For my birthday, Conrad gave me two big gifts: 2 tickets to see Avenue Q, and dinner reservations at a restaurant on our “to eat at” list, Mermaid Inn.
Well, after two intense dramas, Avenue Q was Broadway redemption. I can’t remember the last time wet laughed so hard, for so long. It definitely wasn’t the all-girls comedy show we saw, that’s for sure. No, this cast of 6 was phenomenal. If you don’t know, Avenue Q stars puppets. It’s a Sesame Street for adults, if you will. There’s a gay puppet, a slutty puppet, a porn-loving puppet – and that’s just the beginning. You can see more of the puppeteers than I expected, and they themselves acted as complementary roles to their puppet characters. The voices were amazing — the singing voices, and also the ability to seemingly split their personality and perform the voice of another character under someone else’s control. It was slanderous and rowdy and fun and escapist. If you haven’t seen it yet — do. It closes on September 13!!
We had late dinner reservations, which meant we didn’t have to rush. So we got to hop on the bus (which I love) and headed up to our old neighborhood. Much to our delight, today was Amsterdam Avenue’s street festival. Yay! The street is closed to traffic, vendors park their booths were normally there are cars and delivery trucks. Smells of roasting corn mingle with Thai noodle dishes and watermelon snacks. Hawkers sell hats, jewelry, t-shirts, kids clothing, rugs, sheets, socks … truly a little bit of everything, and always a surprise. Last year I found the greatest pair of Indian-style handmade shoes. Sadly, I’ve never found him again, but I keep hoping we do! Somehow Conrad managed to find a weird locking bit of some kind or other that he HAD to have (naturally, he just needed it this week — what are the odds it was right there on the table in front of his eyes… ).
Naturally, after strolling around in the sunshine, we were quite thirsty. And it being only 5 or so, a little too hungry to wait until 7pm dinner reservations. Hark, did someone say mussels and a great beer at a newly opened B Cafe West? Red curry and coconut milk meld together to make Mussels Malay Laksa. It sounds good, and it’s better than it sounds. Plus the great Belgian beers were served each in their own brewer’s glass, which I love. So yeah, we’d go there again. Only one problem. Our lazy appetizer snack was pretty filling.
We walked around a bit to work our appetite back into a frenzy (or at least fool ourselves into thinking it was). Mermaid Inn is a fish shack gone fancy. We started by sharing a crab gazpacho that was light and lovely. For dinner, we shared a Sunday pasta special — a version of their normal “pasta with salad on top.” It was a tossed with little necks, mussels, calamari (including the tentacle ends) and perfectly cooked baby scallops and is topped with just the right amount of peppery arugula. Thankfully, Mermaid Inn doesn’t have a dessert menu — but to make up for it, they give each patron a little cup of chocolate pudding to end on a sweet note.
What a great birthday! And as every Leo knows, any excuse to drag it out beyond the actual day just makes the celebration that much sweeter.