Ready to call it a day, I logged into my GMail Account one last time before I shut the laptop and saw an email from a local restaurant. I had signed up for its reward program seven years back. Every year, they sent me a 25$ gift card for my birthday and K and I would religiously go a week or two later and it would be our little treat. The once a year event we both looked forward to. I have fond memories of dining there.
A trip as a threesome with my girlfriends a year after I moved here. It was my friend’s birthday. We went shopping at the mall and entered the restaurant for dinner on an impulse. Calling K from a borrowed cellphone I excitedly shared that I was having dinner with friends. “Is it OK?” I asked knowing full well it would be. As we settled in the comfortable seats the soft lamps mellowing the shopping weariness from our faces, I looked around. It was the first fancy restaurant I had been to in the US. A far cry from the local Desi place K and I frequented. The menu looked huge. Scanning quickly for meat free options, I settled on minestrone soup and a spinach ravioli based of my more ‘experienced’ friends’ recommendation. The three of us giggled and shared stories. As we were wrapping up and digging into our purses to split the tab, a bevy of waiters surrounded our table carrying a tiny tiramisu with a single candle lit singing “Happy Birthday” to my friend. I don’t know how she reacted but I felt so touched that I think my eyes watered.
Thus started our tradition of frequenting this place for special occasions. There was nothing distinct or unique about it. Just a classy place, lovely ambience, good food and above all comfortable seating. So, today I blinked twice as I read it. They were closing the business down. After thirteen years of serving that area, they were gone. Just like that.
I did not realize I had such fond associations with the place till I realized along with the other small changes in our life, here was one more.
I will miss you Bertolinis.