Tag: birthday party

One year

Saturday, July 10th, 2010 | All Things, Eats, Family, Friends

Fraisier cake from Ceci-Cela: vanilla génoise with vanilla mousseline cream and strawberries, topped with marzipan… and a birthday candle:

We picked up the cake in the morning and I got my first glimpse of the bakery’s new Spring Street neighbor: The Best Chocolate Cake in the World — the first American location of São Paolo-based mini-chain O Melhor Bolo de Chocolate de Mundo. Can’t yet confirm the veracity of their claim, but the name alone seems an almost too easy set up for some snarky commentary in this town.

According to W Magazine, it’s destined to become the statement cake of the decade — succeeding Lady M Cake Boutique’s Mille Crêpes cake.  I have on good authority that it also makes a fine birthday cake.

For his part, Joshua seemed to enjoy his birthday cake and party — save for the 30 seconds immediately after he attempted to extinguish his candle… with his bare hands.  Ouch.

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Heartbreak and cheesecake

Saturday, April 19th, 2008 | All Things, Eats, Family, Film, Friends

All of J’s careful plans were in place for tonight’s surprise birthday party, so there was not much for me to do except show up at the appointed time. We spent the afternoon at my local movie theater watching Forgetting Sarah Marshall… an oddly poignant choice of film, in retrospect. First-time director Nicholas Stoller, and writer/star Jason Segel are alumni of Judd Apatow‘s cult television shows “Undeclared” and “Freaks and Geeks.” Like the other recent hits from Apatow Productions, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is framed around a guy on a quest to become a man — here, in the wake of a soul-crushing break-up — and has all the familiar earmarks of the producer’s other films: the bawdiness (with a core of sweetness), the male nudity, the familiar stock-company faces (Segel, Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader). Its strength lies in finding the humor in everything from the inherent awkwardness of intimate pairings, wallowing break-up mixes (featuring Sinéad O’Connor and The Smiths, naturally), sanctimonious rock stars, and cliché-ridden television crime dramas. (It must be noted that William Baldwin channels David Caruso rather awesomely.)

The advertising campaign — full sized billboards denigrating the fictional Sarah Marshall (a somewhat bland Kristen Bell) — caused some strife with real-life Sarah Marshalls everywhere, but audiences and critics responded positively. Who can’t identify with a little heartbreak, after all?

My favorite bits — no, not what you think, dirty birds! — involved the hedonistic, pseudo-spiritual Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), who was both vacuous and almost admirable in his ruthless honesty. (Is it always the best policy?) And I’ve long been a fan of Segel, who wrote the film’s Infant Sorrow songs and the tunes for his character’s Dracula musical. We knew Segel had it in him after his “Slapsgiving” song follow-up to the legendary “Slap Bet” episode on How I Met Your Mother.

Incidentally, Segel’s HIMYM co-star Neil Patrick Harris was profiled in the Sunday Times that day, in a piece during which he referenced both Trent Reznor and Scooby-Doo…. making it very difficult for me to decide which of the two actors I like more. (Yes, yes… I know.)

On J’s rooftop (from which the Macy’s July 4th fireworks are not visible), ominous clouds began gathering overhead as our coterie huddled together, waiting for the payoff appearance of our birthday guest of honor. A successful “surprise!”… followed by a hasty retreat downstairs for a Turkish buffet.

J had outdone himself with the arrangements for the feast: hummus, falafel, Mediterranean Salad, Sigara Borek (pan fried cigar-shaped crispy pastries stuffed with feta cheese), Chicken Adana (char-grilled ground chicken seasoned with spicy red pepper) and Grilled Lamb Meatballs with Rice.

And to end things on a sweet note, another birthday cheesecake: this one from Artisanal — a rich, creamy concoction with pecan-shortbread crust and pecan praline crunch topping. Delicious!

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On the move

Saturday, January 12th, 2008 | All Things, Friends

This Saturday launched the first of five weekends of 7 construction, during which the line will not be running east past Woodside, Queens. In addition, weekend Manhattan-bound service will be skipping 52nd, 46th, 40th, and 33rd Streets through February 11, and all weekday trains will run local until February 29, 2008. The service announcements explaining all these changes were almost comically lengthy.

Despite the inevitable confusion, getting out to Main Street this morning wasn’t terrible: the free LIRR service from Penn Station ended up actually shaving time off my commute to Queens. My short and sweet stop in Sunnyside, however, entailed a bit more effort; the three-quarter mile walk west from the railroad station at 61st Street, though, did bring me past a few sights I never see when I’m riding the 7 rails overhead.

Like this brightly-colored mural beneath the otherwise rather forbidding subway tracks, commissioned by Woodside on the Move, a non-profit community development organization, founded in 1978.

Woodside on the Move

Later that evening, we gathered at The Oak Cellar on the Upper West Side for TB’s birthday soirée. The cozy bricked wine cellar, with its masonry arches and cobblestone floors, is tucked away randomly beneath the gloriously fratty Jake’s Dilemma on Amsterdam. (Beer pong!) Also random: in a room teeming with lawyers, meeting a bartender-cum-writer-cum-lawyer, working the party door.

Then it was on to iBop Karaoke for the third birthday party of the past 24 hours. Judging by the number of empty bottles littering the party room table, we had hit MC’s bash at its peak — or perhaps just past — but there was still plenty of fun to be had. Already in the song queue: The Beatles, George Michael and Chamillionaire, and as required of all karaoke gatherings, some old school Michael Jackson. HYB was disappointed that his favorite Prince tune “Cream” was not among the selections, so we settled instead for the falsetto-heavy “Kiss” — classic, though in retrospect, not the easiest in the catalog to belt out.

MC who, past experience has shown, knows how to rock out with the best of them, led us all in a screaming a capella encore of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin‘,” accompanied by music leaking through from the room next door. And as a follow-up: Stone Temple Pilots’ “Plush,” about which she aptly noted: if you don’t know this song, you’d better ask yourself what you were doing in the 1990s. 15(!) years later, the lyrics are still as perplexing as ever.

Where ya going to tomorrow?
Where ya going with that mask I found?
And I feel, and I feel
When the dogs begin to smell her
Will she smell alone?

There’s nothing more than this.

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