On November 21, 2009, I went on a date with a intriguing gent I met while working at POM Wonderful. 5 years, 2 months and 16 days later, he proposed to me at Eataly in Chicago. To many people, this might seem like a strange choice for such an epic life event, but to me, Eataly was the perfect space, the perfect place to begin the rest of our lives together.
In January 2014, we moved from LA to Chicago and our apartment happened a 5 minute walk from Eataly, which had just opened. The first time I walked in, my heart swelled with joy, as I gushed over the large, pink Pandoro boxes, and the idea of living in Chicago got a bit brighter. My initial response to this magical land of Italian food and drink was as follows:
“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god! Seriously? This is heaven! This is heaven and it’s only two blocks from our new place!” I’ve actually hyperventilated twice now at Eataly … the first time we set foot inside the massive, two-story European marketplace-meets-cafe-meets-restaurant and the night I got engaged!
After watching countless friends plan weddings, get married, and have babies, my patience was running pretty thin, having been together for 5+ years. I was hopeful he’d pull the trigger soon … but had no clue it would happen on a random Friday in February, which also happened to be the weekend of his 30th birthday!
He told me he’d like to leave work early that Friday and start his birthday weekend at Eataly, grab a glass of his favorite prosecco, then maybe dinner at a steak house. When we arrived at Eataly, he went to get us two glasses of wine, and that’s when I heard an a cappella group start signing and turned around—they weren’t looking at me, so I figured Eataly had some live music and then … I heard the song. Marry You by Bruno Mars … “oh great, who else is getting engaged before me?” I thought, trying not to feel annoyed on David’s birthday weekend. And then he handed me my glass of bubbly, and said a more serious king of I Love You, and that’s when I knew … this was my time, my proposal, this was happening now, at Eataly! “I want to spend the rest of my life with you … will you marry me?” YES! YES! YES! And that was it … cue the waterworks.
Then I saw my mom and dad walking towards me and his mom and dad, who all flew in for California for the surprise, and my ice skating coach from when I was a child, Jenny and her hubby Nick who live in Chicago and are like family. And I knew this really was a dream come true!
When I asked him how he chose Eataly and how he knew I’d love it, he just smiled and said, “Because it’s so us. We love it here, everything about it.” At home, we’re inspired weekly to try new recipes, from Lidia’s Favorite Recipes cookbook (they have a great cookbook selection) or because the fishmonger tells us about skate wing, and how to prepare it perfectly. I even got my first Le Creuset dutch oven at the boutique next door, because the butcher said that was the BEST way to cook beef short ribs and he was right. On a week night, after a long day of work, we settle in at the bar at La Carne or Il Pesce, knowing that no matter what we order, it will be satisfying and well prepared.
As you can surmise, Eataly has become a cornerstone in our lives, by feeding out tummies and our creative, cooking souls and now it will forever hold a special place in our minds, mouths and hearts!
Special thanks to Valeria and the Eataly crew who helped my fiancé (I can say that now!) plan such a magical night! We’re excited to begin our delicious life together!
43 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611
Food Flirt Tip: The Best Gluten Free Pasta – by it upstairs at Eataly