Got home at 9 last night and went to bed early like I do most Weekends lately. But let me tell you , I love Saturday’s! This Morning I’m skipping The Farmers Market and heading straight to Mariano’s. They have a BBQ Smoker Event going on and everyone knows how much this girl loves her food!
I get in line for a quick bite and pick up one of their new Spicy Italian Sausage Sandwiches. They smell Heavenly. I joke with the staff and go look for a place to sit but the outside patio is packed. I look over to a guy sitting by himself and sweetly ask “Is this seat taken”?
He looks up with the prettiest green eyes I have ever seen with a small dimple on his right cheek. Lord have mercy. I accidentally trip over the chair behind me and he laughs. “No, I was saving the chair for you” he says with a big smile on his face. I immediately turn bright red and am at a loss for words. WOW, Mr. Rico Suave where have you been all my life?
I recover with some small talk about the weather and how nice it is to sit outside and eat. As I slowly take a bite out of my Italian Sausage trying not to look at him while I devour it but it’s too late. OMG he’s totally enjoying watching me eat. He has a big grin on his face and comments that I dripped mustard on my shirt and once again I’m utterly embarrassed. What the hell is happening to me? I’m around gorgeous men all the time. Why is this one different?
“I meant to do that” I jokingly comment and he just smiles and finishes sip the last sip of his smoothie. Was it good?” I ask. Watching you eat your sandwich or my smoothie he asks. “Your smoothie silly”. “Yes, It was very good, I got the Green Machine with extra protein and ginger.” Ginger, really? Yes, Why? Because that’s why I get. One can never have too much ginger!
He gets up to leave, so I tell him it was nice talking to him. And he says “same”. But as he turns to walk away he hands me his business card. Call me Sometime. Julian Santos. Santos Inc. Chicago, IL. “City boy?” Actually No, I was born in the Countryside of Spain. That’s a nice surprise. There’s many more surprises where that came from Bonita. Talk to you soon. Si tienes suerte I say in Spanish. He winks and walks away.
I cannot even breathe for the next ten minutes I sware. My heart is still palpitating. But I grab my phone out of my purse and send a quick text. “Thanks for sharing your table”. He sends back a quick message “Anytime Mami.” Ahhh I think I’m going to faint.
I walk around in a daze for the next half an hour deciding on what to cook for dinner but I end up just grabbing some fresh fruit and veggies and some Gruyere and crackers. I get home shortly after 1 when my phone rings. “Hello, It’s Julian, I hope you do not think this is too forward calling so soon but do you have any plans for dinner?” Well I bought some delicious cheese and fruit that I was going to nibble on while I binge watch Real Housewives. Join me for dinner instead, he firmly asks. Is this a date? ‘Yes, I’ve been wanting to try out this new Restaurant in the area, the owners are a family friend. Do you like Spanish Food?” Me, like Spanish food? Of course. Ok, feel free to wear something casual if you’d like, It’s more of a mom & pop restaurant. May I pick you up at 7? Ugh, Sure. Should I run a background check first? If you’d like he says and he giggles. I exchange my address to my clubhouse instead of my exact building and he is there promptly at 7pm.
Hello Julian, Hola Bonita. I hope you love to eat. That I do. I respond. He looks over and smiles and he gently touches my hand, then we head to the restaurant. It was only about 15 minutes away so we make small talk as he drives. His voice is so mesmerizing. He has a slight accent but speaks very articulately. I love that. We arrive at a small building across the street from a beautifully landscaped park. He gets out of the car quickly and walks around to my door and opens it. WOW! Quite the gentleman. Thank you Julian I say as I’m grinning ear to ear.
He holds the door open and says “after you” as I walk in the most quaint and welcoming restaurant i have seen in a long time. Senor, Senora. This way says the Host as he seats us at a quiet table in the corner by the window. May I get you a sample of our house wine, he asks? Julian leans over and asks me, Would you like Wine Bonita? Yes, Thank you Red Would be wonderful. The kind older gentleman gives Julian a wink and pours two glasses. And walks away. Cheers to Many more dinners like this he says, as I blush.
The waitress returns with a craft bottle with water and limes in it. For you Senora? Yes, thank you and your Senor? Si, Gracias! Tonight’s special is … and my mind just drifts off as she explains. That sounds wonderful, and he orders something in Spanish that I couldn’t translate but it sounds intriguing. A few minutes later, The Host returns with some small bites to nibble and once again grins at Julian. I am in complete awe at how amazing this food tastes. And I accidentally drop food on my lap and Julian reaches over with his napkin. Thank you, yes I’m a bit dropsy sometimes. It’s OK, I think it’s cute. Just be yourself.
Julian, May I ask you something? Always. Why have you not asked me my name yet? Simple. Because since the moment I laid eyes on you I saw the beauty of your soul so I prefer to call you Bonita. Is that ok? Yes, but in Case you are wondering my name is Jacqueline. A beautiful name for a beautiful woman. Thank you again. You are full of compliments.
We get lost in conversation about the food and the restaurant when the waitress comes over with a plate of desserts and Julian insists I try the Chocolate Gnache cake. He leans over and grabs a spoon and hands it to me. You might need this. I laugh. Quite the comedian aren’t you. No, I just saw that you dropped yours and thought that it would come in handy.
We finish the meal with a small glass of Sangria and leave with a full belly. I can’t believe I ate so much but it was absolutely delicious. Thank you for inviting me out. You’re welcome Bonita. Would you like to walk through the park for a bit before we head back? That Would be perfect. He grabs my hand and admire the stars and the music faintly playing from down the street.