There are those who love Valentine’s Day and those who shiver with dread the second week of February. I’ve always been lukewarm about it. I like (love) roses, I’m a chocolate addict, and it’s fun to go out to dinner—especially at a romantic place like Cibo Urban Pizzeria. That said Valentine’s Day is not very fun when you’re single, but well, after this Valentine’s Day, I will never be single again … Because I’m engaged to be married.
I’m a big fan of pizza—especially gourmet pizza, which is exactly what you’ll find at downtown Phoenix’s Cibo Urban Pizzeria. Cibo (pronounced “CHEE-boh”) is located in the historic part of downtown. The restaurant is situated inside a restored 1913 bungalow. The front yard dining area is covered in trees, adorned with white lights and illuminated plastic grapes. When sitting beneath the shadow of the old bungalow, you can see the Phoenix skyscrapers and the sunset, all in one glance. It is the most beautiful restaurant in downtown Phoenix.
Jake, who I’ve always recognized as romantic, suggested we celebrate our Valentine’s Day evening at Cibo. We got the perfect table, right beneath a spindly, old tree, with an ideal view of skyscrapers and bright pink clouds above a sinking sun. We went all out—the full three courses, plus a bottle of Italian pinot noir. Once completely saturated with mozzarella, fresh vegetables, spicy sausage pizza, and a Nutella/mascarpone crepe, I felt relaxed and overjoyed with my stupendously hot boyfriend.
Jake was the first to realize the tree behind me was not lit, and as the sun sank beneath the horizon, the front yard of Cibo’s tiny bungalow grew dark. First, Jake asked a waitress to get the tree lit behind me. Second, he asked the water girl. Finally, he inspected the tree himself. Ever the engineer, he miraculously brought the tree to life via an unplugged cord. He sat down, seemingly quite pleased with himself, and asked for the check.
As I admired the glittering lights in the tree above my head, Jake signed the bill. I reached across the table and took his hand. Then, he said, “Now, you’re not going to freak out. Okay?” I couldn’t move—I don’t think I even breathed—as he reached into his suit jacket and pulled out a little black box. He set the black box on the table in front of me, opened it, and said, “Will you grow old with me?”
I totally freaked out. I was blinded by the glittering thing in the black box, and I was equally blinded by how handsome my boyfriend looked in the candlelight. I was overtaken by the realization that this was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I squeezed out a clear “Yes” before evaporating into tears and hand-flapping. Jake caught my hand long enough to stick the ring on my finger before I sprang up and kissed every inch of his face.
I’m pretty sure the other couples at Cibo thought he’d broken up with me, until the bling went all a-twinkle on my left hand. Thankfully, Jake had already paid the bill. He grabbed my hand, and we escaped into the darkness of 5th Avenue, Phoenix, while I kissed him and hugged him him and kissed him and melted teary mascara down my face through the torrents of “I love you, I love you, I love you …”
Not only was this the best Valentine’s Day of my life, but this was the best day of my life. I’ve since learned that Jake did not want to propose on Valentine’s Day, because everyone expects a proposal on Valentine’s Day. I am not everyone; I was shocked. I think Jake even shocked himself, but he admitted on the car ride home that it couldn’t be avoided—Cibo was the perfect place to do it, on the perfect night, at the perfect moment.
Today, I still can’t stop staring at the twinkling diamond on my finger. I can’t stop practicing the words: “my fiancé, Jake.” The fairy tale has come true.
Initially, this was supposed to be a restaurant review of Cibo Urban Pizzeria. That was before I got engaged beneath the drooping trees, sitting at the crooked table. That was before I realized a simple, romantic dinner at Cibo would change my life. This isn’t a restaurant review. It is a review, written in commemoration of a night I will never forget. It lives on forever in words, in my heart, and now, in yours as well. Happy belated Valentine’s Day to you! Happy engagement to me and my Jake.