how we celebrated: engagement edition

I love food. Specifically, I love truffles and cheese and pasta and I also love them all together. One of my favorite decadent dishes in all of New York City can be found at The Waverly Inn in the West Village: truffled macaroni and cheese.

A little back story: In my former incarnation as a Life & Style Scene Queen, many, many nights were spent at this fine Graydon Carter-blessed establishment. In the late aughts, this was literally the only place celebrities hung out. Beyonce's favorite? Also the mac and cheese. John Kerry? Liked to sit in the back room, which is normally considered Siberia compared to the more clubby central dining room. I may not have enjoyed spending nearly all of my free time getting pushed into the coat rack as Leonardo DiCaprio and his entourage exited on their way to The Beatrice, but there was very fabulous perk: the food. Whether I was munching on the aforementioned macaroni or snarfing up a skillet of table-side flambeed bananas Foster, I will always have very found memories of my meals there.

The mystical mac.

So what does all of this have to do with my engagement? Another backstory, if you will:

When Mike and I went on our first, "official" date, I basically told him that I was out and about every night for work, but if he'd like to meet me out at one of my designated hotspots, that would be fabulous.  In retrospect, I'm surprised he ever agreed to such obnoxious conditions, but I'm, obviously, glad he did. I found out much later that after I'd instructed him to meet me at The Waverly, he'd chatted with his brother and basically said something to the effect of, "Who is this girl?" In my mind, he's saying this as if I'm the second-coming of Helen of Troy, but I'm guessing the truth is more closely aligned with a "WTF is she thinking?"

ANYWAY, our date went swimmingly (we're getting married) and The Waverly Inn now not only holds a special place in my heart because of the awesome carbs, but because it is the location of the beginning of The World's Greatest Romance.

Fast forward to October of 2011. The night Mike proposed (you can read more about that here), he had told me he'd picked out a super special dinner to celebrate. "We're flying to Copenhagen and going to Noma?!" I yelled as I started rummaging around for my passport. "Err, no.  A little closer to home," he replied. But the minute the cab started heading towards Bank Street, I knew exactly where we were going. I'm big on romantic gestures: while heading to Per Se or one of the other fancy places uptown would have been beautiful, I'm sure, the dinner meant so much more to me because of all the happy memories associated with The Waverly.

Did I end up getting the mac and cheese? Sadly, that day's special was with white truffles, which at a cost equal to a new pair of Rag and Bone jeans, I couldn't justify. But that, my friends, was my gift to Mike: I'm learning budgeting after all!

and we're back!

china ... all the way to new york*