as the end of my third decade approached, i started to panic… how do i gracefully breeze through yet another milestone birthday with grace and style?? last year’s nyc festivities were a trump card punctuated by le bernadin, but this year…it had to be bigger, better, faster, more. what better place to indulge in excess than the city of sin, so away i went (with friends in tow) to celebrate the end of an era. beyond the obligatory vices of vegas, my sights were sent on visiting joël robuchon, whom gault millau deemed chef of the century and michelin bequeathed the only three star rating between the east and west coasts. dressed in nothing less than my big pink quinceañera dress (because 15 x 2 seems much less daunting than a big bloated 30), i buckled in for a ride of four courses and accompaniments. the french are experts at throwing in extra flair to make a girl feel special, and highlights included a formidable bread cart, surprise gâteau de célébration, and let’s not forget the special raspberry-pistachio pound cake parting gift just for the ladies. oh, and did i mention the fernet & coke that kicked off the festivities? of course i didn’t need to, it’s a prerequisite pour tout les joyeux anniversaires.