SoCal Cycle Swap Meet 2022 - Schedule
And A Tip For Where To Eat Lunch While You're In Long Beach
If it's a report by our very own Doug Stokes, then it's bound to include at least one deep-dive down a peripheral rabbit hole...
By Doug Stokes
Fri, Jan 21, 2022 09:57 PM PST
The So-Cal Cycle Swap Meet in Long Beach has been firing up every (for the most part, see schedule) last Sunday in the month now since 1983 and has just announced a nice calendar of events set for 2022.
Billed as a "Cycle" event and always chocked-full of all sorts of bikes, parts, pieces, photos, magazines, books, clothing, and motorcycle riding gear, it's also a great place to (carefully these days) meet people who are into motorcycles and the lure and lore of the two-wheelers. As with many of these sorts of long-standing/regular meets, the cast of characters is as much a draw as the stuff one can peruse, bargain for, and buy.
Casual dress*, layers (it can be cool some early mornings in Long Beach), comfortable (but supportive) shoes, are suggested, a fresh facemask is de rigueur. Go to just soak up the culture or to find that rear wheel assembly for your 1972 Norton Commando, either way, your call.
*of course if you have an Isle of Man '59 sweatshirt, a HOG vest, or a Bates jacket that's worn and weathered you'll not be out of fashion.
And While You’re In Long Beach
It’s one of those unspoken, unwritten, immutable rules of foodies: you (and only members of your immediate family) know of a “place” … a great little place where they serve the best (you name it here) in seven cities and two counties.
You love the joint, and (dammit) every time you catch a rerun of “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” on TV you have to bite your lip and perhaps even seek council trying very hard NOT to write up a 5-star endorsement of the place (and then hope and pray like hell that everyone else who frequents the place doesn’t either). With the family secrets act firmly in mind, I’ll wax on...
There was a joint in Covina (due East of LA about 15 miles) called “Tulipano’s”... (and we’re not breaking any sacred trust here because its long gone now) but that little strip mall “ristorante”, with an adult film and paraphernalia shop just two doors down, served up some of the best Northern Italian food this side of Tuscany, with two brothers right out of the classic film “Big Night”, one who cooked and one who cajoled, and food that fed the soul first. That place was just down that hill and a few streets over from the National Hot Rod Association’s old offices in Glendora, and key staff members there were said at one time to have been subjected to something akin to a blood oath to not reveal the name or location of the place.
I once broke that vow of silence, by telling Chis Economaki and John Cooper about the place and disclosing the location...they followed my instructions and found the joint … They must have gotten out of the car at 8 o’clock at night looking at that (above) shop window with the scanty “upstairs maid” and kitten-with-a-whip “dominatrix” costumes on full-scale, anatomically-correct mannequins other items of certain interest on display wondering what the joke I was playing on them was … but went in anyway (I guess they were really hungry).
The two elder statesmen were greeted warmly (I had called the front man/brother, Vincenzo, and told him that a couple of my friends were on their way and would he please have a table and a glass of the house red waiting for them).
Their report on the food and the people the next day was highly enthusiastic, especially so for two who quite had dinner in some of New York City’s best Italian Restaurants. And, so I gave myself a gold point for being able to put a smile on the faces of two indelible racing stalwarts.
John Cooper was retired by that time, but he had been the president of both Daytona International Speedway and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Chris Economaki was the long-time acknowledged dean of American auto racing reporters. My disclosing the name and location of this place, was a calculated one, knowing that both men lived “out of town” (Indiana and New Jersey) and thus were not immediate threats to breech the local area blackout that “we” regulars had placed on the place…
Why is it that a lot of the best food that I’ve ever been able to find is located in small strip malls? Don’t rack your brain trying to answer that question..
And now … Back to: “While you’re in Long Beach”
If you like Mexican food done right, let me “out” my very favorite place for the best Chili Rellenos in the entire known Universe. Baja Sonora Cantina, 2940 Clark Street, Long Beach… The place is a good 29 miles down the 605 freeway from where I sit and write this, but I’m temped to take the shot after just writing the above down. It’s an unassuming place, the bragging is all in the food they make. (Oh … just let’s keep this a secret between thee and me would ya?)
About The Author
Doug has a long and wide-ranging history in the motoring business. He served five years as the Executive Director of the International Kart Federation, and was the PR guy for the Mickey Thompson's Off-Road Championship Gran Prix. He worked racing PR for both Honda and Suzuki and was a senior PR person on the first Los Angeles (Vintage) Grand Prix. He was also the first PR Manager for Perris Auto Speedway, and spent over 20 years as the VP of Communications at Irwindale Speedway. Stokes is the recipient of the American Autowriters and Broadcaster’s 2005 Chapman Award for Excellence in Public Relations and was honored in 2015 by the Motor Press Guild with their Dean Batchelor Lifetime Achievement Award. “… I’ve also been reviewing automobiles and books for over 20 years, and really enjoy my LA Car assignments.” he added.