I love celebrating my birthday. Maybe it is because I was born on Christmas Eve, so people tend to forget about it (seriously, how can you forget someone’s birthday on Christmas Eve? I remember birthdays of people I only marginally know if it is on a big holiday.) Maybe it is because I am an only child and crave attention. Maybe I just like the candles and the guilt-free dessert. ..I’m pretty sure that is it.
Because I love celebrating my birthday – sometimes for weeks on end – I like celebrating other people’s birthdays too. I enjoy singing (badly) a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday to You” changing words as needed to amuse myself. Not everyone shares my birthday candle love (which I find shocking). One friend has been known to actually crawl under the table when her family insists on the candle-in-the-dessert routine. Not me.
So, last week when I made a reservation at Fin for my mom’s birthday, I let the owner know that we were celebrating her birthday. When we arrived at the restaurant, I told the manager that we were celebrating (even going so far as to mime and point in a failed effort to be subtle). As we were being seated, I told our waiter, who unfortunately, turned out not to be our waiter. Dinner comes and goes, dessert comes and goes, all without the slightest hint of a birthday (like a candle in the dessert).
You don’t need to comp dessert just for the sake of a candle (like the nice folks at Azur did the following night with a truly amazing flourless chocolate number), but you could at the very least, stick a candle in the dessert we order. I know you must have something to light it with as a piece of cinnamon came to the table aflame.
So, why no candle? Is it really so much to ask? Everybody has a birthday and one of the things that people like to do is eat to celebrate, sometimes at a restaurant that is “special” (read: expensive). I don’t think a little acknowledgement of a special day is so much to ask. A simple “happy birthday” would have gone a long way. Not as far as a candle, but it would have helped.