This week, Joshua and I celebrated the Jewish holiday of Tu b’Av, which is the Jewish answer to Valentine’s Day, although the only thing the two holidays have in common is love. Tu b’Av has very different roots. We love celebrating Tu b’Av instead of Valentine’s Day! Believe it or not, this was the sixth year we have celebrated together (or at all). We were amazed it had been so long! I have such lovely memories:
The first year was 2011, in Jerusalem. We started our relationship in May of the same year, and we were so excited to get to celebrate the Holiday of Love together, and it was a privilege to be in Israel, as well! Joshua had some business in Israel and planned to be gone for 6 weeks – after we had only been together for 6 weeks. It was very sad. Not only that, but he would be gone for our very first Tu b’Av. However, unbeknownst to him, I planned to surprise him and arrive in Israel four weeks into his trip, and spend the remaining two with him. I remember going shopping in a tiny little clothes shop near Ben Yehuda Street to buy a white dress (traditional for single women on Tu b’Av), as I had come unprepared. Joshua had also done some shopping, and showed up with a rose and a teddy bear (Tu b’Av is widely known and celebrated in Israel – there are teddy bears and roses for sale everywhere on the streets). We had a delicious dinner at the most expensive restaurant Joshua had ever paid for (I’m not a cheap date), and we were supremely happy.
The following year was the year we got married, but we weren’t married for Tu b’Av. All that year, we had been touring the world through our palates, tasting a different cuisine each month at various restaurants. That month, it was Mexican, and we went to a very tasty little place in downtown Matthews, Pure, which has since closed. I remember some kind of long and intense discussion afterward, but I do think we reached some semblance of agreement by the end of the evening. #compromise
In 2013, we got to celebrate as a married couple for the first time. We decided that we would continue the trend we had unwittingly started and pick a restaurant every year to which we had never been. That year, we chose The Wooden Vine, which is a beautiful space and has a very comprehensive wine list. I still have a picture of our empty cheese plate on my Instagram account – I remember ordering champagne and sitting at a high top. It felt very ritzy being uptown, as we didn’t go up there too often.
The following year, in February, Joshua got a new job at the Wells Fargo in uptown Charlotte, which meant he was uptown every day. We used this to our advantage by picking another uptown restaurant for our Tu b’Av – Vivace. It’s located in the Met and has adorable orange umbrellas for its outdoor seating. We did not sit outdoors, as it was August. 😉 I remember being pregnant at the time, and we were so overjoyed. I remember delicious salmon and a very verbose waiter.
In 2015, last year, I was driving home from Bristol, VA, to meet up with Joshua at the restaurant of our choice, in a new white dress! We picked The Fig Tree, which is in an old, Victorian home just outside of uptown. The waitress led us up creaking wooden steps and seated us at a small table with a pristine table setting. White tablecloths, sparkling glasses. We had the room to ourselves for most of the evening. The meal was astoundingly good. We still talk about going back sometime for a very, very special occasion.
And then, finally, this year. We had a place all picked out, but I happened to see some info about a brand new restaurant opening in Charlotte this year, called 204 North, located at 204 North Tryon Street. It seemed hip, and the cocktail menu made us laugh, because the cocktails are all named after areas of greater Charlotte. Our meal – and our entire experience – was perfect! From the parmesan pomme frites to the pimiento cheese ravioli to the sorghum sticky bun with rye whiskey ice cream (that was all Joshua’s meal), there wasn’t a wrong note. On top of that, we scored an awesome waitress. We will definitely be going back. In fact, Joshua has already lamented the fact that the restaurant is far too easy to get to from his office, and he might be “running late” a few nights a week… 😉
It shocked me to realize I had been celebrating the holiday of love for six years, when I haven’t even been married for four, but time flies! I love our tradition of new restaurants every year. I love that I still have my teddy bear from the first year. I love that Joshua and I pick out Valentine’s Day cards for each other in February, and save them for Tu b’Av, because they aren’t sold in August. I’m hoping we continue to make new traditions and new memories, while keeping the old. #silverandgold