A couple of weeks ago, we had dinner at Cookbook Kitchen*, the cafe across my sister's house. For over a year we took this place for granted although we would hear good things about it. Anton's recent post finally prompted us to try it out a couple of weeks ago. And what a pleasant experience that turned out to be! The food was delicious, the place cozy, and the service impeccable. (I was mulling over the menu and casually commented to my cousin how I would have loved a chicken version of the Pork Steak with Honey Mustard Sauce - reminiscent of Outback's Alice Springs Chicken which I love. Christy, the friendly and most efficient server overheard this and offered to change it for me. Now that's service!) :)
I was with my nieces and nephews which gave me an excuse to order almost all the desserts on the menu: the strawberry shortcake overload, Kittin's scarlet cake, the lemon poppy seed cake, and of course a chocolate cake. We were in sweet dessert heaven! My favorite had to be the scarlet cake which is a red velvet cake frosted with cream cheese and lightly dusted with cocoa powder.
Seeing that her kids were enjoying this all so much, my sister decided to hold her daughter Bea's upcoming 6th birthday party there. But because she had already told Bea that she was celebrating her birthday in school with her classmates and some spaghetti and cake, she thought to make her party in Cookbook Kitchen a surprise.
A genius of an idea! I don't know why more people don't do this. We always have surprise parties among friends, but I realized how much easier it is to pull off a surprise party for kids. For one, they are less suspicious so chances of success increase big time. It was also so much fun involving all the other kids, as they were only too eager and excited to keep it all a secret and do their part. Even the grandparents were giddy with excitement and anticipation.
Eliza, CBK's owner, helped make the party the success it was. She set up the buffet table with her specialties such as the Parmesan Crusted White Fish, Pasta Pomodoro, Mixed Greens with Honey Mustard, Chicken with Sesame Remoulade (I'm on a mission to copy this sauce!) , slices of her delicious cakes and placed plates of Parmesan Fries on the tables. She allowed us to come in early to decorate her cafe with balloons, crepe paper on the ceilings and scattered stars on the tables. She wouldn't even allow us to pick up the mess when the party was over.
Needless to say, Bea was surprised. The look on her face was priceless! First there was surprise on her face, which then beamed with a mixture of embarassment and glee. She ran around greeting all her cousins and friends, laughing and exclaiming, "Papa joked me!". It made my heart smile to see her so happy. She's such a sweet kid. :)
*Cookbook Kitchen is at 8 Socorro Fernandez St. (parallel to Shaw Blvd. behind Nissan) Mandaluyong Metro Manila; tel. (02) 724-3595