Finally! Sunshine is to be had! We were treated to a sunny afternoon in Vienna today – so I snuck out for a lunch break with an Austrian friend….to take advantage of the sunshine, we booked a table for the Albertina terrace, run by the Do & Co restaurant and catering “conglomerate”.
With the springtime comes the advent of the spargel (asparagus) season – and something to be celebrated both in Austria and in Germany, though I believe it’s true across most of Europe. In general, people are quite mindful of when fruits and vegetables come in to season, and in general, we typically don’t find particular fruits and vegetables when they’re not. And for whatever reason, the notion of asparagus season has always stuck with me after having read Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” as a symbol of spring and warm days ahead – it really is the gateway to the bounty of spring, summer and fall produce.
All of the sudden asparagus pops up all over the menu here in Vienna – the purists eat it steamed with butter and breadcrumbs or hollandaise, sometimes with some steamed new potatoes on the side. More elaborate dressings include ham, smoked salmon, or additional sauces. And the even more complicated start to feature asparagus as a main ingredient.
Today at lunch I went the complicated route – after splitting a lovely but light appetizer of light fried artichoke hearts and salted piquillos, I ordered the asparagus risotto – topped with two grilled shrimp and crunchy parmesan. That plus sunshine equaled a perfect afternoon getaway.
I almost didn’t mind when it started raining tonight…again.