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Anniversaire — noun — French for birthday, the anniversary of a birth.

Today, I turned 23. Rather than taking a leave from work like what most working people do on their birthdays, I decided to treat this day like any other usual day in my life.

My birthday started a little unusual, rather, special. At around 2 in the morning, my father woke me up and told me that my dog was giving birth. I was very happy because Samantha, my Shih Tzu, gave birth to three puppies. I was late for work because I couldn’t leave them. I felt like a grandfather watching over his grandchildren.

I spent most of the day doing what I usually do at work – code, read, code, review. I was actually a little frustrated during most of the day since there was a bug that I just couldn’t fix. Thank God I was able to sort things out.

I was about to go home when it suddenly rained really hard. Good thing Qing, my project mate from IBM China, has not left yet so I asked him if I could ride with him until Shangri-la. He said yes but he’d be leaving at around 7PM. Well, waiting is better than getting wet. I reviewed some of my codes again until Qing came back. From Shangri-la, I walked to Megamall.

I called my mom and told her to cancel our dinner plans. I informed her that I’d be eating dinner in Megamall and said that we should just reschedule my birthday celebration.

I headed straight to Alexandre since I was craving for their desserts. Alexandre, according to their website, is an authentic French bakery, cafe, and lounge. I wouldn’t argue with that since the person in charge was French. It is located at the second level of SM Megamall Atrium.

Just a heads up, the prices of their food aren’t exactly what you’d call cheap. Don’t be intimidated though. Their prices are above the usual but once you start eating their food, you know where your money went. Their food is superb and their servings are really big. Also, their staff is excellent. They are very accommodating and polite. Oh, the ambiance of Alexandre is amazing! I just love the restaurant’s chic atmosphere. Everything exudes quality. I consider Alexandre as an affordable luxury.

I like their beverage glass.

Even their utensils are presented nicely

I was browsing through their menu but I couldn’t decide which one to get. I ended up asking the waitress which one to get and she told me that they highly recommend the Croque Madame. It’s basically a ham and cheese sandwich with an egg on top. They served it with a side salad and a basket of assorted bread.

Alexandre's Croque Madame.

Oh goodness, I didn't know that they'd serve this much bread. Haha!

This sandwich is really delicious!

So how did they taste? Wonderful! I loved the salad. The greens used were fresh and crisp. The vinaigrette they drizzled on it was simple but very nice. The tangy taste of the salad was a perfect complement to the slightly subdued flavor of the sandwich. The sandwich was delicious. I loved the cheese they used, I’m not sure though about what cheese it was. As for the basket of bread, I was only able to eat two of them. I was saving precious tummy space for the most important part of the meal — dessert.

The last time I went to Alexandre, I ordered the Walnut & Honey Tart. I almost ordered the same thing but I decided to try out something different. Again, I could not decide so I asked the waitress which one she’d recommend. She initially told me to get the Honey & Walnut Tart but I told her that I have already tried that one. She then suggested I try their Caramel Cheesecake so I got that one.

I want more! This is VERY good.

The Caramel Cheesecake did not disappoint. I absolutely loved every bit of it. The cheesecake wasn’t overly sweet nor tart. The crust was perfect! It wasn’t excessively thick like some of the other cheesecakes I’ve tried. Be warned though, their serving is really big.

As I was enjoying my cheesecake, the person in charge approached me and gave me two Madelines, on the house!

Alexandre's Madelines

He told me that they had a promo today and they were giving madelines to their visitors. The madeline’s taste had a hint of citrus, probably lemon juice. It would really go well with a nice hot cup of coffee.

As I have mentioned earlier, I like the ambiance of Alexandre. It’s warm, cozy, and chic all at the same time. I found the music being played in their cafe nice though I couldn’t understand them. Here are some photos of the cafe:

They have this really cool Eiffel Tower decor

That guy is great. He's very accommodating and he gave me two madelines, haha!

You might be thinking that it is a little sad that I spent my birthday dinner alone. Well, not really. While I was waiting for them to serve my food, I booted up my laptop and checked my Facebook. I couldn’t open my Facebook at work so I decided to check some updates while I was waiting. I was pleasantly surprised that hundreds of my friends posted their greetings on my wall. Take note, my profile is set to hide my birthday. It felt really good that a lot of my friends remembered my birthday. It made me realize that I have so many good friends. So rather than post a “Thank you everyone who remembered…” status, I replied to each and every one of those who greeted me.

Also, the feeling of treating yourself on your birthday using your hard-earned money is fantastic. I spent my alone time thinking about how lucky I am the past year despite some problems I have faced. It’s a little refreshing actually to spend your birthday alone.

After paying for what I ate, I remembered that my mom loved the pastries I bought from Alexandre before. Most of my friends know that I rarely go home without buying anything for my mom so I bought a box of pastries for my mom. I went to the counter and checked out the pastries they have. I just pointed at random pastries and had them boxed up.

A box filled with so much love. Haha!

Yummy pastries. They're good for breakfast.

Again, Alexandre is located at the 2nd level of SM Megamall Atrium. They also have a branch in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. You can visit their website for more information. There are inspirational stories posted on their website so you might want to check them out as well.