A Tea Party with Dolls

Party menu with a twist

Keller & Keller

Even the simplest party fare feels fancy when it's cut into shapes and served on pretty platters. The cafe's tiered tray of tea treats includes scones and jam, chicken salad served in pastry boats, three-layer peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches, old-fashioned cucumber sandwiches, and flower-shaped ham and cheese sandwiches. "Children are most comfortable with familiar foods, so we concentrate on creative presentation," says Adamany. For girls who prefer a regular lunch menu, the cafe offers pizzas decorated to look like a tic-tac-toe board and other clever entrees.

Of course, sweets are an important part of any celebration -- and at the American Girl Cafe, a birthday cake decorated with white and fuchsia icing is just the beginning: Guests sip hot cocoa and feast on petit fours, peppermint ice cream, lemon cookies, and chocolate mousse served in small flowerpots. "The girls always end up putting their flowers in their hair," says cafe manager Sophia Dalkos. When taking part in a similar party at home, children might enjoy having a teddy bear parade or doll fashion show, with awards given in categories such as dressiest, sportiest, and most original outfit. After the luncheon, guests wrote messages to the birthday child in an autograph book and took home goody bags containing a necklace and bracelet. (At-home favor ideas: a doll accessory, coin purse, key chain, or headband.) "We had so much fun!" the girls said, and they promised to get together with their dolls again soon.

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