(Roger Japupnik admires Padma's choice of fish)
Queens born toll booth operator Roger Japupnik just happened to be at the exact same locations as mentioned in last Sunday’s New York Times article “Sunday Routine,” a day in the life of Top Chef host Padma Lakshimi. It’s not creepy. It’s just a coincidence. He just happened to be going where she was going. For instance, the Lucille Roberts on 14th and 5th.
PADMA: When you’re in my line of work, you need every minute you can get on the treadmill. If I get to the gym at 9, it’s not busy, but if you get there at 10, it is. If it’s a light day, I stay 45 minutes. If it’s a leg day, it’s more like two hours. I do squats, I do lunges — I work every part of my body.
Roger Japupnik: “I’m a real gym rat there. I go… what’s a lot? Twice? I don’t know. Toll boof operating is taxing so I need to stay in shape. Lots of cardio there. You know, the treadmill. Leg work. I’d say about two hours just doing legs. I space it out though. Read a People magazine in between reps. Maybe watch other people doing there leg exercises there.”
“Whoa! Is that Ms. Padma? Look at that. At my gym!”
PADMA: Then I come home and I take a shower and I usually go to one or two markets. I go to either Kalustyan’s or I go to Dean & DeLuca or I’ll go down to Chinatown.
Roger Japupnik: “The thing about living in Queens there is, yeah melting pot and all that, but where am I gonna get my hands on spices? Like real ethnic spices? I got to go all the way down to Soho Dean & Deluca to buy a decent, authentic ethnic spice you know? By the way, you ever notice how many mirrors are in that place? You can spot people around any corner.”
“Wow, Padma Lakshimi again! I don’t know what to say? This must be psychic awareness or something. The web of human consciousness, and things like that.”
PADMA: If it’s in the summer, I usually just roll a blanket in my backpack and go to Central Park. When I was little, we lived in Elmhurst, and we would ride the subway in — that was our ritual. My mom would take me to the park, she’d get me a pretzel, she’d have my face painted and we’d listen to music. So it’s almost a very nostalgic pleasure for me.
Roger Japupnik: “Central Park. Wow. A very special place for me. Almost, nostalgia like. I can remember, you know… music and special things like that. People eating on blankets like that. Mommy’s buying pretzel snacks while they listen to the music and sit on the blankets there. Watching- watching the squirrels with my tiny binoculars.”
“Hey, oh my God it’s Ms. Padma again! She’s beaming like headlights in this cold air. She ought to put a sweater on.”
PADMA: I put on some crisp, clean pajamas, make my bed and get back in it. I have these Turnbull & Asser pajamas, they’re really very WASPy, tweedy kind of plaid men’s pajamas. I make a big pot of tea, in one of those big Chinese teapots I got in Chinatown, the white ones with the goldfish on it. I’ll make what’s called a bed picnic. I have a big California King bed.
Roger Japupnik: “I guess a lot of folks are getting that Lasik. The eye surgery thing there? I don’t trust doctors much, but it’s a problem. I lose my contacts sometimes. They just fall outta my eyes like if my allergies act up from say, ethnic spices, or the crisp feel of tweed pajamas in a hamper. Or from laying underneath a California King bed for several hours without moving.”
“Wait a sec… are those Ms. Padma’s feet? I mean they are brown and everything, and they look the same as the plastic molds of her feet I carry in my bag everywhere I go…”