I love going on dates. There is nothing better than leaving it all behind to spend a few hours of exclusive, romantic quality time with my favorite person.
When Tony and I met, he was under the impression that a successful date mandatorily had to be ingenious, elaborate, and expensive. Just to give you an idea, our second date was a 12-hour extravaganza involving a trip to San Francisco, a picnic, ultimate frisbee, a walk on the beach, a tour of the Japanese tea garden, and dinner at a Thai restaurant. He had originally planned to take me to a movie as well, but ultimately ran out of time.
I won’t deny that I do enjoy ingenious, elaborate and expensive dates. But what I really love is spending time with Tony. When I read the Five Love Languages book, it took me about thirty seconds to identify my “love language” as Quality Time. It took a little longer to convince Tony that I wouldn’t mind simpler dates (and would even like them. A lot). After we were married, he went through a period where he didn’t want to go on dates because he thought they were too much work.
While we were dating, I had even gone so far as to give him a list of free and low-key dates I thought would be fun. He flat out didn’t believe me. He thought that if we weren’t at the Symphony, a fancy restaurant, or at least monster trucking, it wasn’t a “real” date. So sometimes we just didn’t go on dates. And that was sad.
Like most everything else, though, dates in Italy turned out to be delightful. We didn’t have a lot of money, so elaborate and expensive was out. Since Italians seemed to spend most of their time in cafes, we decided to try it ourselves. Our favorite artisan gelato shop where we always took the kids was also an award-winning bakery and cafe. Rumor had it that they had once been sued by a woman who lived upstairs and was so overcome by the tempting smells coming from below that she was completely unable to stick to her diet.
At first, we were a little nervous, since we’d never bought anything but sandwiches for hungry children at an Italian cafe, and didn’t know the protocol. But we consulted a friend from church, who told us you just go in and seat yourself. Then the waiter comes to take your order. He eventually brings the bill, after which you go up and pay at the counter whenever you’re ready to go. Since it was autumn and getting cold (and we’re Mormon, so our list of “don’t drinks” is pretty long), we ordered hot chocolate. I’ve described it elsewhere, so I’ll just give you a picture:
Why yes, those cookies are floating on top of divine dark chocolate that’s so thick and rich you can eat it with a spoon. After that, we went to the same cafe every week and stayed for hours, sipping our hot chocolate and talking, just like all the Italians.
We always look back on those dates nostalgically. So I was delighted the other night when Tony took me to Rosemary’s Family Creamery, because it was the closest thing he could find to our Italian place. We had the profiteroles, and they were delicious; light-as-air cream-puffs filled with homemade ice cream. We ordered caramel sauce with it, instead of the normal hot fudge. The cream puffs were good. The ice cream was great. But the caramel sauce was amazing. It tasted just like the homemade caramels we used to make for Christmas.
But the best part was just sitting and talking for hours. Sigh. I know this is unforgivably mushy, but I love my Honey Bunny!