After admiring the Empire State Building, I headed to Cafe Lalo, not sure what to expect. When I got there, there was room at the bar by the windows for me, and I settled on peppermint tea, Belgian Chocolate Cake, and a candle. I received the tea in a bright yellow cup that lifted my spirits, and the waitress brought me a cake as "Happy Birthday" played on the speakers (which I didn't expect.) The waitress lit the candle three times so that I could blow out it out. Blow it out I did, and I dug into the mousse-y cake while sipping tea (I think I might have been disappointed by previous Lalo visits because I had opted for mostly crumb-like cakes, which can become dry by the evening's end). I was wished a happy birthday on my way out, and I walked happy in the rain until I boarded the train at Lincoln Center. The evening ended with phone calls and messages from friends, family, and others. It was a good start to twenty-six. A really good start.