a midsummer’s day nightmare. Luckily for us, it was a relatively temperate day with plenty of cloud cover above. Although, I must admit there is some sense of accomplishment in burning your legs up half the bridge and gliding angelically down the rest of the way, drying the sweat that had formed on your forehead.

We arrive in an area of the Burg where there is occasionally tension between single-speed cyclist and Hasidic driver, both at times equally obnoxious, but luckily Mrs. Winters is something of a hybrid in this respect being Jewish and also an avid rider, and has carefully selected her routes to minimize conflict. There is even a new restaurant in the area whose name plays on this tension. We passed by without incident.

Photo ©Alessandro Magi

Photo ©Alessandro Magi

We made a pit stop at The Bagel Store to pick up the essentials: Brooklyn bagels and cream cheese to compliment our fish. From there we rode on to Acme Smoked Fish, reason being Fish Friday where the goods are sold directly out of the warehouse at wholesale prices (Lowered from FORTY bucks a pound to around FIFTEEN). But first, coffee. Grady’s Cold Brew conveniently sets up a cart out front the industrial looking building. They serve a concentrated New Orleans style iced coffee, flavors reminiscent of Indian chicory. Probably one of the greatest beverages I’ve every consumed, the biggest risk, I’d say, is binge drinking.

Photo ©Alessandro Magi

Photo ©Alessandro Magi

Entering the shady building you are immediately refreshed by the temperature set to keep the food fresh. For extended stays (long lines) I would recommend a light sweater. As you enter the selling floor, you are immediately transported to an old timey bootlegging operation, complete with old timey jazz playing in the background, only difference being the lack of booze and illegality.

We nibbled on the salmon jerky samples as we waited in line for folks to select their fancy. They’ve got whitefish, salads, sable, trout, bluefish, mackerel, herring, the works; but the real draw is the smoked salmon, which is available for tasting. They cut little bits right of the fish and plop it down on the table in front of you. Of the variety of different style, I found the most interesting to be the pastrami salmon, but, being a traditionalist, I opted for some good ol’ belly cut. Quality, plain and simple.

Photo ©Alessandro Magi

Photo ©Alessandro Magi

We picnicked in a park by the river, so our lunches felt closer to home. We grubbed hard while watching Hasids play soccer with a giant ball and admiring that famous view of the city skyline. I stuffed myself not knowing Vicki had plans for dessert. Luckily for me, we decided to hop over the bridge so as to avoid what looked like impeding rain. I felt a bit sluggish at first, but the ride really gets your metabolism going. Funnily enough, we stumbled upon a “Boardwalk Empire” set, completing my nostalgic fantasy.

Photo ©Alessandro Magi

Photo ©Alessandro Magi

By the time we made it over the bridge, I was ready for more and our industrious guide had a back up plan of dropping by Melt in the LES for a truly delicious ice cream sandwich (Which they say will replace cupcakes as new trend in sweets). Once again, I went traditional. At the end of it all we dropped off the wheels and said our fond farewells. As if by design, the rain came down just as I was walking back, cleansing my body of sweat and sticky ice cream residue. I was now ready for a much needed nap. So, whether you want to enjoy a guiltless day of dining or just care to experience what this unique city has to offer in a rather novel way (With a local who knows the ropes), give it a try. I, for one, found it to be a fantastic hangover cure.

You can get more information on the different tours and make arrangements here: http://bitesonbikes.net

Photo ©Alessandro Magi

Photo ©Alessandro Magi

3 Responses to “Bites on Bikes: From Fish to Dish”

  1. Ebru says:

    Great story, great idea, nice photos. Actually eatdrinkandride would
    be great in istanbul as well. Loved the idea.

  2. Teo J. Babini says:

    Glad you liked it, Ebru. Would be a good idea for the Asian side probably.

  3. Garry says:

    Incredible points. Solid arguments. Keep up the amazing effort.

    my web page WinRAR

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