New West bike n’ dine

New Westminster can be a tough customer for a cyclist! There’s a reason they call it uptown. So how can the average rider find a comfortable route from downtown to uptown? Frequent rest stops for snacks and beverages at the local eateries, of course!

Photo: communitywalk.com
Photo: communitywalk.com

Begin by trundling your faithful two-wheeled friend to Theresa Mae’s for a hearty slice of toasted fresh baked bread with all day breakfast or soup and sandwich. Heading east, our attention turns to coffee— nature’s ally to the uphill challenged. Staying on Carnarvon, The Hide Out Cafe is a short push up at #716.

Nourished and energized, you’re off to take a chunk out of that hill, and your carbs. Continue on Carnarvon to 6th street, turn left and head up to Clancy’s, to responsibly enjoy a Dead Frog while trivializing, then back to the ride.

Fed, caffeinated, and slightly numbed, you are ready to take on the longest segment of your route, from #140 to 620 6th Street. The sting of hill-climbing will subside with the rising view of The Orange Room on your left, across from the Legion.

You’ve arrived! From old downtown to less-old uptown, your final reward of The Orange Room’s tasty tapas will surely make the arduous climb worth the effort.

From here the choice is yours, but I recommend the same in reverse. Well, ok, not everyone enjoys riding backwards, but the downhill route is just as tasty!

What New Westminster inspires me to eat

Photo: Juli Shannon via Flickr
Photo: Juli Shannon via Flickr

Lately I’ve been thinking about how my surroundings inspire my food choices. Reading my way through the Canada Reads books inspired a date with bacon ice cream, a rise in my comfort food intake, and delight in a layered chocolate torte! But what about where we live? What effect does our city have on our food choices?

My career started in downtown Vancouver in a tall building surrounded by sushi and Asian fusion restaurants. Lunch of choice: sushi most days. It’s clean (no chance of soup slippage on your suit), and is fast to eat. Plus, it looks fashionable! It’s a nice ensemble of different colours and shapes wrapped in a black suit of seaweed – somewhat resembling my corporate ensemble.

Or, a loopy salad for the days you need a break from soy sauce. I say loopy because salad bars abound in Vancouver and the kinds of toppings you can put on your salad make bacon ice cream sound quite normal.

So what happened when I started working in New Westminster?

The first thing I noticed about New Westminster is how much it is a “home.” The inclusive community included an array of late afternoon pies, and local and family run restaurants and cafes. Suddenly I found my lunch of choice shifting towards paninis, real hearty foods, and it-looks -like-your-mother-made-it concoctions.

Sometimes I look at paninis filled with freshly colourful vegetables and wonder: how am I going to eat this? Luckily we have panini presses, and although the vegetables add height, it is great to know that as much as possible they are locally sourced and put together with high quality ingredients.

Some of my favourite haunts are La Rustica and La Lorraine providing a perfect ambiance for office meetings and business lunches. The quiet atmosphere combined with an assortment of freshly made pastas, seafood, and sauces might just be what you need to seal that all important deal.   For a working lunch that’s in a relaxing atmosphere I like The Hide Out Cafe. Computer stations and wireless Internet make sure that you stay connected, while delicious paninis and soups and relaxing music make your connectivity stress free.

You may not have to look far to find what the answer to your lunch cravings — just look at your city.

What are your thoughts? How do you think your city is influencing your food choices?