Sometimes, when I'm packing for a trip I think about not bringing my exercise gear. And then I think again, because I realize when I'm eating my way through Kansas City barbecue and fried chicken joints that not exercising every day would be a form of diet suicide. It would be like giving in, like the worst kind of surrender, without dignity or grace.
So I pack my running shoes, my shorts, athletic socks, an extra t-shirt, and my swim goggles with my Fine waterproof MP3 player attached, and I head out the door. I did so twice this week, and boy was I glad I did. Both Kansas City and Washington, D.C., offered much in the way of diet disaster potential, and maybe the elliptical trainer in both hotels I stayed in will save my diet bacon.
I really liked Kansas City. The weather was beautiful, my hotel (the Raphael) was great (except for the painfully slow elevators), and the barbecue and fried chicken at their best was downright sublime. Two barbecue joints, the frequently celebrated L.C.'s and the unheralded Big T's, stood out. I was tipped off to Big T's by one of the valet parkers at the Raphael, and man was it good: extraordinary rib tips, ribs, burnt ends, and a seriously delicious barbecue sauce that had the right balance of sweet and savory flavors. L.C.'s had, as advertised, the best burnt ends I've ever had. Big T's was right down the road from L.C.'s, and both were a ten minute drive from the hotel.
I had hit the elliptical trainer a few hours before, after I had already been to Arthur Bryant's, Gates & Sons, and Stroud's for book-worthy fried chicken. I hit it again early the next morning.
I was in D.C. for just one night and the following morning, but after having a terrific meal (have the bacon pecans, duck breast with Jerusalem artichokes, and the butterscotch pudding) with old and dear friends at Ripple, a restaurant opened by a former cable television executive I have known a long time, I managed to squeeze in another session on the elliptical trainer at my D.C. hotel, the lovely Palomar, at six the following morning.
We'll see if all these elliptical trainer sessions succeeded in staving off diet disaster. Here we go: 222. Plenty of pleasure and pain, and no gain (or loss). All in all, not bad. Maybe exercise did save my diet bacon.