Friday, September 07, 2007

Fondue Ride

Certain things just naturally go together: rice and beans, sex and drugs, Republican congressmen and sleazy behavior in public restrooms; but now we add to that august group of ideal collaborations, bike-riding and melted cheese.

Last night, during what I hope promises to be at least an annual event, I savored the dual pleasures of cycling and coagulated milk, on the .83 Fondue Ride, organized by young Remington, fresh from his summer spent, I think at least in part, in the land of fondue, Switzerland, and his co-conspirator in that apogee of 1970s haute cuisine, dear Lucia, who not only slaved over fondue pots all evening, but also came equipped with dozens of those ever-so-tasteful long forks specially made for dipping hard things in runny things.

We rode from Westlake Center over Beacon Hill the long way with a charming descent down to Rainier Beach and then north a bit along the lake to Seward Park where, in a flurry of activity that reminded me of a scene in a Keystone Cops movie, fondue pots, woks, and cheese graters appeared like magic from panniers and shoulder bags. Moments later, thanks in part to DerekIto's industrial size can of nacho “cheese” sauce, people were dipping, eating, and drinking, but only as an appetizer to the subsequent main event: at least three different flavors of cheese fondue, two of which—a stout beer/Swiss combination and an authentic Helvetian-style with port—absolutely rocked my world, and a seemingly bottomless vat of melted chocolate which at first sort of grossed me out but after a post-prandial safety meeting was pure ambrosia.

I particularly enjoyed standing just outside the park shelter looking in at the flying forks and beaming faces of loudmouthed cheese eaters; it resembled a mechanical diorama from the Disneyland ride, “It’s a Small World,” albeit minus that terrible song.

The subsequent ride back along Lake Washington Boulevard was unusually fast; again, testament to the natural affinity between biking and fonduing.


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