Where the rich people go.

Happy birthday to my friend and fellow blogger SVB! To celebrate, she and I and a handful of other ladies met up last night at Bern’s Steakhouse.

For those who aren’t local, Bern’s is a restaurant on S. Howard Ave. in South Tampa. It has valet parking. And a dress code. And a cheese cave. It’s where the rich people go, and where those of us who aren’t rich find humor in the “subtle” ways we reveal it.


1. Saying “Am I supposed to tip you now, or should I do that later?” to the valet driver when you arrive

2. Whispering “Do you think they can tell I’m not rich?” to your friends while you’re waiting for your table

3. Breaking the routine for the valet driver who retrieves your car at the end of the night — i.e., Mercedes, Mercedes, Plymouth Neon with very little paint left on it

But fitting in is not what a trip to Bern’s is about. It, I learned, is all about the dessert room. To celebrate SVB’s birth, we skipped dinner (and, legend has it, dodged the depletion of our savings accounts) and went straight to the Harry Waugh Dessert Room upstairs. Which — as it turns out — is my new favorite restaurant.

And it’s not my new favorite restaurant just because I was given the opportunity to order this:

as well as this:

Don’t judge me. I brought (most of) one of them home.

In addition to what you get to eat in the process, my new-found bias toward the dessert room has a lot to do with what it’s like to be there. For starters, the dress code means you get to (well, have to) dress up, and I always enjoy a good excuse to do that. Plus, the trek through Bern’s to the dessert room is like a tour of a haunted mansion, sans cobwebs. And as soon as you’re up the stairs and walking toward the dessert room, you can smell it: all of what will wake you up or put you to sleep, depending on your body’s response to sugar. Inside, every table is private, in its own giant wine barrel, where you can be as loud or as quiet as you’d like and no one else in the restaurant will notice.

So glad SVB chose it for her birthday celebration. So looking forward to going back.