Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Funk at Brown Sugar Cafe

It's your friend's birthday.  You want to treat them to a lovely birthday dinner somewhere special.  You want the wait staff to obnoxiously sing "Happy Birthday" to them, drawing as much attention to your table as possible.  But you don't want them to spend the whole dinner dreading the moment your waiter comes out of the kitchen, candles blazing.  I have the place for you... Brown Sugar Cafe (

Looks unassuming from the outside, right?  Your friend will pull up to dinner thinking they've been spared from the obligatory birthday dessert embarrassment.  They'll walk in past the twin fish tanks as they are escorted to their table by the quiet 14 year old Thai waitress.  You'll order Asian beers, scallion pancakes, spring rolls, and wonton soup to start.  Your entrees will come out five minutes after you put the order in and you'll all enjoy your pad thai, drunken noodles, and curry chicken.  All the while, the birthday babe will be under the impression they are in the clear, happily sipping away on their mai tai and thinking about what wonderful friends they have, so sweet to spare them of a big birthday to-do.  

The little waitress will even come by with a dessert menu, acting coy as she asks which sweet dish you'd like.  After taking the dessert order, she'll disappear into the kitchen for a minute or two.

All will be calm.

But then, the lights will go off and the funk will come on.  The bartender will fumble but eventually get the disco lights to turn on.  The wait staff will come out of the kitchen in a single line, your waitress leading the pack with fried ice cream and a single candle.  The rest of the waiters and waitresses will be wielding flashlights, putting the spotlight on your table.. then the tables next to you.. then the tables across the room. They'll place the dessert in front of the birthday boy or girl and bop around the restaurant dancing to the "Happy Birthday" recording sung by a baritone Asian man.  All the while the rest of the guests will be clapping along as if they were in on it the whole time.

It's a perfect compromise - a meal eaten in peace for the birthday boy or girl, and an extreme amount of surprise discomfort for the enjoyment you and the rest of your friends!

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