Some of my most cherished memories as a kid were of me tucked away in bed with my parents reading bedtime stories to me.
But not just any stories, the best stories.
We would circulate a few different books but one was always 3 more times than the rest....Eloise.
I absolutely, positively adooooored her! She was absolutely lovely, lovely, lovely and I very much though of myself as a Californian version of her.
So when the girls and I were walking through Central Park one morning and realized The Plaza hotel was only a stone throw away, we decided that it was time for this suburban Eloise to make her big city dream come true.
...and the rest of the day as well.
We made our way to the tea room in The Plaza where I asked the waitress for a table for three. It was there that the future of my dream coming true (having an Eloise-eque high tea at The Plaza) seemed dim. She replied, "I'm sorry but the tea room is completely booked today."
With my esteem crushed, I told the girls what she said.
But midway through my sentence I stopped and realized something very important.
I did not come all that way to get rejected from something I'd been dreaming of since I could read. No way. Not today.
So I straightened my spine, spun 'round on my heels and went back to the waitress and said, "I'm sorry to bother you again but we travelled all this way from Hong Kong just to have high tea at The Plaza. It has been my dream ever since I could read Eloise to enjoy crumpets and jam and it would mean the world to me if you could sneak us a seat."
Shocked (but not terribly surprised) she replied, "Well, we do have a few no shows....so follow me and I can seat you three."
I was beaming. Beaming more than any time I had ever beamed in my life.
Little cheeky Eloise was present and in full control.
Seated and ready to be treated royally, we opened our menus and decided on our sets.
I went for the Fitzgerald Tea for the Ages...
And the girls went for The New Yorker.
I would have joined them except I saw this little note at the bottom of the menu which absolutely sold me.
"Fitzgerald Tea for the Ages pays tribute to The Plaza's most legendary patrons, F. Scott and Zelda. The offerings are inspired by the popular cuisine of the jazz age and the era of The Great Gatsby, in which the hotel plays an epic roll."
For documentary purposes, of course.
And boy did it arrive in style.
And then onto dessert - the best part of any meal.
And during this course, my life changed forever.
The Amarena Cherry and Chocolate Sachetorte happened to me.
I was shocked. Blown away. Completely speechless as I marvelled in how some mastermind created such a perfect little petit four.
Little did I know, though, that the rest of stops on the trip would have me falling even deeper in love with this magnificent city.