Sunday, September 20, 2015

Climbing for a Beer and a Brat

If you have been one of my readers for a while you know I am an avid cyclist.  Every now and then I have to go out for a long bike ride, and I always like to plan some delicious food to celebrate the end of a great ride.  As another summer came to an end recently, I decided I needed to find a truly epic ride.  Wandering around the Bookshop Santa Cruz, one of America’s great indie bookstore, I came across a book called The Cyclist’s Bucket List, A Celebration of 75 Quintessential Cycling Experiences by Ian Dille.  Of course I looked through it and immediately looked to see if there might be a suggested experience in California.  There was – ascending Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County.  Ok, I like attempting a hill.  That will be my end-of-summer epic ride.  Just a 38 mile loop, the first 17 was all uphill from Fairfax to the top of the East Peak.  

But where to eat at the end?  This might be overwhelming.  Marin County is loaded with great foodie spots.  To my surprise, I found the answer on a cycling webpage detailing the Mt. Tam climb.  It suggested stopping to eat at the Gestalt Haus in Fairfax.  Apparently this place is a known cyclists’ hideout fitted with bike hooks on the walls, situated right at the base of the Mt. Tam climb if you head up Bolinas Road in Fairfax.  

I did the climb.  It was brutal but beautiful with amazing views at the top.  I was slow, but I savored it.  But this is a foodie blog so let’s talk grub.  The Gestalt Haus exceeded expectations.  This is my sort of bar.  Simply decorated with beer and cycling paraphenelia, lit with big windows, a few big picnic tables, and featuring an expansive beer list and limited food menu, Gestalt is a place for relaxing and telling war stories.  I ordered a Bavarian Bratwurst and some German potato salad with Ninkasi’s Tricerahops Double IPA.  The first sip of the seriously hoppy beer began the recovery perfectly, but then the food arrived.  I started with the potato salad.  I could have ended there.  I mean ended life.  The potato salad was simply the best traditional German potato salad I have ever had…period.  I kept eating it almost forgetting about the brat.  When I stopped I topped the brat and sauerkraut with some onions, peppers and horseradish and bit into a great sausage.  I kept stopping myself to ponder whether or not this all tasted so amazing just because I had just done 4000 feet of climbing over 38 miles or was it truly perfect bar food.  I’ve decided it was perfect bar food.  In fact, I opted against the 5-inch square brownie for dessert and instead had another helping of potato salad.     


So get on your bike and head to the Gestalt Haus.  If you go, let me know.  If you want to climb Mt. Tam, call me.  Let’s do them both.   

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