Well, I did it... and I made it through in one piece. The weekend couldn't have been any better. The suite at the Fairmont was amazing and dinner at Oceanfront (Hotel Casa del Mar) was fabulous. You walk into the ornately decorated lobby of the Hotel Casa del Mar and towards the far end next to the large windows is a lounge/bar area. We both had a cocktail before our table was ready. At this point, she had no idea. The restaurant is off to the side of the lounge in a large open area. We were seated along the windows and had an excellent view of the sunset and ocean down below.
To make this post on topic, I will post our dinner for the evening. We started off by sharing the crab, avocado, and cucumber tartar with gazpacho coulis. Excellent flavor and more than enough to share. At this point my nerves were jumping, so it was hard to each much of anything. But, the food was excellent. For dinner, my fiance (man, its weird to say that) had salmon stuffed with portobello mushroom, braised broccolini, and white polenta. The salmon was very good, but the polenta was a bit bland. I had potato wrapped swordfish on a bed of leek fondue with a syrah lobster jus that was out of this world. The potato was crispy while sealing in the juice of the swordfish. And the lobster jus was excellent.
I had pre-ordered a mini tiramisu cake (her fav dessert) and had them write "Will You Marry Me?" on the plate in chocolate sauce. However, there must have been some miscommunication. I had originally thought about having the chef place the ring in/on the cake, but decided against it and called the hostess to tell them my plan had changed. Instead, I kept the ring in my pocket and would get down on one knee as soon as the waiter brought the cake. After dinner was cleared, I started to get a little anxious. I kept glancing at the waiter, and he would nod and acknowledge that I was ready (or, so I thought). After waiting about 10-15 minutes without any cake, my fiance kept saying, "Did he forget about us? Let's get the check so we can leave." Well, the waiter came over and brought us dessert menus and asked if we wanted any coffee. I ordered an espresso to give us some more time. Again, the espresso was brought over, but still no cake. Finally, she got up to go to the rest room and the waiter came over to find out if I was going to give him the ring. I said no, the plan was changed. Apparently, the hostess failed to update the waiter on the plan. However, he immediately recitified the situation and as soon as my fiance returned, I could see him start over with the cake. He set it down in front of her and immediately got on one knee. Man, the tears began to flow like a river and all she could do was stare straight ahead at the cake. I told her how much I enjoyed sharing my life with her and how I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. Will you marry me?, I asked. No answer, just tears.... and she still hadn't looked at the ring yet. I said, "Renika, forget the cake... look at the ring".... more tears and she finally gave me her hand so I could put the ring on her finger. With emotions so high, and a little nervousness on my part, I put the ring on the wrong hand... "The other hand", she said. Ooops.... Well, everything was wonderful. I quickly took care of the check (which was very reasonable... under $100 for 4 martinis, an appetizer, 2 entrees and the pre-ordered cake... along with a wonderful view). Back at the hotel, I opened the room door and there was a trail of pink, red and white rose petals from the front door to the bedroom and the bed was covered in petals.... There was a bottle of Dom chilling with 4 of the biggest, sweetest chocolate covered strawberries on a bed of cinnamon sugar. WOW!!! Another one of her fav desserts. We polished off the champagne while she called all of her family and friends to tell them of the great news.... of course, as previously stated, her family already knew (thanks to her mom).... but it was all wonderful nonetheless.
On Sunday, we enjoyed the morning with breakfast in bed and then headed off to Venice to spend the early afternoon with my dad on his rooftop deck. Her mother and I had planned a big Father's Day/Family Engagement Party at Taj's Palace (formerly, Gaylord's on La Cienega). So, another wonderful evening with both of our family's and some excellent Indian food. More tears and more emotions as my fiance saw her 2 sisters (one of whom had no idea). The food here was excellent too, although I don't remember everything we had. The requisite speeches and "welcome to the family"'s. A very overwhelming weekend that Renika will cherish for years to come. She now has the "story" that she always wanted to be able to tell.
Thanks to everyone for your suggestions and words of encouragement. While I just began posting here, I have always enjoyed discovering new places to eat. I'm sure you'll be seeing more of me around here.