Lunch at the American Girl Cafe

Some women celebrate turning forty by taking a trip with the girlfriends -- to Mexico, Vegas, Atlantic City, somewhere they can run wild.  Some go to a a spa for some pampering.  Some throw a party.  As for me, I celebrated at the American Girl Cafe! 

Taking The Pea to lunch at the American Girl Cafe is something I've wanted to do ever since I found out there was such a place.  I've visited the American Girl Place in New York, Chicago and LA, and even took The Pea to the Chicago store, but we didn't have time to eat at the cafe; I've had the pleasure of having brunch at the New York location, but The Pea was not with me.  So when the opportunity arose to visit the Disneyland Resort last week, I was determined to make a side trip to the American Girl Place in LA for lunch with The Pea.  I used my 40th birthday as the excuse to splurge (lunch is $23 per person), but truthfully, even if I hadn't just turned forty, I would have convinced Alfie to let us eat there, because The Pea is already 11, and just like Disneyland, I wanted to do it while she was young enough and the magic of American Girl was still there.

The American Girl Cafe is located on the second floor of the American Girl Place in LA's The Grove Shopping Center.  The dining room is decorated in pink, black and white; it's pretty, fun, and whimsical; just walking in and knowing you're going to have lunch there makes you feel girly and special -- a bit too girly for 3Po and Jammy, who opted out of the meal ("There's no way I'm eating lunch at American Girl!!"), leaving just The Pea and I.  Men were definitely in the minority -- there were several families, and one father having lunch with his little girl (adorable!), but for the most part the place was filled with moms, aunts and grandmothers having lunch with their girls. 

The two lucky American Girl dolls chosen to accompany us were Marie-Grace and McKenna.  They were given their own doll booster chairs, and we were seated on the veranda.  It was fun to watch the shoppers wander around outside The Grove!

Our first course was mini cinnamon buns that melt in your mouth.  I managed to get a photo of one of them, but The Pea had already stuffed hers in her mouth. While munching on the rolls, we ordered our entrees from the menu (which also had a story about the inspiration behind American Girl Place -- a night on the town with a fancy dinner and show that Pleasant Rowland, founder of the American Girl Company, enjoyed with her mother).  By the way, the napkin holders are actually hair ties that The Pea got to take home. 

Our appetizer plate had veggies and ranch dip, fruit-and-cheese-kabobs, and pretzels with honey mustard dip.  We also ordered pink lemonade to drink throughout our meal.

Our dishes arrived at a fast and furious pace (frankly, I would have preferred more time between courses to stretch out our time at the Cafe), but we kept ourselves amused between bites of food with the box of Conversation Starters on the table.  Each little slip of paper had a question we could ask each other, like What is your favorite book?, What would you bring to a dessert island?, or If you could have 100 pounds of anything except cash, what would you ask for?  (my answer was airline tickets).

For my main course, I chose a grilled vegetable sandwich with sweet potato fries.  It was sooo good!  I simply must learn how to make sweet potato fries at home.

The Pea had a grilled salmon fillet with roasted vegetables and potatoes.  I'm so glad she's past the usual chicken tenders/buttered pasta/burger kiddie fare!

 Dessert was chocolate mousse in a flowerpot (The Pea got to keep the daisy), a flower-shaped cake and a star-shaped cookie.  So pretty!

Our server asked if anyone was celebrating a birthday, and since technically this was my birthday celebration, she put a candle on my flower cake and sang Happy Birthday To You.  I had the best time with The Pea; it was the perfect end to the perfect meal, and the perfect end to the perfect trip!

Check out more photos of our fabulous meal at the American Girl Cafe on my Flickr American Girl Photo Set, and stay tuned for more posts about our time at the American Girl Place in LA!

Disclosure: Our trip to the American Girl Cafe was not sponsored in any way by American Girl or other company.

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