Chloe and me, we were pretty much a 21st-century urban couple of a certain type. We met at a mock Iron Chef party that some friends of friends of mine put on—I think the theme was “Battle Matzoh,” with a team of out-of-work chefs throwing down the Streit's against a crew of laid-off CNET coders. The coders were winning when I spotted Chloe in a nurse’s outfit one size too small, drinking Manischewitz shots out of a tiki mug. Well, that was it for me. I’ve always had a soft spot for women in uniform who can hold their liquor.
It didn’t take long to convince her to leave the house she was sharing with 3 roommates on Cesar Chavez and move into my place in Oakland. I had a backyard, a Vitamix, a 3-year-old Saab, room for her cat and I always put the seat down, even when she was gone for the whole day at a yoga-and-goat-cheese-making retreat.
And we were pretty much in sync around most things. We’d recently switched our coffee from Ritual Roasters to Four Barrel to Sightglass. With their roastery in Williamsburg and their farmers' market lockdown in Temescal, Blue Bottle was over, Chloe insisted, pulling her curly hair into two Dr. Seussy-looking pigtails on the top of her head, and I had to agree, although secretly, I’d been kind of looking forward to being able to get one of their insane New Orleans iced coffees to wake me up for the drive home after a Sunday of Frisbee and Tecates in Dolores Park, even when it became obvious that their generator-driven coup wasn’t going to happen.
Since we both worked in Emeryville, we got together to eat lunch together almost every other day, sharing leftover jicama-kale salad or hitting up Primos Parrilla if our supply ran low. Sometimes when she was feeling cranky I’d walk over to her office and leave a couple of cupcakes from the Cupkates truck—one for her and one that she maybe didn’t have to know about for the cute maybe-lesbian-but-maybe-not receptionist with the mermaid tattoo and the skateboard kicked up at the back of her desk.
Chloe used to be vegan in college, but like most girls, she was just waiting for someone to feed her a really good pork chop wrapped in bacon and convince her that we could be ethical omnivores together. She’s still pretty skinny though; I’d like to go in on getting a whole pig with the neighbors down the street but I don’t know what our actual capacity for jowl and trotter might be. It’s not like I’m Chris Cosentino or anything, who could probably propose to a woman with a fried calf brain and a lamb tongue and still get lucky.