A Surprise Party at Sorella

Next week, one of my good friends is turning 30. We met through our blogs, but became fast friends the first time we met.

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Last night, her friend Kathleen organized a surprise dinner for her at Sorella, an Italian restaurant on the Lower East Side.

I know it looks like we were outside, but it was more like a covered patio.

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I’d seen Emily the night before at wine book club, and was dying when someone else asked what she was doing for her birthday and she said she wasn’t sure. I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING!

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We started with some breadsticks at the bar while waiting for Emily to show up. They were salty, carb-y wonderfulness.

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Just before Emily was due to arrive, we moved to the back room. I wish I’d gotten a picture of her, because the look on her face was priceless, but soon after we moved back, Kathleen went to pretend she was waiting for Emily at the bar, and they were led back to “their table,” where we were all waiting.

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They completely captured my sentiments on the menu.

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We started with some meat and cheese. (I think I was too busy eating the cheese, though, to photograph it.)

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We ate the rest of the meal tapas/family style. Above: broccoli fritto with pickled hot pepper aioli (which had an awesome kick), grana padano and basil. So, totally healthy, because there’s broccoli in there.

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We also ordered all the pastas on the menu for the table. This one was gnocchi with cream sauce, brown butter pears and chives.

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I have no idea which one this one was.

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This one, the agnolotti with beef short rib, parmesan and sage butter was my favorite. Kathleen loved it, too, so we ordered another one for the table.

We also ordered Brussels sprouts with bacon, apple and some sort of sauce. I love Brussels with bacon, but the sauce made this a little too rich.

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And what’s a birthday without cake? Kathleen brought some cake from Billy’s, one of Emily’s favorite bakeries. I love red velvet, so I expected for that one to be my favorite, but I ended up loving a rich chocolate one.

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Happy birthday, friend!!!

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