[Photo: Robyn Lee]

I walked into the Lady M Cake Boutique with an open mind. I really did. Its quintessential hoity-toity address didn't turn me off, and neither did its silly name (cake boutique?), or its bizarre display style that presents food like showcased jewels that are clearly not meant to be eaten. I was on the prowl for some serious New York cheesecake, and none of Lady M's aforementioned foibles were going to stand in my way.

I asked if they had any cheesecake. The women behind the counter pointed to a plate under a glass dome that had a large-ish wedge of sour cream-topped cheesecake. I asked how many slices were in that wedge. She said three. I asked how much each slice cost. She said, "Seven dollars." I gulped, and said I'd take all of them.

Ever so carefully, the woman sliced the large wedge into three smaller ones. Each slice looked so pretty, downright perfect. Apparently not, to my ever-so-precise friend behind the counter. She looked at the third and final slice and—this is where it gets really weird—apparently decided that it was too large, because she proceeded to cut a quarter-inch off of it, so that the slices would all be the same. In a final affront to serious eaters everywhere, she took the extra tiny slice back to the kitchen... where they must stash all the tiny leftover slices of cake to be disposed of properly.

I was dumbstuck by what I had just witnessed. What could have possibly possessed her to repossess that extra quarter of an inch of $7-per-slice cheesecake? What was she going to do with it? Was she going to sell it as remaindered cheesecake for $3.50? Couldn't she have somehow found it in her heart to just leave it on the slice and allow me to walk out the door with some semblance of good feelings?

I guess not. Maybe to do so would be against the rules. On the other hand, as far as I'm concerned, she had commited a tiny crime against humanity.

Lady M Cake Boutique

41 East 78th Street, New York NY 10075 (b/n Madison and Park; map)


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