Sunday, July 7, 2013

Old Jews Telling Jokes and L'Artusi Restaurant

Another hot, sunny day. We head uptown to the Westfield Theatre on 43rd Street to see Old Jews Telling Jokes, a stage show based on the website.

While we're waiting for the ticket office to offer rush tickets, we wander down 9th Avenue and Lynda grabs a Roti Canai at the Bali Nusa Indah restaurant, which claims to be the only Indonesian restaurant in Manhattan. She was excited to see Gudeg Yogya on the menu, but both that dish and the curry sauce with the Roti were a bit too sweet. 

Back to the theatre, and the show is a riot. Non-stop jokes, with the occasional music-hall song and a video backdrop to set the scene. We had good seats - because the ticket office didn't offer us the rush tickets - so were able to see the subtle inflections and hear all the mutterings. The cast were excellent and the crowd seemed to lap it up - especially the jokes involving yiddish. 

As is my habit, I snapped a few pics of interesting buildings. There's old New York and Future New York and both with faux options. 

On the way back we stopped at Hybird in the Chelsea Markets to try their truffled egg dumplings, as mentioned in this month's New York magazine. The combo of fried chicken drumsticks and truffled egg dumplings had just got a positive write-up in an article and the shop had a big poster out the front saying so. They were unbelievably good - 5 dumplings for $7, a moist egg mix in a dumpling fried in light batter with a big black truffle taste. Apparently they were the hit at the owner's flash Buddakan restaurant, and they've been relaunched as fast food.

Keep the standards up, we went to L'Artusi Restaurant in the evening, a short walk into Greenwich Village. It's an airy restaurant on two floors, tables crammed a little close for our neighbours' intimate conversations. The menu caters for sharing, with medium-sized dishes that blur the Italian antipasti, prima platti, secondo platti sequence. 

The wine list is curious - a big hardcover book detailing all-Italian wines, listed by region with maps and guides which suggest the appropriate foods of the region that are enhanced by the wines. I guess the theory is that Italian cuisine is so developed that the wines of the region match exactly the foods of the region - for example one drinks wines from the Veneto with seafood served with squid-ink pasta or polenta. 

We shared two dishes - a wagyu Steak Tartare and a "English Pea" ravioli - which were excellent and lip-smacking. Lynda followed with the charred octopus with (ahem) squid-ink pasta and I had the roast quail - a single partially-boned tiny bird cooked to perfection but in danger of being swamped by a sweet goulash. 

By that time there was no room for sweets, but Lynda tried a recommended dessert wine and I had the tasting Grappe - three shots of different grappas for contrast. Good Italian coffee and the most authentic macchiato I've had here (most places think it's a tiny latte). 

We were feeling sophisticated without being able to pronounce it, so adjourned to Hudson Bar and Books for drinkies and cigars. The TV was silently playing On Her Majesty's Secret Service (last time it was Skyfall) so there's a bit of a theme with the mood wallpaper.

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