We stroll through the Upper West Side, stop at Levain Bakery, then continue down past Lincoln Center, through Columbus Circle, Hell's Kitchen—where we stop at the Amish Market on Ninth Avenue because Liam is apparently fascinated by the Amish—, on to Chelsea, and, finally, the oh-so charming West Village, which, in my brain, looks similar to what I imagine London to be: cobblestone streets, beautifully preserved brownstones, and way, way out of my price range.
After the long urban trek, I'm stoked to see the green and yellow awning that hang over the sidewalk outside of Tortilla Flats.
"Margaritas, ahoy!" I say, picking up the pace.
"Now we're talking," Liam says. "How's their guacamole?"
"Made table-side," I say.
"I do enjoy a cooking demonstration," he says. "I'll have to take notes so that I can try to recreate it."
"Big fan of Mexican food?" I ask.
"Huge," he says. "There aren't loads of places around London to get it, though. Curries we have covered, but not guacamole so much."
"I might need to reconsider this situation then. How am I supposed to survive without conveniently located, delicious Mexican food?"
"Spain isn't so far away," Liam says.
"Spain is not Mexico."
"I know that," he says, grinning. "I guess I'll just have to become very close friends with the Mexican ambassador."
"Do," I say.
When we reach the doors of Tortilla Flats, I realize something is off immediately: the popular restaurant is empty, save for the wait staff.
"Weird," I say as we step inside. "Usually this place is hopping."
When the tall, black-clad man with an earpiece steps into view, I suddenly understand.
"Did you guys close the restaurant down?" I ask Liam.
"Security decided it was the best thing to do," he says, looking apologetic. "I should have warned you."
Suddenly, a very nervous-seeming host says, "Welcome to Tortilla Flats! Let me escort you to your table."
I nearly laugh, but I don't want the guy to feel even more nervous.
"Thanks, mate," Liam says, and we follow him to the back room, where Emilia and Ben are already seated with bowls of chips and salsa set in front of them.
"I already ordered a pitcher of margaritas," Emilia says cheerily as Ben stands to greet us. He claps his brother on the back, and then leans down to plant a kiss on my cheek before saying, "Chuffed to see you again, Maggie."
"Thanks," I say. "It's nice to see you, too."
As we take our seats a server arrives with the pitcher and glasses.
"Oh, goody," Emilia says.
"Tequila girl?" I ask.
"Not usually," she says. "But for some reason I'm really excited about these."
"Be careful with New York margaritas," I say, and the entire table looks at me quizzically.
"I don't know what it is about this city, but the margaritas I've had here compared to margaritas I've had elsewhere—including Cancun on spring break my sophomore year of college—are incredibly strong. Like, one and done strong."
"Challenge accepted," Liam says.
"Don't get smashed, Liam," Ben says.
"Do you really think I would on a first date?"
YOU ARE READING
*An unedited royal romance* After graduating from journalism school in the midst of the American recession, Maggie Rhodes became frustrated with freelancing in New York. Having followed the British royal family since she was a child, thanks to the i...