Saturday, March 25, 2006

FOOD COMA: Trying to Survive Five Guys

I TEND NOT TO EAT burgers and fries as a major source of sustinence. But yet, they do slip into my diet. In fact, Friday's Diplomat Burger for lunch at the Post Pub -- just down the block from The Washington Post's downtown headquarters on L Street NW -- was perhaps one of the more stomach-upsetting experiences I've had in a while.

I just got Five Guys for dinner at their new Wilson Boulevard location in Court House. (Yes, I'm at the office on a Saturday night.) A Little Bacon Cheeseburger sounded like a good idea at the time. Now I'm in stuck in a food coma, trying to digest all this. I'll be stuck in my chair for quite some time. I can taste the saturated fat.

Does any place in Arlington deliver a spinach salad?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

BAGHDAD: Can't Escape the Iraqi Heat

Photo of a sandstorm blowing into Baghdad from Pattiea via Flickr.

I REALLY LIKE THIS QUOTE from the blog Madly in Love With Iraq, a blog authored by an Iraqi currently living in the United Kingdom. Part of it appeared in Thursday's Blog Log in Express:
When I miss home I go and sit in the steam room, the heat reminds me of the scorching summer of Baghdad and brings back all the memories, the ones I want to wipe off and the ones I want to cherish.

The heat contributed a lot to our hot temper, nervousness, anger, restlessness and finally the uniquely genuine warmth.

What this country has been through is unique as well. Fear, scepticism, aggression and defeat are all built in inside our souls.
My longtime friend, David Enders (who I know from way back in Sunday school and more recently The Michigan Daily) has told me much about the heat in Baghdad from his various experiences in Iraq as a gutsy freelance reporter. So I'm going to pull some quotes about Iraq's heat from Enders' book "Baghdad Bulletin," which chronicles his experiences starting Baghdad's first post-invasion English-language publication, that folded after a few months as the violence began to intensify through the late summer and into the fall of 2003.

BAGHDAD, July 5, 2003, after 24-year-old novice reporter Richard Wild was shot and killed outside the natural history museum:
Sleeping on the roof ensures that I never sleep in. As the sun creeps over the low roof wall, it hits my face in a slow burn, impossible to sleep through. For some reason there are always flies in the morning as well, and though covering my face with my sheet staves them off, it soon becomes stifling.
BASRA, Aug. 22, 2003:
Everyone knows I need a vacation. The bombing seems to be a good enough justification, but I'm not really sure Basra is the best place for a break. Rumor has it that the temperature here tops 70 degrees Celsius, but no one seems to have a thermometer. They don't go out during the day, and when I make the mistake of running outside barefoot to answer the satphone one afternoon, I have to doubletime it back into the house to save my feet from the burning tile. The heat melts doorknobs.


"I thought all Americans loved pornography."
"But aren't most porno movies made in America?"
"That might be true, but that doesn't mean everyone watches them.
To be fair, I thought it was the Iraqis who were obsessed with porn. Their ubiquitous satellite dishes largely decode adult stations and a few news channels. In fact, were it not for the pacifying effect of all that televised flesh during the hot summer, popular armed resistance might have begun much sooner.
So does that mean the next American tactic to secure peace in Iraq is to flood the country with pornography? I think that'd probably enflame situations more. We'll see if the violence dies down in July and August when the heat is at its worst. (Dave, be well. I know you're being careful over there right now, but be careful.)

>> "Is It Really a Teething Problem" [Madly in Love With Iraq]
>> "Murder at the Museum" [Guardian]
>> "Baghdad Bulletin" [University of Michigan Press]

LINKS: Chimichurri, A. Kahn and Gawker Stalker

SINCE SO MANY PEOPLE seemed to enjoy Wednesday’s photo from last year’s Indiana road trip, I guess I’ll include another. These are clouds along Ind. Route 37, between Bloomington and Indianapolis.

WEDNESDAY EVENING, I joined my sister, my brother-in-law and my great aunt for the birthday girl’s 87th birthday dinner at Chef Geoff’s on New Mexico Avenue NW. The uptown location of Chef Geoff’s has a much different vibe than the downtown location on 13th Street NW. I think that’s because Wesley Heights (or for that matter any D.C. neighborhood west of Glover Archbold Park) doesn’t really have any restaurants, it’s generally pretty busy with folks from the neighborhood. (A few years ago, I witnessed a waiter there spill water, nearly missing California Sen. Dianne Feinstein as she was waiting for former Clinton administration Commerce Secretary and USTR Mickey Kantor to show up.)

I had the Argentine flatiron steak with chimichurri and asparagus (which was quite good), but since the Argentine government just banned beef exports in an attempt to slow inflation, I think the only thing that was Argentine about the steak was the chimichurri. Anyhow, since the last Monday of the month is fast approaching, Chef Geoff’s will be having its monthly half-price wine night, something me and a group of friends have been taking advantage of for the past two or three years or so. $5 burger and wine, great deal.
>> "Argentina Halts Most Beef Exports to Tame Inflation" [Reuters]
>> Chef Geoff’s

AN OLD FRIEND who blogs at Cole Slaw Blog was reading my recent blog post on Chicago’s proposed Fordham Spire and eventually got distracted by various architecture blogs to discover perhaps the coolest university library anywhere in the world. That would be in the Netherlands, at the Delft University of Technology (seen here). A description from
The grass roof of the library is freely accessible for walking and lounging, creating a new amenity for the whole campus. It is supported by slender steel columns in a huge hall enclosed with canted, fully glazed walls. The base of the slope to the west is marked by a broad flight of steps leading up to a recessed entrance. A huge cone pierces the green expanse, articulated by a 1500 mm wide necklace of glazing in the plane of the roof. Supported on splayed steel columns, the cone houses four levels of traditional study spaces connected by a helical stair.
I’ll have to visit next time I’m in the Netherlands.

As for more-traditional libraries, I must say that I will always favor the University of Michigan’s graduate library (left) built by Detroit’s greatest architect, Albert Kahn in 1920 (at least the original section, not the adjoining tower section built in the 1970). To me, the graduate library and the Kahn-designed Hill Auditorium (1913), remind me much of Frank Lloyd Wright’s pre-Prairie/post-Louis Sullivan architecture in the 1890s. Both Central Campus structures look like they’re cousins to Wright’s breakthrough 1893 residential commission, the Winslow House (right) in River Forest, Ill. -- elements of which you can see in Wright’s later work, from the Isadore Heller House (1896) in Chicago, the Ward Willits House (1900-02) in Highland Park, Ill., to even the Marin County Civic Center in California, completed after Mr. Wright’s death in 1959.
>> Library for the Delft University of Technology [Mecanoo via Daily Dose of Architecture via Cole Slaw Blog]
>> Albert Kahn [Wikipedia]
>> Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library [U-M Libraries]
>> Hill Auditorium [U-M Music School]
>> William H. Winslow House [Delmars]
>> Isadore Heller House [Peter Beers]
>> Ward Willits House [Delmars]
>> Marin County (Calif.) Civic Center [Marin County]

I WONDER IF THERE ARE ANY Virginia vanity license plates that can top this one that LAist discovered in Glendale. I’d e-mail James F. of why.i.hate.dc for his informed opinion (since he used to keep a detailed catalog of questionable license plates spotted in the commonwealth), but James F. moved to Seattle. To my knowledge, Rusty, the new why.i.hate.dc editor, hasn’t been keeping track of Old Dominion vanity plates.
>> "LAist Discovers City's Biggest Prick" (pt. 1) [LAist via SocialiteLife]

FOR SUCH A HORRIBLE CONFLICT, tasteful World War I humor is hard to come by, especially when you’re looking for jokes that mix in the current Pantheon of the world’s favorite indie bands. Via Kottke, I laughed my ass off after being directed to this news brief in The Onion. Aren’t there any good bands coming out of Sarajevo these days?
>> "Franz Ferdinand Frontman Shot By Gavrilo Princip Bassist" [The Onion via Kottke]

IN WEDNESDAY’S FINANCIAL TIMES, John Gapper penned a column about Gawker Stalker and the limits of citizen journalism. Gapper, who once co-authored a book with former FT reporter Nick Denton -- publisher of Gawker Media -- is somewhat skeptical of Gawker Stalker, the Google-map enabled celebrity-sighting tracker ... at least as a shining model for the much-hyped “citizen journalism” that emerged as a buzz word after last July’s terror attacks on the London Underground.

From Mr. Gapper:
Whatever the merits of Gawker Stalker, it is at least a genuine piece of citizen journalism, a genre that is thin on the ground. ... But [citizen journalism] has not, so far, produced a lot of first-hand reporting by non-professionals.
In fact, it has produced at least three fake instances of reporting, courtesy of Andrew Krucoff, the noted New York blogger who got fired from his Conde Nast freelancing job because of a Gawker post of which he was the source. On Young Manhattanite, Krucoff admitted to submitting fake Gawker Stalker sightings (Kate Hudson, Natalie Portman, Tim Robbins) to see if Gawker would publish them. They did.

From Mr. Krucoff:
... [I]t just goes to show you that anyone can take a guess with these celebrity sightings and it'd probably be right. Or wrong. It doesn't matter either way. ... Consumer-generated garbage in, poorly-designed garbage out.
Now this isn’t to say that I, as a map-obsessed blogger, don’t enjoy Gawker Stalker. It’s just that you aren’t supposed to take it too seriously. It’s entertainment, which is Gawker’s mission anyway -- something Gawker does quite well. So gawk all you want, just consider that not everything is going to be the pure honest truth. And that’s a good rule for many things on the Internet, like, locally, DCist’s Overheard in D.C., which piggy-backs on Overheard in New York.
>> "The Fallacy That Bloggers Have Replaced Real News Hounds" [FT]
>> "Gawker Stoker: A Bad Case of Wisteria" [Young Manhattanite]

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

SPRING: Tortured Frogs and Turtles

DON'T BE TRICKED BY THE COLORS in this photo. They are real. I snapped this photo last April while on a road trip through Indiana. I was hiking with some friends in the beautiful hills outside Bloomington, near the famed limestone quarries. A storm was approaching ahead, but it was sunny in the foreground as the trees and bushes were beginning to bloom. Our odd weather in the Washington area as of late (wasn't it supposed to snow last night?) got me thinking back to last year's transitionary weather in Indiana. As Grace's Poppies wrote on Tuesday:
Moody and unpredictable, proudly displaying her mean streak, spring is here. ... It reminds me of malicious little kids who torture frogs and turtles when they're bored.
If only our local weather authorities could learn to better interpret spring's mood swings. They can't be regulated by medicine, no matter how hard we try. Can there be natural beauty in torturing frogs and turtles?

INTERNET: I'm Giving the Bus a Bad Name

I LOOKED AT MY BLOG'S SITE METER and discovered that some inquiring mind had stumbled across The Washington Oculus while Googling for "tips for traveling on intercity buses in the us." Who ever that person was, they read my post from this past December when my travel plans to visit my parents back in Michigan got botched. (I had wanted to take my time getting to the Midwest, so I had planned on taking a leisurely overnight Amtrak train to Chicago. But due to a computer glitch, my seat on the sold-out Capital Limited wasn't secure, so I was forced to take Greyhound.)

That was perhaps the most hellish trip I've been on ever since being seasick on an overloaded ferry between Santorini and Mykynos during very, very rough seas on the Aegean. So if you have time to waste and want to know what it's like being stuck in the Pittsburgh bus terminal at well past 3 a.m., do read my account. To the poor soul trying to figure out how to travel in the U.S. by intercity bus, good luck.
>> "Intercity Travel Tips" [The Washington Oculus]

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

LINKS: Pete's Holiday, Buses and Nuclear Death

Editor’s Note: I’ve gotten some positive response to the way I constructed the previous post of general links. I think I’ll continue this format, or at least experiment with it for a while. If you have thoughts on that, let me know.

WELCOME WONKETTE, FISHBOWL AND DCIST readers. I’ve gotten links from D.C.’s top blogs the past two days. If you like what you see, please, by all means, stick around.
>> "Metro Section: Good Luck With That" [Wonkette]
>> "Too Close for Comfort" [Fishbowl DC]
>> "Fishbowl Has Our Back" [DCist]

I FOUND THIS QUOTE from London’s Mirror unintentionally funny:
Kate [Moss] thinks Pete [Doherty] needs to be rescued. They have been secretly in touch for a couple of months, but the holiday was still a total surprise for him. She's really worried that he's going off the rails and feels a quiet, romantic break away from prying eyes is exactly what he needs.
Wait, Kate Moss thinks Pete Doherty isn't doing rails any more? (Cocaine, right?) I think a number of magistrate judges in England would beg to differ.
>>Kate and Pete Head for France” [The Bosh via City Rag]
Earlier:The Ebb and Flow of Doherty's Death Cycle” [The Washington Oculus]

THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA'S government website is full of wonderful things if you ever have the time to go exploring. Rock Creek Rambler writes a post about how the Department of Public Works' winter street sweeping hiatus has come to an end, which drew a comment from a reader name Matt who wished he would have known about the suspension of sweeping-related parking restrictions. RCR responds:
what, you don't read the DC Public Works web site religiously?
I've always found a gold mine of good information at What about D.C.'s graffiti blaster? Got hazardous waste? How do you report illegal dumping? (This is quite important. My great aunt's neighbor witnessed work crews dump paint and chemicals in the alleyway behind her house -- chemicals which I had actually walked through to get to Auntie L's house thinking it was just typical alley runoff. That's not good for my shoes, nor is is safe for the Chesapeake.)
>> "Street Cleaning Resumes" [Rock Creek Rambler]

I THINK I’LL NEED to re-read Felix Salmon’s recent analysis of a March 16 Slate article about buses. In it, Salmon picks apart the way Dr. Austan Goolsbee of the University of Chicago analyzed the idea of incentive pay for bus drivers to be more efficient at what they do, like take these Purdue University students to class (above). Goolsbee takes a look at some program in Santiago, Chile, and other stuff. Like I said, I need to re-read Salmon's analysis and Goolsbee's article. But in the Slate article, Goolsbee takes Chicago bus drivers to task for not taking shortcuts to get around traffic jams:
So, if you drive the route every day, you learn the shortcuts. You know that if it backs up from the Buckingham Fountain all the way to McCormick Place, you're better off taking the surface streets and getting back onto Lake Shore Drive a few miles north.

A lot of buses, however, wait in the traffic jams. I have always wondered about that: Why don't the bus drivers use the shortcuts? Surely they know about them -- they drive the same route every day, and they probably avoid the traffic when they drive their own cars.
Now, as a regular bus rider, I want to shift the scenario to Washington. Suppose you're a driver of a No. 30/32/34/35/36 bus, the crosstown line that is notoriously off schedule where buses have a tendency to bunch. There's a huge traffic jam in Georgetown on your way into Downtown Washington, so you jump over to 28th Street (which community activists probably wouldn't like) to bypass the mess in front of Smith Point and Third Edition. What happens to the passengers who are waiting at M Street NW and Wisconsin Avenue to board the bus? I guess to Dr. Goolsbee, they don't matter.
>> "Report Report Report 1: Buses" [Felix Salmon]
>>Where the Buses Run on Time” [Slate]

IN OUR POST-9/11 REALITY, us folk living in the East Coast's more prominent cities, like New York and Washington, have to think about the possibility of imminent death by nuclear annihilation. It's the risk we take to enjoy gawking at Butterstick at the National Zoo, gobble Bourbon Chicken samples in the Union Station food court ("Yummy, yummy!") or in the case of New Yorkers, spotting Kate Hudson chowing down on a muffin on E. 54th Street looking like a "total rock-sleaze ho-bag" (Andrew Krucoff, you trickster!).

So looking at The New York Times article published Tuesday about the discovery of an untouched Cold War fallout shelter in the Manhattan approach to the Brooklyn Bridge, you have to be certainly happy that our nation was never forced to use such shelters -- or for Manhattanites, forced to consume the estimated 352,000 crackers stored in the bridge's shelter. But The Gutter draws attention to an article on Archinect, about what would actually happen if someone exploded a nuclear device in a large city. Read at your own peril. I think I'd rather be surprised by the flash of light and the elevated temperatures. At least I have thick walls in my apartment in the case I sleep through such an attack.
>> "Inside the Brooklyn Bridge, a Whiff of the Cold War" [NYT]
>>Archinect to City: Drop Dead” [The Gutter]
>>Manhattan Nuclear Nightmare” [Archinect]

LINKS: Spires, Safes and a Tall Chinese Woman

FIRST OFF ON THIS TUESDAY, I want to wish my great aunt a happy 87th birthday. Auntie L is a proud native Washingtonian (once the grand marshal in the Palisades July Fourth parade), and has the accent -- and stories -- to prove it.

GREAT NEWS for fans of Chicago’s skyline. Santiago Calatrava’s Fordham Spire, which would be the tallest free-standing structure in North America, got the green light late last week from Chicago’s planning board. Next up, the City Council.

But A Daily Dose of Architecture notes that another highly anticipated Chicago structure, Skidmore Owings Merrill’s 7 South Dearborn is having financing trouble. Getting approval for the Fordham Spire might be one thing. Financing the future lakeshore landmark is another.
>>Chicago Biz” [A Daily Does of Architecture]

MOST PEOPLE in Washington are quite aware of the jumbo slice litter that can scar the streetscape of 18th Street NW in Adams Morgan. What about 18th Street down the hill near R Street? Apparently, safes either fall from the sky (Wile E. Coyote-style) or are dumped carelessly on the curb by insensitive residents of Corcoran House (my theory). You know who you are.
>>Safe on the Sidewalk” [How Now Brown Pau]

I KNOW ST. PATRICK'S DAY is long since dead and gone, but I just stumbled upon Tom's "Suck of the Irish" post at Unrequited Narcissism. It's a must read in advance of next year's beer-swilling nonsense.
>> "Suck of the Irish" [Unrequited Narcissism]

IT’S SUCH A SHAME. When I was in New York on vacation staying in the general vicinity of Gramercy Park and Madison Square, Shake Shack in Madison Square was still closed for the season. Well, it opened up on Monday. Blast! Next time.
>>Shake Shack Open, Line-Free” [The Eater]

ATTENTION MATTWDC. If you read my blog, please know I read and enjoy your blog. Others do too. You say:
I've been kind of bored with blogging lately and not really convinced that I have anything of much value to add to the conversation. Maybe it's that this blog has never had much of a focus, or maybe that I'm not much of a thinker or writer.
You describe yourself as a faceless bureaucrat living in Ward 3. Sometimes, it’s the faceless bureaucrats who are the more sane and thoughtful people living among us. I hope you continue writing.
>>Monday, March 20, 2006” [MattWDC]

SHANGHAIIST RELAYS some Reuters photos of the world’s tallest woman, who lives in Anhui Province. Yao Defen is nearly 8 feet tall. Sadly, it looks likes she’s been tricked into performing in traveling circuses.
During her national tours, she fell several times during the performances, and injured several parts of her body. Her boss, a person identified only as Mr. Qui, refused her request to be taken to a hospital and forced her to continue the performing.
Sad, but not all that surprising.
>>Yao Defen, the Tallest Woman in the World” [Shanghaiist]
>> More Photos [JSChina]

Monday, March 20, 2006

SOFT DRINKS: A Grab for Tab

I'VE ALWAYS ASSOCIATED the soft drink Tab with one of my high school social studies teachers. I can't remember exactly if the teachers' lounge had Tab in the soda machine (sorry, I should say "pop machine," as I attended high school in the Midwest) but if it did, I'm sure he used a lot of quarters over the years to get his caffeinated elixir. A friend's mom, also a teacher, drank (maybe still drinks) Tab with religious fervor. Aside from those devoted Tab-fanatics, the soft drink -- which reached its height of popularity during the first or second season of "Family Ties" -- has lost its market share. (But apparently we journalists are big Tab consumers too, Ben McGrath wrote in the New Yorker earlier this year.)

That's why it surprised me that Tab has tried to make a popular comeback in the form of a revamped energy drink, masterminded by Coca Cola. Look here at Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas at a Tab promotional event during New York Fashion Week. She looks like she loves it, don't you think? As The People We Love to Hate wrote a while back:
I think Fergie is the perfect person to sponsor a soft drink that no one has drank since 1982.
I actually got to try said energy drink and well, I can't say I enjoyed any aspect of the new and improved Tab. I'm sure the Tab-fanatics out there shun the new product too. Tab-fanatics don't want to be cool. Tab drinkers are what they are, no matter how puzzling their soft drink choice might be to the non-Tab drinker. Coca Cola’s dragging of the Tab brand onto super-caffeinated bandwagon to hang out with the Red Bulls of the world just might alienate Tab's über-devoted buyers, the overworked high school teachers and journalists of the world.

SO WHY AM I WASTING BANDWIDTH ON TAB? I was picking up some essentials earlier this evening at Woodley Park's overpriced convenience store, where Tab happens to be sold. A twentysomething guy in front of me had filled his shopping basket with three six-packs of Tab and a wheel of some sort of white cheese, I think Havarti. That’s it: Dairy products and pinkish soda. Mind you, the Tab was bought just before 10 p.m., when the store closes. I'm not sure if there are rules about buying Tab considering its ridiculed status among soft drinks, but I think one guideline might be that you can only purchase Tab late at night, when few people are going to witness your purchase. I think it's a worthy theory.

Any thoughts from the peanut gallery? If you were addicted to Tab, would you be embarrassed to purchase it in view of others? If you buy Tab on a regular basis, are you proud of your purchase or do you hide it?

>> "Don't Phunk With my Tab?" [The People We Love to Hate]
>> "Tab Scare" [New Yorker]
>> "Tab Energy Branding: Will It Work?" [Business Pundit]

DUPONT CIRCLE: Jefferson Place Facades

I'M NOT SURE what's been happening the past few months, but I've been getting awfully attached to old buildings that I have various connections to. You're all well aware of the (temporarily) successful fight to save the Heurich House (and my great-great grandfather's woodcarvings). I've discussed issues related to facadism using the Eye Street NW townhouse my grandfather grew up in as an example. I probably bored you with storytelling related to the historic Collegiate Gothic structure in Ann Arbor that houses my old college paper, The Michigan Daily, which is about to be renovated.

And now, this weekend, I decided to pay a visit to a rowhouse I used to work in on Jefferson Place NW, a structure that's now in the process of having its innards scooped out for the Jefferson Row condos. It's not that 1830 Jefferson Place was a particularly historic building. But walking by and taking a peek inside, it's sort of sad to see that the place -- all four floors of it -- has been entirely demolished. The narrow staircase no longer exists. A ladder for construction workers to navigate the structural bracing is all that's there. But according to Jefferson Row's condo marketing materials, it says:
Each exquisitely detailed condominium features the authentic, carefully crafted touches so rarely seen in today’s homes. And all of the historic details are complemented by superior modern conveniences and state-of-the-art extras.
I guess the "historic details" are on the exterior. But then another area of the promo sites says the condos blend "the allure of historic charm ..." with modern living. So at least there is some honesty in the marketing of the buildings' historic nature.

The reality at the current time is that you can see clear straight through the back into the alleyway -- an alleyway I might add that has always been particularly dirty, home to many rats and rat skeletons, plus fragrant garbage juices that flowed down the narrow passage between the back of Jefferson Place and the strip of M Street NW businesses between 18th and 19th streets, including Ozio, Sign of the Whale and those two strip clubs. They'll make great neighbors for the new condo owners. Try pulling your car out of the back parking area. It's a pain. Getting out of the alleyway when delivery trucks block the exit on both ends is pretty troublesome too. And 19th Street's traffic flow is just great, espeically during rush hour, or when Rumors is part of a sponsored Golden Triangle pub crawl.

But enough of that. You can't really beat the location of Jefferson Row. So close to Well Dressed Burrito. Anyhow, I always used to be wary of sentimentality. But with all of these buildings and my memories of them, I guess I can't help but be a little sentimental.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

SUNDAY WALK: Cross-Potomac Commute

was nice enough to walk to the office today. Because of Rock Creek Park and the Potomac River, there is no direct way to go from the Woodley Park area in the District to Court House area of Arlington, so I cut through Rock Creek and Montrose parks and through Georgetown on 31st Street NW and the Key Bridge. It's about a four-mile walking commute.

So I made a Wayfaring map of the walk and posted photos of Montrose Park and 31st Street NW on my Flickr site.

DINNER: Asparagus, Yellow Peppers and Tomatoes

MY COOKING IS GENERALLY GOVERNED by instinct, not by recipe. And more often than not, is dictated by what leftovers I have and what random stuff I have in my kitchen cabinets and the necessity to use up what was once fresh food before it spoils.

So last night, I realized that I needed use up some salad greens, some asparagus that was cooked earlier in the week and a yellow pepper that had been purchased nearly a week earlier.

The result, photo here:

You need ...
A half a bunch of precooked asparagus
One yellow pepper, chopped to your liking
One can of diced tomatoes with basil

Throw the uncooked yellow pepper in a wok, stir fry for a few minutes. Then throw the rest in. Add a generous dash of tarragon. Serve on a plate and if you want, add some Bulgarian feta on the side. Eat.

I served it with salad greens with yellow pepper, Bulgarian feta, dill dressed with olive oil and rice vinegar.