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OCTOBER 28, 2007  More below: TOWPATH

More eggplant

Fried eggplant strips with beerSpeaking of eggplant, as we were yesterday, here's another winning recipe: take one cool but mostly sunny Sunday, add two bikes with riders, pour onto the Towpath Trail about ten miles south of Cleveland, stir vigorously with pedals for a couple of hours, and turn into the parking lot of Fisher's Restaurant in Peninsula, Ohio.

The result: hungry riders ready to dig into a plate of french-fried eggplant. And as someone who considers fried potatoes in any form the food of the gods, I'll take these fried eggplant strips before french fries any day. They're batter-dipped and fried crispy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside.

They were served with a mild creamy wasabi dipping sauce, and I washed mine down with a Great Lakes Burning River ale. Food of the gods, indeed!

The rest of our lunch was good, too—Cobb salad for Joanne and Cubano sandwich for me. Fisher's is a great stop-off point on the Towpath Trail, something we keep in mind as we plan our rides.

While we were waiting for a table to open up we walked across the street to the new Peninsula Art Academy, a non-profit gallery/studio space that offers classes in glass blowing, weaving, painting and other art forms. We also visited Elements Gallery which features the work of potter Stephen Bures. All in all, a much more interesting way to wait for your table than sitting on a bench at the restaurant.

We did discover that the "beeper" the restaurant gives you is out of range once you cross the street. The manager was a bit annoyed when we finally strolled in to claim our table, fifteen minutes after they'd beeped us.

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Heading north

The boardwalk part of the A favorite spot on the Towpath Trail near where it crosses under the Ohio Turnpike is a long boardwalk over a marshy area called Stumpy Basin. Much of it gently curves, while this section near the northern end is straight as an arrow.

Going south it seemed like we were fighting a headwind, so I thought the ride north would be easier. But as it often turns out, the wind if anything seemed stronger on the way back.

The sun played peek-a-boo all afternoon, warming us nicely when it shone and leaving us chilled when it went behind a cloud. A few degrees warmer would have made the ride more pleasant, but we figured it might be one of the last nice autumn afternoons so we'd better take advantage of it.

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