H.o.p. enjoys a birthday sundae
Light box enlargement
H.o.p. had the past several months talked about wanting to go to the Cheesecake Factory for his birthday. Because of cheesecake? No, because he associates it with our trips to Arizona to see my folks and festive occasions…and because he likes the french fries and the hamburger (the meat, he doesn’t like bread) and because he likes to get ice cream there. So, since Marty and I never made it out to eat for our anniversary last August (isn’t that pitiful) and because H.o.p. had been all eager for us to go to the Cheesecake Factory for our anniversary and take him too and we hadn’t, because we never made it out to celebrate (isn’t that pitiful), and because H.o.p. knew also that the Cheesecake Factory does free sundaes for those with birthdays because he has heard all the wait staff gathering to sing happy, festive birthday tidings to birthday guys and gals, thus H.o.p. wanted to go to the Cheesecake Factory for his birthday and he talked about it non-stop the week before his birthday.
So it was that the night of the 2nd found us at the Cheesecake Factory.
Our server was nice but thus far they’ve always been nice to us at the Cheesecake Factory. They’re sooo nice that I always wonder what kind of training they put their wait staff through that makes them all sooooo nice that now I’m accustomed to it and expect nice, nice, nice. But then for the past eleven years we’ve generally had nice service whenever we go out to eat–and if you notice that eleven year turn around in getting almost always nice service also coincides with H.o.p.’s birth, and as we’ve never gone out to eat without H.o.p. over the past eleven years (yes, I know we’re unusual that way) I…well….seriously, I don’t know what to think about this, why it’s been since H.o.p.’s arrival that we’ve tended to get nice service at most restaurants but we do.
Still, I wonder what kind of training they put their staff through at the Cheesecake Factory that makes them all so nice. We’re generous tippers for good service (or even not great service when wait staff is obviously overtaxed but trying, nor do we fault them if the kitchen isn’t very good) but they don’t know that until the end of the meal.
My favorite part of eating out is knowing we’re going to leave a decent tip. Because I used to wait tables and know what it’s like.
The Cheesecake Factory overextends with its menu and can tend to be bland in certain areas, so I stick always with what I’ve found flavorful and consistently good and let Marty and others venture beyond that, and sometimes they’re pleased and sometimes they’re not so pleased. I ordered my usual and had a good meal and Marty ordered something new and had a good meal and H.o.p. enjoyed his french fries and hamburger and was all excited anticipating the wait staff gathering around to sing happy birthday over his free birthday sundae.
They do, as I said, this free birthday sundae thing there.
The time came for the free birthday sundae. H.o.p. was expecting something down the order of this. Or this (though he would have not wanted a pink candle). Or this perky example.
A minute before, another table had gotten a rousing serenade from the wait staff.
Our server showed up with the above (which had a candle on it) and by himself. There was a trace of apologetic bow to his shoulders as he explained that he couldn’t seem to round up any of the other servers right then to sing Happy Birthday along with us. I was looking a little surprised that the birthday sundae was mainly whipped cream with a trace bit of ice cream that had already melted under the hot fudge that was somewhere down there under the whipped cream. H.o.p. also for an instant looked a bit surprised but promptly recovered and generously smiled and gleamed as we all sang a rousing round of HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!
Afterward, he picked a bit at the sundae. He doesn’t like whipped cream but he didn’t scoop it off as I suspect that he suspected there wasn’t enough of anything underneath to make scooping off the whipped cream worthwhile, plus scooping off the whipped cream would have spoiled what there was of any happy appeal to the sundae.
He didn’t like the bit of hot fudge that he spelunkered but smiled and smiled and smiled because it was still all good to him.
He’s smiling in the above picture though you can’t tell it. The photo catches him in the middle of reaching to pull out a new Nintendo DS game he’d gotten for his birthday so he could show it off for the camera along with the birthday sundae.
I had sitting in front of me my Godiva chocolate cheesecake which I would never be able to finish on my own as it’s so rich. The Godiva chocolate cheesecake comes with a Godiva chocolate on it and H.o.p. politely asked if he could have the chocolate and I said certainly yes, birthday boy, and gave it to him. I asked if he wanted a bite of the cheesecake. H.o.p. was dubious. He loves chocolate but he loves straight, good chocolate. He doesn’t eat candy. He doesn’t eat candy bars. Nothing like a Hersheys. What he likes are the over 70% dark chocolates like the Lindt and Ghirardelli that we pick up and nibble on forever, and the once-a-year Godivas I get like on a wedding anniversary (though not this year) or Valentines. But he’d never tried chocolate cheesecake and the cheesecake part didn’t sound appealing. Still, I managed to get him to venture a bite…
He liked it.
He put his fork down.
“Go ahead, have another bite. I can’t eat all this. Help me out,” I encouraged him.
Which is how H.o.p. discovered he likes Godiva chocolate cheese cake and helped me eat mine so there was none to take home.
Marty had the key lime cheese cake and I had a bite of that and it was good.
“We’ll do a regular, old birthday cake for you later,” I promised H.o.p.
He said it wasn’t necessary because he had loved the dinner but I said, no, we will.
Then, the next night we went ahead and had a regular birthday cake for H.o.p. with eleven candles. And he loved that, too.