This weekend I had the pleasure of meeting up with one of my closest friends. A last minute reservation led us to the incredibly odd yet pleasant Italian eatery, Valbella. As dinners with those you love often go, we walked in at 6:30 and were finishing our dessert half past eleven. The peculiarity of Valbella stemmed from the fact that upon entering I completely forgot I was in Manhattan. A few tables, rather sparse yet not completely empty, housed a tame and older crowd. In our five hours at Valbella we not only caught up on an entire year apart, but befriended the entire waitstaff, split every intriguing dish on the menu, and rapped the entirety of sir-mix-a-lot’s Baby got Back (as we did almost every day in the fifth grade). Delicious food and a wonderful experience were discovered after the initial hesitation of walking in.

Upon desert, I realized my personal qualifier of restaurant likability is entirely based on soufflé.  The one constant of every “stuffy” restaurant I have ever dined at: a dessert menu containing a soufflé equivalent. If the soufflé is good…. then the restaurant is good.

Thus, the Fancy Restaurant Test. As a little girl my parents indulged me in ordering dessert first when we went out for nice occasions. While they cut into “adult food” I happily dove into chocolate soufflé. And ultimately, it was the soufflé that seemed to be proportional to the restaurant as a whole.

As Talia and I enjoyed our desserts, I found myself distracted by A) how good the soufflé was and B) The thought that I ought to have ordered it first.

So, at my next restaurant outing I will be taking part in the “fancy restaurant test” and ordering dessert first, will you?

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