How We Met
Steve and I met each other in a classic “when worlds collide” fashion. Steve’s roommate played in an Irish band with a friend of mine from college, who also happened to be the local rep for Brooklyn Brewery. He’d invited all of them to a Brooklyn Brewery “Philly Mash” event at a restaurant – all about food and beer. Steve, interestingly enough, was supposed to be at a wedding that weekend, but after a mishap with some car keys, ended up having to take the train back to the city. While in line waiting for food, Steve recounted for his friends this crazy string of bad luck that led him to still be in town. I overheard Steve lamenting, and couldn’t help but chime in with some teasing. They soon bonded over a love of Philly’s food scene (I spend some time writing about it, Steve loves to eat it), shared Spotify playlists, and an affinity for queso fundido.
Inevitably, after a bit of hemming and hawing, Steve extended an invite to a romantic BYOB for a real date, and we both knew that night there was no looking back. Thanks to public transportation, a LOT of early-morning scones and Cobb Salads, and countless trips to the Jersey shore, they grew closer over the following three years, moving from their separate Rittenhouse and Graduate Hospital homes to a shared apartment in Fishtown in 2017.
Next stop: cohabitation!
And then, in 2018, Jordan found another love in her life: Gritty, the irreverent and bizarre Flyer’s mascot. Don’t worry, this comes into play soon.
How They Asked
Steve knew he wanted the proposal to be something special, and something uniquely fit for my interests. (which ultimately include food, sweat, and a few Philly businesses) So, under the premise of having to head into the office for some work during the day, Steve laid out the “rules of the game” warning her there would be a slew of clues taking her all around the city for a day of self-care and fun in her favorite city as a belated anniversary gift. Clue One was set by her teapot in the morning and the game was afoot!
The clue alluded to a particular boutique fitness studio’s “East” location so, after a bit of sleuthing, I sped off to the subway, rushing to my first stop: a workout class at Unite Fitness. As a freelance writer about food, fitness, and wellness trends, I couldn’t imagine a better way to start the day than with a good sweat. And, having completed the 75m class, I was presented, Clue Two.
This one hinted at rainbow streets and cheese that’s best fried – that was an easy one: a restaurant in the Gayborhood with notoriously addictive fried cheese curds. Waiting at the restaurant, the brunch menu at the ready, was my buddy Liz, waiting with an order of gooey, golden curds, fluffy pancakes, and the third clue.
After we feasted at brunch, my friend presented me with Clue Three, suggesting I head back to where it all began. This set me off to Steve’s old apartment (where a few of his friends still live). Steve had left me a change of clothes, and all the necessary toiletries (including a hairdryer), so that I wasn’t a sweaty mess for the rest of the day. The trick was that they were going to end the night at a nice dinner, with no time to change later, so this was a good opportunity. Also, that’s where Clue Four was waiting.
Clue Four was the only one I struggled with, but it mentioned the flowers by Rocky, so she began strolling in the direction of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. After a gentle nudge from Steve, I quickly realized my destination was, in fact, a florist I’d used when we attended our first Dîner en Blanc together (I am on the planning team for the all-white pop-up in Philadelphia, spending much of my summers working on the event). I hopped on a bus to make up the lost time, walking into the shop minutes before they closed. There, waiting atop a flower crown reminiscent of the one I’d worn at the 2016 Dîner en Blanc, was Clue Five.
This one referenced the Pixar classic, Coco and an ocean full of blue fishes, so I grabbed a rideshare across town to “Coco Blue'” – a nail salon, where another pal was waiting for manicures (and, to Steve’s chagrin, a last-minute decision for pedicures, which nearly threw the timeline off entirely). BUT, my friend whipped out Clue Six at the end of the pampering, and I scampered off to one last Philly favorite, tipped off by a tea-themed clue, leading me straight to a matcha latte and a new book for a bit of relaxation.
However, that relaxation was short-lived, as Steve sent me a short text “drink fast”. Realizing I was coming dangerously close to our dinner reservation (that didn’t actually exist), I hustled across the street home, where I was told to meet Steve on the rooftop for a special treat before the dinner.
Exhausted and intrigued by the day, I had no expectation of a proposal but ascended the stairs to find, not Steve, but a cake topped with a bright orange, edible statue of my other love – Gritty. Expertly crafted by Whipped Bakeshop, the carrot cake had three simple words:
Steve soon joined me on the roof, presenting me with a ring from Philadelphia-based jeweler John Marchiafava of Marchi Jewelry before surprising me, yet again, with their families waiting downstairs with bottles of bubbly and lots of hugs. Other friends quickly arrived, surprising me one last time by gathering on the roof while Steve and I took a quiet stroll around the neighborhood shortly after the proposal.
MANY photos were taken of the cake, and it’s distinctly possible that I kept the fondant Gritty (for the memories).