A Sweet Start With ‘Pastéis de Nata,’ or Egg Custard Tarts from Portugal


Jonathan Randall Kay, a foodie with a sweet tooth, could not resist. As soon as Marc Elliot Rofsky mentioned during their correspondence over social media that he was going to Portugal the next day, Mr. Kay suggested he try the flaky, buttery Portuguese egg tarts, or pastéis de nata at Pastéis de Belém 1837 in Lisbon.

“He seemed full of life, full of energy, super fun, cool, creative,” said Mr. Kay, 35, who had connected with Mr. Rofsky on Instagram in July 2018, after noticing him in photos with mutual friends and friends of friends.

A couple of days after Mr. Rofsky returned from his weeklong trip, they met for the first time in person at Malaparte, an Italian restaurant in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. Before dessert, Mr. Rofsky handed him a souvenir — a crumpled bag containing two pastéis de nata from Lisbon.

“They were stale and smushed,” said Mr. Kay, who was delighted and touched by the gesture.

Before taking the subway home to to Park Slope, Brooklyn, where he grew up, “we had a sweet smooch,” Mr. Kay said. Mr. Rofsky, originally from Freehold, N.J., walked home to Chelsea.

“I’m going to marry that man,” Mr. Kay recalled telling a few friends, “who chuckled and said, ‘slow down.’”

A couple of days later they had dinner in the backyard at Colonia Verde, a Latin restaurant in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, where both recalled feeling a warm, golden glow between them.

“I didn’t know if it was the bistro lights or the feeling,” Mr. Rofsky said with a laugh.

Mr. Rofsky, 34, at the time the senior buyer in ready-to-wear at Barneys, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and international business from N.Y.U. He is now the buying director for ready-to-wear at Moda Operandi, a luxury women’s e-commerce website.

Mr. Kay, who was then clerking for Judge Deborah A. Batts of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, is now a product counsel at Google in New York. He graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Middlebury College, and received a law degree from Columbia.

They at first played it cool the following weekend in early August when their summer shares overlapped in the Pines on Fire Island. Mr. Rofsky spotted Mr. Kay at middle tea by the pool deck behind the Blue Whale bar and grill, where they danced to disco throwbacks until sunset.

“We ended up spending a lot of the weekend together,” Mr. Rofsky said. “It was the talk of our friend circles.”

A few days later, at Miss Lily’s, a Jamaican restaurant in the East Village, the conversation deepened. In their mid-20s, Mr. Kay lost both of his parents, and Mr. Rofsky, his father.

“We found common words where there had otherwise been moments of silence,” Mr. Kay said.

While they spent Labor Day weekend in Tulum, Mexico, Mr. Kay asked him to be his boyfriend amid the Mayan ruins.

In late-January 2020, Mr. Kay moved into Mr. Rofsky’s alcove studio in Chelsea once renovations began on his Park Slope apartment. But when the pandemic hit, the renovation halted, and the two continued to live together — often working inches from each other at a small bistro dining table.

In September 2020, they closed on a 1920 cottage-style brown shingle house in Becket, Mass. A month earlier, they had moved into the newly renovated Park Slope apartment.

“We had done all the married things,” Mr. Kay said. In the spring of 2022, after they adopted a bernedoodle they named Otto, they booked their wedding at Tanglewood for 2024.

On Aug. 18, 2023, Mr. Kay proposed after a hike to the top of Monument Mountain in the Berkshires, where he distracted Otto by throwing him a stick, before getting on one knee. (Otto was a ring bearer at their wedding.)

Mr. Rofsky’s “counterproposal,” as he called it, followed a few weeks later along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

On June 8, Ona T. Wang, United States magistrate judge in the Southern District of New York, officiated at Tappan Lawn in Tanglewood, in Lenox, Mass., before 135 guests, in a ceremony incorporating Jewish traditions.

The grooms wore sage and terra-cotta suits designed by Willy Chavarria. They exchanged rings created from gold jewelry melted down from Mr. Rofsky’s father and Mr. Kay’s parents.

“The colorful attire and décor reflected everyone’s joy and exuberance,” said Mr. Rofsky, who had created a dress code of garden prints, colorful cocktail and pajama chic for their three-day celebration.

At the reception, two drag queens, both members of the Haus of Assassins on Fire Island, appeared as the couples’ favorite performers: Nick Gaga, a Lady Gaga performer, Mr. Rofsky’s favorite; and Kamilla Kockman, a Beyoncé performer, Mr. Kay’s favorite.

And, of course, pastéis de nata were served.



Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top