"I have to pee but I don't trust you guys"

...you know your meal is good when one of the people you're eating with won't leave the table to use the bathroom for fear that when she comes back, all of the food will be gone. And so went our May monthly dinner.

About a year and a half ago my three best friends and I were enjoying a Friday night dinner together at the once fantastic, and now sadly closed, Salt in SOHO. When the check came we all pulled out our wallets and the waitress groaned as we asked her to please split the bill evenly by four. Midway through the killing of 4 trees in the production of our receipts, I realized this splitting and signing was all a bit silly.  So, I suggested that instead of getting together for dinner once in a blue moon, and splitting the bill six ways from Sunday, we commit to a monthly dinner with a rotating pay cycle.

The rules are simple: every month we get together for dinner and one person pays, the person paying picks the restaurant and no body's turn can fall on the same month as their birthday. This little arrangement not only solved the "please split this four ways and don't spit in our coffee" conundrum but also ensured we would see each other at least once a month (not an easy feat when trying to coordinate the schedules of a jewelry store manager, reading teacher, media planner and advertising strategist, hailing from the East Village, Upper East Side, Jersey City and Upper West Side all while juggling work functions, boyfriends and most recently a fiance')! Phew...try that in your google calendar for size.

This month it was my turn and I picked Buddakan, a delicious, and highly talked-about, Asian Fusion restaurant in Chelsea right next to the Chelsea Market. For those of you who own every season of Sex and the City and have seen both movies more times than you'd like to admit know a thing or two about pop culture, this is where Carrie and Big's rehearsal dinner was filmed...swoon.

We arrived without a reservation at 7:30pm on Wednesday night, risky in NYC in the Spring, but were seated right away. We quickly devoured the menu and decided on a few appetizers, entree's and a vegetable to share. We opted for the following:  Edamame Dumplings which my friend Megan eloquently described as "puffs of edamame goodness" (and followed with a text the next day saying she wanted to live in one),  the Deviled Tuna Tartare which arrived on a bed of something green which we all assumed to be avocado (wrong, it was deviled egg), Beef lettuce cups which were to die for, spiced tofu and cashews with dried pineapple (ah-mazing), broken chili chicken (eh, take it or leave it), and charred asparagus. Let's just say the waiter came over mid-meal to apologize for the asparagus taking so long, to which we replied "no, it already came and we ate it"...drawn your own conclusions.

Amazing food aside, these dinners are something I look forward to every month. At the end of the day, these are my best friends in the world. They have known me for eleven years and understand me better than anyone, even my own family at times. They have been by my side through graduations, break ups, first dates (too many!), hazy nights, sports injuries, apartment hunting, countless laughs and so much more that i'd never be able to list here. They are like my sisters and at each one of these dinners, no matter how stressed I am in other walks of life, I am reminded of how much fun we have together and of how lucky I am to have them in my life.

Outside Buddakan

I hope you all have friends in your lives who make you feel as loved as these three girls do for me. As we kick off the Summer  (during which 3 of us will turn 25 and one already is) I'm so happy to have our check-splitting-free dinners, contagious laughter, friendship and sisterhood.

The four of us after apple picking a few years ago

Have a great Memorial Day weekend everyone! Happy watermelon eating, popsicle licking, bathing suit wearing, barbecue-going, season.