My birthday celebration: Part 1 – Cakes, Drinks and Fried Hot Dogs

The past Friday afternoon my boss sort of surprised me for my birthday.

What happened was my boss inquired me the past week when’s my birthday since I’ve sent out a mass e-mail to share out my week-early birthday cake to my co-workers (see photo here).

She managed to remember my birthday (despite of her busy schedule) and asked one of my other co-workers, Deniz to pick up my birthday cakes. I remember seeing her rushing into my boss’s office that morning lugging in two large shopping bags, making me wonder if we’re having a party? But I thought, “Nah.” Eventually my boss sent out a mass email indicating that we’re celebrating my birthday with birthday cakes at the conference room. I thought I was dyslexic for several minutes thinking that I’m reading “cakes” and it should be singular.

Coconut Angel Food Cake La Maison du Chocolat cake
Raspberry Truffle Cake Pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting
My Birthday CAKES(?)!

But was my assumption WRONG! Deniz actually did indeed bought FOUR cakes! I was definitely shocked that I don’t know what to say except the words, “I need to bring my camera.” Escaped from my mouth and took photos of these babies.

So what did we have? Three small cakes from Two Little Red Hens (pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting, a coconut angel food cake, and the raspberry truffle) and the pièce de résistance, a whole chocolate tart from La Maison du Chocolat. I think you all know that I LOVE good chocolate, so La Maison’s tart is the best – buttery, crumbly crust (or cake?) with creamy, thick, not too sweet chocolate ganache.

Innards of my slice La Maison du Chocolat’s cake innards

As for the Two Little Red Hens’ cakes, they’re very good. All were moist with good crumb but my least liked was the pumpin with cream cheese frosting. I found it too heavy. The favorite was the coconut angel food cake – feathery light, not too sweet and the cake is moist. Eating three of the four cakes made me full and kind of regret eating so much since I planned dinner…

After work, I haphazardly planned at the last minute practically for my birthday dinner. Long story that you don’t need to know but a few friends managed to pull through. So, Helen and I met up and went to Crif Dogs since we’re too early for the rest of the group to enter right next door (or more like their cocktail lounge), PDT.

Tsunami Dog Tsunami Dog

Helen was hungry so while we’re awaiting for Giulia and Seungmi to arrive, she ordered the tsunami dog – a deep fried hot dog that is bacon wrapped and topped with teriyaki, pineapple and green onions. It sounds like a Helen-compatible hot dog to me. She said this was good. I didn’t try it because I wanted to save stomach space.

The scene PDT’s scene

Since this is a Friday night, it’s not surprising that PDT is pretty much booked a little past 6 PM. Most of the bar-goers look like they just came out of work and wanted to relax with a few drinks. Since I have a party of four, I can’t sit at the bar and we ended up having a table at the back.

Norman Inversion French Maid I forgot the name of this drink... The Great Pumpkin
Clockwise from top left: Norman Inversion, French Maid, The Great Pumpkin, and another drink that I forgot the name of

We liked all of our drinks (we took sips of each others’ to get a taste of each) and they’re all perfectly balanced in terms of sweetness and the sharpness of the alcohol. My Great Pumpkin cocktail looks like a cappuccino (from the use of the whole egg, shaken) and it’s nicely spiced and the pumpkin flavor is not too strong, which is fine. It’s a fine seasonal cocktail. Seungmi’s French Maid is very refreshing and light which suits her tastes. Giulia’s Norman Inversion tasted sweet yet balanced. Helen’s cocktail (which I forgot the name, unfortunately) was fruity and slightly sweet.

Chang Dog (another view) Wylie Dog
Chang Dog and the Wylie Dog, respectively

Besides having PDT’s great cocktails, we must have their fried hot dogs. They’re made from the same kitchen of Crif Dogs but the creations are only sold and made for PDT. Anyway, we ordered the Chang Dog and the Wylie Dog. I never had the Chang Dog (named after the Momofuku brand owner and chef, David Chang) before and I like spicy food so I split it with Seungmi. It was delicious. A bacon-wrapped, fried hot dog topped with kimchi. Mmmm…it’s so good yet so bad for my arteries.

The same applies to the Wylie Dog (named after executive chef/owner Wylie Dufrense of wd-50), except the latter hot dog is topped with fried mayonnaise, tomato molasses, and shredded Romaine lettuce.

After we’re done with our food and drinks, we paid our check and walked downtown to our dinner destination…(stay tuned).

Crif Dogs & PDT Bar

113 St. Marks Place
New York, NY 10009 (map)


I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.

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