Sushi, Stomp, & Something Sweet

Love walking around the City! Shake Shack,
we’ll come back for you next tme…fo sho! 

So we started out our NYC Operation Birthday Date by driving into the city, and during our hour plus commute from Locust Valley to Manhattan, we debrief and deflate, one of the gifts of marrying your best friend. I still remember my high school English teacher Mr. Quick referring to this human gift as a “sounding board,” surely a reference to some famous poem or literature. [Will look it up when my energy supply rises back to normal levels.]

Earlier in the day, I simply asked hubby to please cooperate with tonight’s plans. It was my “Follow the Leader” after all. And after a fashion crisis (yes, guys have those too,) changing from casual to less casual shirt, and then from his runners back to his dress shoes, we are on the road, in our Honda Accord with no a.c. Hubs tried to fix it, but there must be another leak since the freon only lasted a day or two. Nothing like natural cooling with the windows rolled down and the wind blowing through your hair and the scents of New York floating into your air space.  You know—that familiar combination—smog of taxi cabs, cigarette smoke of pedestrians, and ethnic food of all sorts. 
I hop out near Bryant Park to pick up our show tickets from StubHub on 40th Street and Broadway. “Looks like the vendor upgraded your tickets!” the woman behind the counter says as she peeks inside the envelope. “You’re now in Row T of the orchestra!”

“Wow! Thanks!” I say as she hands me the goods. As I walk back to the car, I realize that we were originally in Row U. And U comes after T. Hmmmm. I guess one row closer counts as an upgrade.

Back in the car, I hand over the envelope. “Happy Birthday!”

“Now?” 

“Sure. Why not? Show starts in an hour.”

Hubby reads the ticket and raises his eyebrows, “Aren’t we on a spending freeze?”

“You should know me by now, I’m the queen of good deals. Let’s park and get over there so we can maybe grab a bite to eat.”

“So no dinner reservation?”

“I moved the reservation to after the show, but we should grab a quick bite so we’re not starving.”

Originally, I had hoped to take hubby to see “The Amazing Spiderman” but it doesn’t open until July 3rd. Then I considered taking him to New Jersey for the NBA draft, but as far as I could tell, the players don’t actually play a game. I didn’t want to pay $35 a ticket to hear a roll call. So then I started thinking, how about a show. I even considered Spiderman on Broadway to make up for the my recent sabotage, but the tickets run over $200. That is definitely out of the budget. Then I found four tickets remained for STOMP, an off-Broadway percussion show, for under $40 each, and I scooped up two of those babies before Siri could say Rumplestiltskin

Hubby is smiling. He loves music. And he has “learn how to play the drums” on his bucket list. I figured the show could both entertain and inspire him!

We find free parking by Central Park. *Little nugget for driving into the city: after 7:00PM, there’s free parking nearly everywhere. It was 7:00PM on the dot when we leave our car. We jump on the N-line and ride downtown to 8th Street. As I gaze around, I see a guy wearing a shirt that reads “God’s City. Our city.” Cool.

“Hey look!” I point to the subway ad above. It’s my turn to be inspired. “That’s Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee’s newest book Mortal!” Yeah for authors I actually know! And admire! 

Even as I think it, hubby says, “Someday it’ll read, Rajdeep Paulus’ 2nd book in her …”

“Not so fast.” Not sure I believe it’ll happen that way. But definitly fun to dream! So thankful for a hubs who dreams bigger than me!

We’re two minutes from the show doors and deciding on what to eat when we pass several tattoo places, a karaoke bar, and then a sushi place. And then another sushi place.
“Sushi?” I offer. 

“Sounds good.” Hubby turns us and we walk in as I look at my phone.”It’s 7:30.”

“We have to eat fast.” Hubby thinks it’ll work. Wouldn’t be a NYC date without a little tension.

Our waiter doesn’t even get a chance to tell us his name when I blurt out, “We have fifteen minutes. Do you think we can get our food really fast? We have to get to a show.” Deja vu?

“Sure. Of course.” Sweet tall white guy is fumbling with our chopsticks and telling us how to work through the menus at lightening speed. “Do you know what you want?”

I say, “Philli roll” without glancing down. 

And then hubby spots a picture with tiny flames next to it. “And this hot and spicy fire dragon roll.” Yum!! Bring on the spice!

“And…” 

“I think two are enough.” Hubby closes his menu.

“Can you add a spicy tuna roll?” I throw in as the waiter turns toward the kitchen.

Cute waiter is off and running, and we crack each other up at the table as we debate how we’ll shove all this sushi down our throats in a matter of minutes. Hubs plans to juggle them above and let them fall in between his lips. I’m leaning toward the scoop and swallow method. And the platter arrives within minutes. Double Yeah!

And I said I would never be one of
those people who photographed my food…
I make my wasabi soy sauce mix on my little square plate and hubby makes his on his big plate. I clear my throat and point to the different plate sizes. He laughs. Oops. Hubs takes so long to make his perfectly proportioned sauce, I’m already three pieces of sushi up on him.

“Babe. It’s 7:42. Chop chop.” Literally. And his chopsticks skills outshine mine any day, so he makes up for my headstart as my next piece of sushi falls apart, and I cannot recover it with my fumbling wood-ware. Where’s a fork when you need one?

Hubby orders a Lichi soda, yummy but a little fizzy for my tastes. I’m washing down spicy mayonaise-smothered sushi dipped in extra hot soy sauce with gulps of Pinot. No time to sip today. 

At 7:49, we ask our smiling waiter for the check while asking him for directions to the Orpheum Theater. 

“Oh yeah. Less than fifteen minutes away. Right around the corner.”
“Fifteen?” We have a lot less than fifteen minutes to work with.
“I’m kidding. It’s like less than two minutes away. I was joking around.” Yeah. We don’t have time for jokes. But we do have time for…

“What’s your name? I want to give a shout out to you in my Blog tomorrow!”

“Oh wow! Cool. It’s John.” His excitement tells me he thinks I’m some world-renown food critic or a big time reporter. Sorry John. Just Masala Mama here trying to swim her way into the writing world. But still so happy to give a shout out to “JOHN!!”—our Speedy Smiling Sushi Server of the night! Will definitely be back! And hubby says he’s going for the Saki next time. So keep it chilled for us! :)

We make it to our seats with two minutes to spare. No crazy cab drive. No sprint across the finish. Just a hope skip and jump away, just as John had promised. Hindi music is playing over the speakers while the ushers continue to seat folks. This is fun!

The venue is very cozy. Not a bad seat in the house really. The stage is smaller than I imagined, but the spectacular sounds more than made up for it. From start to finish, Stomp delivers. And the funnest part is the unexpected humor. I won’t give anymore away, because I hate spoilers myself. But if you’re considering off Broadway, Stomp has this New York writer’s two thumbs up!

As we walk out of the show, I tell hubby we need to find 840 Broadway for the restaurant. I suggest we walk and we’ll find it. 

Hubby turns to ask a guy leaning against a store front. “Excuse me sir, but do you know which way Broadway is?” 

“You’re on it.” Well, that was easy. As we stroll over, talking about the show highlights, my phone buzzes with a text. Then two. 

“We’re in the city to crash your date. Where are you?” the first one reads.

It’s from my friend Mahwish; she and her hubby were babysitting the girls tonight. Now normally this would raise a red flag, but Sun’s mom is now at our house, and the girls are in bed. So her hubby spontaneously kept driving till they crossed a bridge into the city. How fun! 

I call her up and assure her that we are thrilled to upgrade our date to a double date if they’re game for dessert. I’ll just call and change the reservation to table for four.

Up to this point, hubby thinks we’re getting Brazilian barbeque or Argentinian Steak. When we arrive at the doors of Max Brenner and he reads the word “chocolate” about ten times before he opens the door, he says it before I say it. “This part of the date is for you, isn’t it?”

“You like chocolate too!” I justify. “But yeah. Ever since I started blogging about chocolate, so many people have mentioned this place to me. So, consider it research!” Followed by guilty giggle. 

And we end our evening with a lovely assortment of dark chocolate fondue and ice coffee. With nibbles from our friends’ orders of a banana nutella crepe and waffle fries dusted with cocoa. Everything is scrumptious and finger-licking good. Have to kiss hubby to save him the embarassment from walking around with chocolate on his lips. Hey. Just trying to be helpful! 

Nothing like a date night in the city!  A night filled with food, fun, and friends. Oh! What a night! 

So what about you? Had a date night recently that ended with chocolate? Or friends dropping in and making it a party!?! 

Happy almost Birthday Hubs! Love you so much!!

**If you LIKED this POST, you MIGHT also like:
“A Chocolate-covered Sunset”
or
“Operation Sabotage Spidey”
or
“In Search of Waterfalls: Years 8-13”

Dive Into Another Waterfall: