Sweethearts, spouses, and parents Ashley and Gabe Rodriguez found themselves deep into marriage and child-rearing when they realized they were spending most of their evenings staring at their computers. Determined not to let their relationship deteriorate into that of “roommates with children,” they institute a weekly date night tradition: they sauté, roast, mix and dice and spend time reconnecting over simple but thoughtful dishes like Crostini with Ricotta, Prosciutto, and Peas, Tomato and Fennel Gazpacho with Dungeness Crab, Fennel-Crusted Lamb Chops, and Dulce de Leche and Nectarine Creamsicles (sometimes even with an expertly chilled cocktail). Just carving out time to talk, cook, and eat together became the marriage-booster they needed, and now with her book, Date Night In she invites you to make date night an integral part of your week and shows you how to woo your partner all over again with food, drink, and conversation.
As part of this weekly date night, Ashley and Gabe decided to do a ‘coffee date’ in the great outdoors to savor the flavor and scenery.
“We were so young when we married. Wise enough to choose to spend the rest of our lives together but yet too young to know who we were. While that route may not be for everyone I am so glad that Gabe and I have grown up together.”
“I wasn’t into food when we met (which seems unimaginable to us now). In fact I was pursuing a career in medicine – a very short lived pursuit that eventually turned into an art degree with a teaching certification. Gabe was studying communication, looking ridiculously handsome in his navy peacoat, taking photos whenever he had the chance and not drinking coffee.”
“Twelve years later he’s drinking coffee, brewing it with over a half dozen methods, roasting his own beans and staying up till nearly dawn to clean and repair our burr grinder. He’s changed (although he still is quite handsome, more so I’d say).”
“In marriage it’s not an agreement to do life with the person they are on your wedding day, it’s a decision to marry who they are then, who they are now and who they will be. It is a commitment to love them through their growth and support their changes. Even if you marry at 40 you’re not going to be the same person at 60. Life has a way of shaping, refining and changing us. The hope is that you find someone who will continue to be at your side through it all.”
“My once coffee-loathing husband anticipated the opportunity for us to steal a moment alone on the beach during our recent vacation. He envisioned us lingering over a great cup of coffee while the gentle waves lapped at our feet.”
“So with the proper equipment in hand and a mug of boiling water we set out towards the still beach once the kids had been quieted. I marveled at the scene. Who is this man who will now go through such lengths to have us enjoy great coffee in such a desolate (and quite romantic, mind you) setting? He’s my husband, whom I love more than when he didn’t drink coffee.”
“I realize coffee is a petty change in the vast ocean of changes that have occurred in either of us through these years but for me it stands in as a sort of symbol for the other ones – the much greater ones. As with the other changes I’ve loved watching this passion for coffee evolve. I’ve cherished the moments that I can support him in this growing interest and if it one day fades or grows even further, I’ll love him still. Probably more so, as hard as that is to imagine.”
Source: Not Without Salt
Photography: Not Without Salt