Some brilliant soul way in the past decided to combine fried chicken with waffles and to her/him I offer my heartfelt thanks. When I saw it on Assemble’s brunch menu, I knew immediately what to order among their uniformly delicious choices. The rest of our Social Ride group had other ideas: Ray and David wanted Assemble’s grilled cheese sandwich, and Derek and Roger went for the “Assemble Breakfast”, a house-made sausage patty, eggs your way with house-made bread turned into toast and home fries. And that grilled cheese sandwich was no Velveeta monstrosity; it was gruyere and cheddar—lots of both—along with poblano chilis to give it some spice, and of course French fries (or ‘chips’ as they’re called in the rest of the English speaking world). Anyway, back to my fried chicken and waffles: I must confess that the waffles were only so-so but the fried chicken—really large chunks of breast meat—was near perfect: moist inside, not overcooked, and deliciously crispy. Going to Assemble is always a treat, not just for the food but because it sits along the Bay Trail in Richmond it’s easily accessible by bike.
Before we had our meal the five of us—I, Roger, Derek, David, and Roy—rolled down the 40th Street bikeway to Ikea and took the Alex Zuckerman Path up the eastern span of the new Bay Bridge. Despite a cold start the day was sunny, providing brilliant views of the entire Bay from the new span. The old bridge is steadily retreating piece by piece; enough has disappeared that a new vista has emerged: an unobstructed view of the South Bay! After oohs and aahs and obligatory snapshots—although none of us had selfie sticks—we descended back to Oakland and rolled up the Bay Trail to our fabulous brunch. Derek continues to amaze me with his riding. Here he is well into his eighties and he’s zooming along like a teenager. He complains about how he can’t climb hills anymore, fills me in on his latest e-bike research and then he blasts up the short hill at Golden Gate Fields like it’s a race, with David hot on his heels. Age has not diminished his competitive spirit.
Next month the Social Ride is heading to the Creek Monkey Tap House in Martinez for another tasty lunch. It will be a little more challenging with the climb up to Cummings Skyway but in return we get a blast of a descent into Crockett and then a great ride on Carquinez Scenic Drive. Check the Ride Calendar for details. See you March 20!