Last night, I had a late dinner and cocktail at l’école’s bar. What started as a simple and quick bite quickly became a late birthday surprise. Michelle Kwak, FCI Culinary student, but Pastry all-star baked a special chocolate chip cookie that made Jacques Pepin remark on its deliciousness. In fact, he gently touched her on the cheek and told her how good it was… that’s like being blessed by the cooking pope. As if that weren’t enough, when we ordered dessert of Chocolate Bread Pudding, Caramelized Bananas, and Coconut-Ginger sorbet, it came with yet another birthday candle and “Happy Birthday” written in chocolate sauce.
But… that wasn’t the best “birthday candle” of the night. Matt, one of FCI’s fabulous bartenders, fired up the Red Hot Poker and made me a Red Hot Manhattan. He made it extra-special by flaming it so long that when he stopped, his protective mitt smelled like it had been cooked “well-done.” I definitely needed it since every time I celebrate my birthday, it MONSOONS outside. And I was so happy that I’d had it when I got into a cab and sat in a puddle of what I hope was rainwater. Good thing I was wearing light-gray pants that thirstily soaked up the water and left a giant dark water stain on my butt when I walked into my husband’s office building to pick him up. Good news is that I think the rain water washed away the wine splatter that I hit myself with while opening bottles for wine class a few hours earlier.
Oh, and deep apologies to Angela for hitting her with my bag, stepping on her, and elbowing her during dinner… Listen, dining with me is “at your own risk,” people.
Try blowing out this birthday candle: