MAKE A WISH: Long before they opened the new Restaurant Eve (110 S. Pitt St.;703-706-0450) in Alexandria, Meshelle and Cathal Armstrong knew there was one thing they had to have on their menu: "Sticky-sweet birthday cake," Meshelle recalls. "The kind of cake everyone remembers from when they were kids." There was just one problem. The pastry chef, Belgian native Niel Piferoen, had no idea what "birthday cake" meant on this side of the Atlantic. Even when the Armstrongs brought in pictures of what they wanted him to make and samples of how they thought it should taste, Piferoen kept turning out refined confections with buttercream. That's no longer the case, a recent visit confirmed. The dessert that diners now clamor for is rich with cream cheese frosting -- pretty in pink and crunchy with candy sprinkles -- and features a moist base of white cake. Like all the desserts at Eve, it is priced at $7, candles optional.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: Slowly but surely, signs that Whitey's used to exist at 2761 Washington Blvd. in Arlington are disappearing. The staff is cleaning up the floors and exposing brick walls behind wood paneling. "It was me, myself and I" tearing down some of the latter, jokes Dave Pressley, who is poised to be the general manager of the forthcoming Tallula later this summer. Tallula, he explains, is American Indian in origin and refers to "running water" or "continually singing." The restaurant is supported by a cast of veteran restaurateurs: Pete Pflug from the Clarendon Grill and Clarendon Ballroom and Michael and Stephanie Babin and Christi Hart, the owners of Evening Star Cafe in Del Ray and Vermilion in Alexandria. Nathan Anda, who cooked at Equinox in Washington and Market Salamander in Middleburg, will head up the open kitchen. The plan is to serve "comfort food with upscale twists," promises Pressley, who hopes to transform the space into "a date place." Fueling the fun: a bar offering 50 wines by the glass and a cozy room to be called "The Parlor" -- Whitey's old dart room.

Chef Niel Piferoen has gotten the birthday cake right.