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Super Spargel

10 May

I’m having a lot of trouble with random ladies lately.

The Building That Put The Times In Times Square

Last night on my way home I had my subway fare stolen. The MetroCard of the lady in front of me had expired, but I didn’t realize it until I had already swiped and she just breezed through on my fare. She finally came back and swiped me through on her other MetroCard, but it was too late, I’d already missed the express train.

Why am I telling you this? Because by missing the express I then had to take The Slow Train To Cleveland home.

Walking For A Cause

Those not living in New York might not know this, but each subway line actually runs on a schedule. This means that if your routine is regular enough it’s possible to begin “knowing” the personalities of the men and women that drive the trains.

Back when I lived on the F line there was a Caribbean guy who had the most wonderful accent. It was proper and British, yet dreamy and exotic. I loved catching his train. On the weekends there’s a guy that runs an R train who sounds like he should be a newsreader on the radio, or doing the voice-over for some crazy computer that’s about to takeover the world. I’ve never heard someone with such precise diction in my life.

Someday I'll Tackle One Of Their Sandwiches

Then there’s the humorous and sassy drivers. They’ll offer observations, crack jokes, sing little songs, impart neighborhood wisdom and insult people that are keeping the train from staying on schedule. One of the most glorious New York experiences is to be amongst a car-full of people who have all been forced to laugh by a subway conductor. It’s an experience that’s become more and more rare as the iPod has continued it’s tramp towards inevitable world domination.

These are the good drivers. Fast, efficient, capable of disseminating knowledge.

And then there’s The Slow Train To Cleveland (TSTTC).

How Do You Get To Carnegie Hall? You Walk There

Have you ever seen Family Guy? You know Peter’s friend Cleveland, who talks all slow and low and mumbly? Yeah, I think they’ve got him running this one R train that departs Union Square around 6.40pm these days. And he drives as unagressively as he talks. It’s frustrating. What should be a 40 minute train ride turns into a nearly hour long epic journey under his tutelage. 20 minutes may not sound like much, but when you’ve managed to get out of work on time and just want to get home and cook dinner, it feels like an eternity. That’s the hell the fare-swiper consigned me to last night.


TSTTC first came to my attention last Friday night. It’s rare indeed when I get to leave the office before 7.30 on a Friday, so I was extremely excited. The boy had initially wanted to take me out for my birthday, but since I was getting up very early the next morning to walk for a cause (and the only way you will ever catch me in Times Square), I suggested that we stay in and relax instead. The problem is, it’s hard to relax when you’ve just been tortured by TSTTC.

After a few minutes of freaking out, exhorting the gods to obliterate TSTTC from the face of the earth and talking at very high speed, I finally calmed down. The prospect of asparagus can do that.

Central Park

How wonderful and strange is asparagus? My mom had a patch of it in her garden when I was a kid. When their strange snakey stalks would finally break through the rough, wintered earth we knew Spring was finally, actually here. We would eat them for every dinner for as long as they were around.

Pan-Roasted Asparagus, Truffled Egg, Polenta

I love the tops the most, especially when drenched in butter and lemon. And I love them puréed into risottos and soups. And I love them whole, pan roasted with lots of garlic and tomatoes, served alongside polenta with a truffle-scented fried egg on top.

Pan-Roasted Asparagus, Truffled Egg, Polenta

It was easy as chips to make and brought me down from my TSTTC-induced pique, plus it was hearty enough to get me through a 5k walk (yeah, I know that’s only 3 miles or so, don’t worry, my friend and I tacked on at least another 3 afterwards).

So, R trainers, beware of TSTTC and fare-swiping ladies.

Be prepared. Keep calm and carry on. Asparagus will not always be there to save the day!

Head below the jump for Pan-Roasted Asparagus with Truffled Eggs. Continue reading