SURPRISE!!! Your party has been cancelled! Courtesy of Casa La Femme!

That’s right, I planned a surprise 50th Birthday dinner for Melissa at one of her favorite restaurants in New York City – Casa La Femme, an Egyptian restaurant at 140 Charles Street in the West Village.

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I had begun planning this special event before Thanksgiving. And I was in touch with Anastasi, the owner/manager by cell multiple times, making a reservation for 21 people. He instructed me that, although I spoke to him directly, I needed to go online and book it that way, and pay the reservation “fee” that is non-refundable. Also, he let me know that I would only be able to reserve for 20 people online and that he would add the 21st person manually.

Melissa’s birthday…March 3, Friday, 7 p.m.

Given everyone’s schedules, the family dynamics (no need for details), it took an effort to get everyone on the same page, without Melissa finding out, and, most importantly, getting her daughter Erin, and her boyfriend Nick in covertly from Milwaukee…oh…and don’t forget their cat Ziggy too.

I was confident everything was settled and well in place for a nice gathering with all of Melissa’s immediate family members.

Everyone was excited about the venue. My review posted on Google last year for, believe it or not, Melissa’s last birthday dinner was:

The ambiance is what gets you!

“Ambiance is terrific. Service and presentation are top notch. Food quality is great. Portions are smaller as compared to other establishments, but most eateries often provide portions that are too much. We felt they were just right. Prices are slightly high but they are justified.”

Confidence is running high.

Ironically, I was sitting at the venue for another surprise party, this one for Melissa’s younger daughter, Lauren, and I received a text message from Anastasi informing me that he can no longer host the dinner, that he can’t do a party of 20 after 6 p.m. WHAT? WHAT EXACTLY DOES THAT MEAN?

Who takes a reservation months in advance and, then, with less than two weeks to go, cancels it because of the time? I let him know, from the beginning, that people were coming from a distance to venture into the City on a Friday night. They are not in Manhattan. I am not in Manhattan. People work. There is no way to get everyone there before 6 p.m. And what difference should that make? I made a reservation…booked WAY in advance.

But while I was sitting waiting for Melissa to arrive with Lauren to HER surprise party, I was stewing. And so I went to look at the Google reviews for this place. Ah, yes, on the surface it still looked like the place was getting good reviews. But, wait, use the filter and get rid of the “relevant” reviews because they are all rave reviews about any establishment. Click on newest. Or, better yet, click on the lowest.

Lo and behold, the genie is out of the bottle. Because the reviews show a great depiction of the place. You know how you figure that perhaps you caught a person, or a place, on a bad night? Well, Melissa and I must have caught this place on a GOOD night when we ventured in the last time and I wrote that review. Because this place gets rocked.

Mayan says it was simply the lure!
The worst service…
The worst service EVER!

Perhaps it was karma that allowed this to happen. Because the food and service at an event like this would just be a reflection on me. So thanks Casa La Femme for helping to save Melissa’s 50th Birthday dinner from being a disaster by sending me elsewhere. I can’t thank you enough.

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