It was brought to my attention that Cow Do was celebrating its 10th iteration, and I hadn't made any of them, despite my professed enthusiasms for beef and red wine, the foci of the event, and my respect for the organizer, Gaucho100K. To be fair to me, I'd always had things to do that prevented me from attending before. 0827 2V 184 WAS NWK 0920 1222 I was parsimonious and took the cheap train that doesn't stop at EWR; instead I took a regional to NWK and the bus back to the airport, which always saves you about $4, but given I was on the slow train I saved $20 or more, and there were plenty of seats (the faster ones get crowded), and there's actual but slow functional wi-fi that keeps you entertained enough. Being an oldish person, I continue to be surprised by the relative on-timeness of Amtrak - it used to be notoriously unreliable, something that they remedied I think the way the airlines do, massive schedule padding. Anyhow, we came in right on time. And being an oldish person, I was confused by the asymmetry of Penn Station, so when I went to where I thought the Raymond bus lanes should be, a blank wall greeted me, so I 180ed it and found that I was at the Market St. bus lanes; my instincts had taken me in the right direction but down the wrong corridor - there are two that go to Market St. but only one that goes to Raymond. The signs were pretty useless, because they were placed too high for me to see. The 62 bus now has luggage racks. Still $1.50, one of the great bargains, and it runs every 10 minutes and gets you to the airport from downtown in under half an hour. The main source of savings is that you don't have to pay the Airtrain fee. I couldn't check in: it was a combined CM/UA itinerary, on an M fare, which is instant upgrade on Copa for 1Ks, but not on United, where I went into the regular queue. That might not have been all of it. The agent I went to looked puzzledly at my record and started asking pointed questions, particularly whether I'd paid the Argentine reciprocity fee, which struck me peculiar as that was Copa's responsibility for finding out. It took me a good twenty minutes to establish my bona fides and then get my documents copied (a walk to a hidden office down at the end of the corridor) and something that has happened to me before. Eventually I was good to go and went to the nearest security, where despite having PreCheck I as often I do got the random swab test. I doubt it's random, mostly because the TSA doesn't know what random means. I think all evidence indicates I've started being profiled again. Two entries into the US from Amsterdam and one from Thailand this year, I suspect that may be what it is. I was midway between Gallagher's and the Oyster Bar. Both are pale imitations of the real thing, but the food is all pretty decent, especially at the maligned Gallagher's. My gate was in the far concourse, though, near the latter, and that coupled with the prospect of several Argentine beef feasts on the horizon pushed me to the O-Bar. I seated myself at the bar, where a preternaturally cheery young lady greeted me. A Sam fulfilled one of my requirements; a plate of cherrystones (I like clams as much as oysters, plus they have more flavor, plus they are cheaper) and one of oyster stew satisfied another. The cherrystones were much smaller than at the real Grand Central, though just as fresh. The stew, though, was a sad if not pale imitation of the real thing: six tiny oysters, a not shellfishy enough and not rich enough chowder with a little tang of tomato and stuff, lots and lots of paprika, and a raft of toast. I think they got a pan roast recipe out of a cookbook, cheaped out on some of the ingredients, and sold it as stew. Reasonably quick and reasonably priced, though, and served with a good attitude. I left more tip than usual. Still had plenty of time to ensure that the house Bourbon at the club is still Wild Turkey 80, especially as our flight was posted as 20 minutes late.