Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: October 2010


Ride Report: Hockey Heaven is in...Michigan?! My journey to Perani's Hockey World

I decided yesterday to hop on Eleanor and shoot straight up to Flint, MI to see the Perani's Hockey World location there. I received a hot tip to visit that place after going to the North Olmstead, OH location last year and speaking to an employee who then told me that the Flint location was filled with "nostalgia and random old hockey stuff hanging off of walls." Sounded like fun. The catch? Weather was going to be anywhere from 45-50°F during daylight hours to the mid-30s in the evening, which would be a slight problem at prolonged highway speeds. I went through all my warm gear suited myself up with the following:

Schampa Warmskin Skinny Shirt
The North Face Technical Fleece Jacket
Gerbings T-5 Heated Gloves
Aerostitch Roadcrafter Jacket

Schampa Warmskin Skinny Pant
Vega Meridian Pants
Aerostitch Darien Pants
Alpinestars Web Gore-Tex Boots

Additionally, my Garmin Zumo 550 that had served me well for the last 65,000 miles had been sent back to Garmin after screen failure in Chicago. So, in its place, I rigged my HTC Incredible phone to the bike using a Universal PDA clamp mount from RAM Mounts to my bike and connected its power via the rarely-used 12V plug inside my front driver's compartment and an extremely slim 12V to USB adapter so I could use its navigation and listen to the very free (and very awesome) Pandora Internet Radio. This isn't a waterproof setup by any means; but it was just fine because there was no chance for precipitation at all.


Food Review: Wings Over Columbus (near OSU campus)

I got out of work yesterday and had a hankering for some made-to-order chicken wings. So, I went to Wings Over Columbus for dinner. It's a small place that's literally an order window, a three-seat booth, and a small TV surrounded by vintage pictures of airplanes. To go with the whole airplane theme, combinations of wings were named after famous planes such as the "DC-10" and "F-16." Additionally, they also sell ribs and wraps.

For my meal I ordered three flavors of wings: sweet onion BBQ (sauce), garlic parmasean (dry dusted), and mustang ranch (dry dusted). The wings were large, plump, and very juicy. However, I was quite disappointed by the lack of distinct flavor of the sauces and how much I could still taste "just the chicken." In fact, I couldn't tell the difference in taste between the garlic parmasean and mustang ranch and thought for a moment that I was only given two flavors. It was only the contrasting colors of seasonings that confirmed that I indeed had three flavors. For sides, I think they could've done better with their french fries. It was obvious that they were frozen, and they look like the same ones served by Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers.

I ate at the small booth; I was on a motorcycle and was pretty hungry. My hands were a little grungy after delving into the chicken and standard paper napkins weren't enough. I was surprised that they were unable to supply me wet towelettes or even a cup of water (they were going to charge me $1 for a bottled one). So I guess this place was truly for "take-out" only. I would've expected a place that sold wings and ribs, or any food place that serves messy food for that matter, to have those BBQ-eating necessities.

I will still stand by my opinion that the Wing Stop chain has, by far, the best tasting wings anywhere that I've been. If you're looking to feed a crowd at a tailgate, this place would work just fine; they offer wing deals for large parties. However, for extra-tasty personal indulgence, there are many other wing-based restaurants out there to enjoy with better tasting wings and flavored sauces. Looks like I'm going to have ride 165 miles north to Mentor-on-the-Lake, OH for a tasting of the good stuff at Wing Stop, the only location in the entire state of Ohio; that or just go back to one of the over 50 locations in CA.

 Wings Over Columbus on Urbanspoon


Food Review: Todai Seafood Buffet (Schaumburg, IL)

I enjoyed this restaurant from the week Matt and I got married so I'll share this review with you all.

Matt, our friend Victor, and I had the opportunity to have our fill of seafood at the Todai Seafood Buffet inside of the Woodfield Shopping Center in Schaumburg, IL before I had to take Victor back on his plane to Long Beach. We were super hungry, so the perk of "all-you-can-eat" was all we needed to get in the door. This is definitely a buffet I'd like to visit again.

To summarize the place, imagine a long buffet line filled with gobs and gobs of all-you-can-eat sushi, sashimi, and hot Japanese/Chinese food. I had my share of fresh raw salmon, Hawaiian ahi poke by the scoop, and hand-made rolls galore. For those desiring hot food, there was also a selection of soups, cooked fish and other sea creatures, rice, and noodles. I think I overdosed on pickled ginger too. :)

My only criticism of the place is that they charged for beverages other than water, but the approximately $20 per person tab is a small price to pay for the amount of freshly served seafood. Additionally, this Todai's main focus is definitely not on aesthetics as it resembles more of a cafeteria with Japanese accents. It's a straight-up buffet-style restaurant, so don't expect it to be a romantic place; it's not like you're looking around and enjoying the atmosphere while you're sucking down fish!

I had known about Todai Seafood Buffet before (there are several locations in Southern CA and in Las Vegas) but this was the first time I got to eat there. I'd like to go back sometime, but the two (soon to be three) closest locations to Columbus are in northeast Illinois and Virginia. Sounds like another series motorcycle rides. And as you know, I have been known to ride Eleanor to places just for the food.

To find locations near you, visit Mmm...sushi.

Food Review: Eastern Palace (Reynoldsburg, OH)

I've been a member of for about two years, and have used it as a way to try new food places without plunking down the entire bill. It's a website where you would purchase gift certificates at discount prices to use at supporting restaurants, many of them non-chain, off-the-wall, and individually owned places. For me, it's usually a chance to explore a new food establishment and try dishes that I wouldn't otherwise order.

My curiosity and a gift certificate led Matt and me to Eastern Palace in Reynoldsburg for a casual dinner for two. It's an Asian restaurant with gourmet Chinese food and Japanese sushi. Despite its very plain appearance on the outside, its interior was very clean and comfortable and was even set up for private parties or receptions. We sat in a booth that had a great view of a big screen TV so we even got to watch sports highlights on ESPN while we ate.

We decided to get a full, three-course meal. For our appetizers, we ordered a lobster sushi roll and a combination platter for two that contained chicken egg rolls, chicken wings, crab rangoon, and beef sticks. I was impressed by the appetizer's its presentation; there was a small flaming pot in the middle of the plate. The lobster roll was served in a traditional arrangement. Everything was perfectly cooked, and the sushi was fresh and delectable.

For our main course, Matt got an orange chicken dish and I went for a Hong Kong-style crispy noodle plate. It was very obvious that the chefs were very sensitive to flavor. The sauce in the orange chicken was light, yet flavorful, and I could still taste chicken underneath the crispy fried exterior of the chicken pieces. The crispy noodles on my plate appeared (and tasted) made-to-order and were well complemented with a light sauce, shrimp, chicken, and an assortment of snow peas and other vegetables. To finish things off, we had delicious green tea ice cream.

I'd definitely recommend this place to anyone who is looking for good Chinese cuisine and sushi. Not surprisingly, even rates this restaurant in the top 25 in the Columbus area. For this website's reviews, click here.

 Eastern Palace on Urbanspoon


Gear Review: Vega Meridian Pants

I had the chance to test out the Vega Meridian Pants for my ride up to Chicago. I had been looking for a pair of pants that would fit underneath my overpants that would provide the warmth that regular jeans could not. I was thoroughly impressed with this pair of pants, especially because they combine a windproof outer material and a super-warm fleece liner. Additionally, their soft texture eliminated the chafing feeling that you can get from wearing jeans on a motorcycle for a prolonged period of time.

One issue I did have with these pants was their length. They do not come in a "short" sizing (I have a 29" inseam and these pants were almost 34" in a size 2X) so hemming may be necessary for a custom fit. Fortunately I was able to tuck the excess material into my tall Alpinestars boots which also kept my calves quite warm. These pants fit quite snugly and are very form fitting to help with maintaining body warmth so if you're used to more relaxed fit jeans, it can take a little adjustment.

From a cold resistance standpoint, I was very comfortable, if not, unusually warm, even when temps dropped down to 45°F while traveling interstate speeds on I-290 heading to Itasca. I can imagine combining this layer with my Schampa Warmskin Skinny Pants for maximum insulation from those sub-freezing temps.

This is definitely an asset to any cold weather rider's collection. They also look nice so they can pass for normal casual wear. I would even stretch its use to other fall/winter sports or for prolonged days outside in the nippy cold. Vega advertises the Meridians as a "sub-layer," so they're not made to take much abrasion. I would consider them to be a sub-layer underneath overpants. And at a reasonable price tag of $49.99 it's an inexpensive way to stay warm and stylish.

I'm back!

Whew! After all those adventures in Chicago and recovering from that, it's back to this blog. As the riding "season" comes to close, I'll be putting up more gear reviews and blurbs about cold weather riding and how to cope with that white stuff called snow. Hopefully this winter in Ohio will be a lot milder than last year, but then again, it's Ohio.