It's a rule of thumb that if you're running late in the morning, you might as well stop and pick up a box of donuts or kolaches to bring to the office. As a Whataburger commercial once put it, "Then, you aren't the guy who's late. You're the guy who brought breakfast."
The same principle applies if you've inadvertently taken a long lunch and find yourself faced with the awkward proposition of trying to walk as quietly as possible into the office, hoping not to disturb your boss or officemates as you attempt to sneak into your cubicle unnoticed. It rarely works. Mostly because the admin assistant hates you, and announces your presence to everyone by passive-aggressively piping up as you walk by, "Wow, you must have really enjoyed your lunch at Pappasito's, Kevin!"
Want to avoid this situation in the future? Bring dessert.
Walking in with a tray of delicious sweets and an apology -- "Man, I'm so sorry I'm running late! I wanted to pick some desserts up for everyone because they just looked so good, but it took longer than I thought it would!" -- works every time.
For a long time, I pulled this trick quite successfully thanks to places like Abdallah's, which is featured in this week's cafe review. The Lebanese restaurant on Hillcroft bakes its own pita bread -- the same pita bread seen at stores like Whole Foods and in many other Middle Eastern restaurants in town -- and desserts each day. Right now, the store stocks Ramadan treats like qatayef (sweet half-moon pastries filled with nuts or cheese) and ma'amoul (shortbread cookies filled with nuts).
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The assorted dessert tray at Abdallah's has a little bit of everything: honey-filled baklava, cigar-shaped znood es-sett (also called ladyfingers), slices of creamy knefe and the wispy little bird's nests called kanafeh, among others. There's something for any kind of sweet tooth -- even those who like their desserts just barely sweet -- on the tray, ensuring that you'll not only get off the hook for running late; you'll also be responsible for the sugary mid-afternoon pick-me-up that gets everyone through the day.