70th Surprise Birthday Gone Turkish

Big Birthday Big Problem?

SO this past Christmas was my Dad’s 70th birthday. I really feel for all the December babies out there, especially those born on or around the holidays.  And my dad was born on Christmas Day! Who can compete with the birthday of Christ?! So back to my dad. Not only is this a huge birthday, but it is so very hard to have it a surprise as, well, it’s Christmas.

Picking a location

My father is Middle Eastern, so naturally he loves Mediterranean foods. He also loves to be entertained and wants more than ever to be around his family and grand kids. Myself, I just love all the options we have in the city for amazing eateries, but it can be challenging finding a restaurant with a private room that will allow entertainment and a cake without charging an arm and a leg for cutting or plating fees. SO the search begins!

Luckily, I narrowed it down to a Turkish restaurant that recently relocated from the lower East Side (they were there for 10+ years) to a new location on 53rd and Broadway. The new location has a beautiful downstairs party room complete with a cellar and and even a piano. We decided to try it out before booking the party so made a reservation; we were pleasantly surprised. The food was some of the best Turkish food we ever had, and hands down some of the best baba ghanoush (a dip made with roasted eggplant and sesame butter) I’ve had in New York! Another great perk was the location was still obtaining its liqueur license so we were able to bring our own Argentine and Italian wine!


So I am a big fan of having some form of entertainment at parties, it’s an absolute must!  Going with the Middle Eastern theme, we decided why not have a belly dancer surprise my dad and the guests after everyone sits down for dinner? The owner of Turkuaz, Deniz, said she could definitely find a dancer within our price range despite the holiday and typically higher prices. The dancer we decided on was Layla Isis, a local belly dancer who trained in Egypt and frequently does shows in the city and surrounding areas. She was absolutely amazing!


Turkuaz is a Turkish restaurant in Midtown West off 53rd and Broadway. It recently opened at this location about a year ago, but is home to some of the best and most authentic Turkish food in New York. Here are some of the pictures of the food and venue:


How can you celebrate a birthday without cake I’d like to know? Well, If you know me you know my passion for making cakes for my friends and family. So naturally I had to make my dad something special! My father loves pistachios like me, so I went with a pistachio cake I found on “Life Made Simple Blog.” I got a lot of compliments, but personally I thought the cake was a bit dry (No fault to the recipe, I added too many pistachios to the batter. I would just recommend adding less pistachios to the batter and cut the cooking time by a couple minutes if using a stainless steel cake pan like me). But the cake stacked perfectly and was very easy to apply the crumb coat, air brush paint and drip topping!

For this cake I decided to decorate it with some nostalgic food for my dad and I. Back when we were younger (I was 8 and my brother was 15) we went on a family vacation to London. My brother and I raided the hotel minibar and my dad was charged a huge fee. We ate the Toblerone Swiss chocolates, drank the sodas and just emptied the minibar. After that, it was a running joke that whenever we heard sirens, my dad would say “Uh oh, someone burglarized the minibar–the police are coming after them!” (needless to say my dad learned his lesson to lock the mini-fridge or have the hotels keep it empty upon our arrival). My dad also loves popcorn during movies; the macaroons are all me. They are my favorite and I put them on the cake because they are lovely!

Here are some more pictures from the party–I hope your party planning goes as well as ours! Cheers!