Anyone who has seen my prodigious belly probably has suspected that I love food. Those I ride with have had that suspicion confirmed, because I don't ride hungry. Hell, I don't do anything hungry.
Therefore, I feel qualified to share with you five killer plates that have made my belly full and my ass sore. Live to ride, ride to eat, right?
Gyro at the Blue Colony Diner, Newtown, Conn.
This gyro is monstrous, simple, and delicious. It’s so overloaded it’s absurd. There is sincerely enough filling in there for two normal-sized gyros. I always receive a generous portion of thick, creamy tzatziki with my gyro. Equally as important, the coffee has never been cold. For dessert, the Napoleon is the only way to fly. Blue Colony's take on this pastry is loaded with puff pastry and vanilla custard, and I swear to God, one of them is as big as a brick. This joint kills it on both Greek and Jewish food, which makes this a mecca for diner addicts.
How to get there: Take your scoot up from the east. Start at Lake Zoar and haul in on U.S. Route 6. Stop and grab a bite at Blue Colony, then zip over into New York and run New York Route 22 up into Massachusetts.
Tuna pesto sandwich and Brock's green pepper rings at Murry’s, Columbia, Mo.
The culinary masterminds at Murry's slather a bun with butter, toast it on a flat-top grill, and then load it up with a huge dollop of homemade pesto. They perch a tuna steak on top of that, and then slop a few handfuls of diced grilled tomatoes and feta cheese on the mound to top it off. I also love getting these crazy rings they make here, too. Imagine an onion ring, but made from green bell peppers which are floured, deep fried, then dusted in powdered sugar. Two words: vegetable candy. As a final treat, Murry's keeps plenty of frosty Anchor Steam beer handy.
How to get there: Take State Roads K to O to UU, eat, then burn down Broadway to WW all the way to Fulton. From there, it’s a quick run to the Mark Twain State Forest.
"Dirt dogs" at New Way Lunch, Glens Falls, N.Y.
Known to the locals as "Dirty John's," New Way Lunch is known for hot dogs. "Dirt sticks" is the popular regional parlance. The name stems from the appearance. Served on paper plates, the weiners are slathered in secret brown meat sauce, onions, and yellow mustard. Dirt sticks have a toothy feel to them. When you bite into one, the casing snaps, almost like a pickle. It’s not a classy Nathan’s or Sabrett dog, like you’d get in New York City — and that’s the point. You will eat two more hot dogs than you tell yourself you will. Anyone who is a connoisseur of this type of fare understands that intestinal distress is part and parcel of the meal, and dirt dogs are no exception. It's no matter. Still worth it.
How to get there: Don’t worry about that so much. Just get there and eat. When you’re done, take your now-comatose ass north on N.Y. Route 9L to Lake George so you can meander aimlessly around that touristy area and people-watch. The bonus to this game plan is that you’ll be near lots of little shops. Many of these are bound to have restrooms.
Cheese omelette and waffles at Maria’s Place, Almont, Mich.
Set your alarm clocks. This is for those of you who enjoy a breakfast run. Maria’s is a stereotypical breakfast joint that’s loaded with townies. The waitresses all move like their feet are on fire and their asses are catching. I can’t make it through half a cup of joe without my cup getting refilled. I like their super-fluffy cheese omelette. Then I chase it down with waffles that are just as light and airy. Their hash browns are the long stringy type. I ask for them extra crispy and covered in cheese, as God intended.
How to get there: Run out of Detroit up Michigan Route 53, with a few side roads thrown in for good measure. Afterwards, zig-zag up into the U.P. It’s almost impossible to find bad riding up there. The roads are string-straight, but the surrounding land is lonely and wooded, like something out of a Robert Frost poem.
Joe’s Special at Joe’s Maplewood Inn, Hammonton, N.J.
The fellas at Joe’s simmer shrimp, clams, mussels, crab meat and scungilli (sea snails) in their own juices, and then dump that tender combo all over the biggest plates of pasghettis I believe I’ve ever had. Happily, the bread that comes with your meal is irresistible. Not so happily, that takes up valuable pasta room. One should not be forced to choose between carbohydrates. I try to mentally partition a little room so I can dunk it in all the savory seafood juices.
How to get there: Take the White Horse Pike all the way in. It’s not curvy, but it’s a nice backroad with interesting things to look at. When you’re done, jump back on the same road and head down to Atlantic City for a wild night or make a beeline to the beach to nap off your meal in the summer sun. Protip: In New Jersey, call the beach “the shore” or locals will freak out.
I have to admit something: I conned Lancy-pants into letting me write this piece purely for selfish reasons. In the comments section, I know people will tell me about more dives worth riding to. I plan to print directions to all of those places, tape the whole stack to my tank, and simply rip off the top sheet each time I check one off my list.
But seriously, take it from a fat guy — this grub will stick to your ribs.