Dites-Moi Pourquoi

The food: fresh, seasonal fare in NYC

The story:

During a recent spring visit to New York, E and I ate a refreshing artichoke, caper, Reggiano and arugula salad (above) and a couldn’t-be-more-spring-like pizza (below) featuring ramp pesto and roasted ramps at Co. (It was beautiful, and made with the chewy, tangy Co. crust I love, but it was ultimately too oniony for my palate.)

At Market Table, a bright, airy new-to-us West Village restaurant specializing in seasonal food,

we tried the crunchy fried calamari over guacamole and wished for more guacamole,

enjoyed the classic blue cheese/avocado/bacon combination of flavours in a Cobb salad:

and liked how the Cobb’s richness contrasted with the chunky, zucchini-laced, piquantly flavoured falafel plate:

Between spring-inspired meals, E and I caught a performance of South Pacific at Lincoln Center, a show I’ve had antipathic feelings about since I was a child in the 1960’s, when my mother, in her first and last act of stage motherism, encouraged me to audition for the touring production playing in Toronto.

I learned the simple opening song “Dites-Moi, Pourquoi” with my mother’s coaching, but, paralyzed by stage fright, and also, I think, by a reluctance to play onstage a part for which I was, perhaps, too uniquely qualified, I wept and wailed, refused to go try out, and have avoided the show ever since.

My personal history with the show aside, the Lincoln Center production of South Pacific is beautifully staged and engagingly played by its current cast, and comes across as somewhat forward, for its time, in its treatment of racism, though its claims of progressiveness become a little difficult to swallow whenever the sailors speak longingly of killing some “Japs,” and when you consider that the fate meted out to Lieutenant Cable, the one Caucasian man in the play who falls in love with an Asian woman, is death.

Good show otherwise, though. (!)

Matthew Morrison of current Glee fame played Cable when the Lincoln Center production opened in 2008, and thanks to the interwebs, his lovely rendition of the tuneful, seasonally apropos but morally questionable – how old is the girl being sung about, exactly? – song Younger Than Springtime – lives on:

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