Monday, April 27, 2009

The fish we eat, the trees we smell, and a college radio reference

I rode north toward home this evening, with all the April heat from the pavement and the smells of urban trees in bloom. Bradford Pears, a Lilac or two, and... a burned clutch or brake dust. The moon was a slim hammock.

The best part of my ride was my long-delayed, first-ever stop at the Lion's Den Vegetarian Restaurant (view map in new window). It's more like a tiny lunch counter, actually, with three stools and view through the plate-glass storefront. There was a gray tenspeed, utilitarian but cared-for, leaned against window when I arrived. Inside, a box was playing some old roots reggae. I used to have a reggae radio show at KDIC, but I had never heard "When I fall in love, it will be forever..." Respect man, nothing is free.

I chose a couple pieces of fish from a warm tray under hot lights. One was a whole fish, a little one. The skin was crispy and fatty and the meat was sweet. The other piece was a hearty cross-section of a bigger fish- and it was spicy on the outside. Yo reader, both these fish hit the spot! Next time I'll try the Ital soup. Respect!

Fish is the perfect food for bicycling. Lean protein, good fats, just drink a little juice and you're done. I did a Windsor-Manchester-Hartford road tour on Saturday and a tuna salad saved my sweaty self at a bench on Case Mountain: canned tuna, kalamata olives, olive oil, lemon juice, red onions, apple, raisins.

Don't eat bluefin tuna, sharks, swordfish, or other tippy-top of the food chain predator fish. US shellfish is relatively well-regulated and managed, especially Maine lobster and blue mussels. Asian shrimp and farmed fish is too likely from a filthy, polluting, poorly-managed farm carved out of some wetlands. Wild-caught Alaskan and Canadian pacific salmon is relatively sustainable at the moment. Do what you will with Atlantic Salmon, almost all of it is farmed. Find out more about healthy, "sustainable" fish choices and print out a wallet-sized reference guide here.

Where and what do you stop to eat when you ride through town?


Brendan said...

This month's Harper's (the Judge Cofield one) makes Alaskan Salmon sound not at all sustainable.

Karma said...

Joel, great transition from your bike experience to a very important (and under appreciated issue). The reference you provide is a great one, I also use this ( which has much of the same info in a bit difference format. I have yet to compare the info they provide against the other but Im sure they are on par. Many people (like myself) dont eat beef, pork, poultry, etc due to the horrible mass production practices that typify these industries but view seafood as a more sustainable alternative. These references show there are indeed some good choices, but like anything else it takes some education and a concerned mind to make the right choice.

I like sardines for a post-ride protein boost. Plenty healthy populations of those little guys.

Rich said...

Joel, mad props for pointing out a good sustainable fish wallet card. Not many people know about this.

So today on my day off, I went to Newington Bicycle. Being around lunch time, I decided to look to see what the food options were around there. I happened across a burger joint I don't remember seeing before called "Goldburger," located just a few steps from the bike shop. Now, I know that burgers aren't as healthy eating as what we're talking about here, but my experience there was so good that I just had to give them some props and try to spread the word. It's a local shop that's only been open a month. All the ingredients are local and handmade. Great care seems to gs into the food (I watched them hand-patty and weigh the meat as they were cooking), and the employees are really into trying to ask for suggestions. While I was eating, the owner/chef came out and asked each customer how everything was and how could they make it better. Heck, while I was waiting for my order, the chef came out and said I had been waiting too long (I wasn't) and gave me a grape soda on the house. Just a really good vibe all around...and the burger and fries I had was top notch. They've got specialty burgers, dogs, and sides, and all are customizable.

And for you veggie people, they also have veggie burgers, so you can have a healthier option.

The place has been getting great reviews on YELP so far, and they have a facebook page, if you're on that.

Just wanted to give those guys some love. If you're at Newington Bicycle, check out Goldburger.