Friday, June 6, 2008

Our first tasting

Ah, I love food. When looking at so-called wedding porn... no, that's not meant literally. I'm not talking about the increasingly-popular trend of pre-wedding boudoir shots, but rather photographs of decor and details. Like the fabulous (FABULOUS! I can't help myself...) photos on Abby Larson's Style Me Pretty. Even my cold, un-girly heart thaws slightly at these photos. Anyhoo, when I'm ogling the wedding porn, I usually end up drooling over gorgeous place settings. Generally, there aren't a lot of food shots. However, there are great shots of tables and settings with the occasional speck of food.

Well, it's going to be different with us. I hope. I want some shots of the food and I especially want the food to be fabulous. D. and I will actually try to take some time to actually eat the meal we planned. The WIC (Wedding Industrial Complex) demands that we have a "theme" to the whole affair. Fine. The theme is: THE BEST DAMN DINNER PARTY EV-AR. How's that?

With that said, we had our first tasting today. We weren't expecting much... small portions, mediocre food, etc. Since our expectations were so low, we were blown away by what we were served. For one thing, it was a full-sized 4-course meal. Secondly, it was good food. Quite good. Much better than I expected. Lastly, they surprised me with their take on

First up, the appetizers: satay chicken, bacon and cheese on new potatoes, and potstickers. With D., it wouldn't be a wedding without his beloved potstickers.

Satay chicken fell flat... no seasoning, but the chicken was moist. The potatoes were great and I loved that they were bite-sized. It's a great amuse bouche. The potstickers were deep-fried, which I don't like, but D. was satisfied and that's all that matters.

D.'s steak frites. We're actually going to re-taste this, because the steak was near-inedible. For some reason, it was really tough and tendon-y, so they'll make it again with a better portion of beef.

The fries were insanely perfect. Those are definitely on the menu. The mushroom-based demi-glace was fine.

One of the vegetarian station options was risotto, so we opted to taste it. The risotto is served plain, with pesto or saffron-infused cheese as mixers. For "toppings," there were asparagus, roasted peppers, and olives with blue cheese. It was really good... I'm worried it would be a little plain for the vegetarians, so I'd appreciate some feedback from the vegetarians out there in the interweb... would this appeal to you? Or does it seem like yet another carnivore's attempt to turn a side dish into your meal?

Lastly, the fabled bouillabaisse. Somewhere in Paris, in Port d'Orleans (I think.), there's a little mom-and-pop restaurant that forever ruined me by serving the perfect bouillabaisse. Hearty and home-cooked, bouillabaisse brings me back to Paris. It reminds me of my mother, who spent years there. I've never tasted an American version as good and I still haven't, but this dish was a damned good attempt.

Why attempt to include it in the menu? Well, D. and I first wanted a menu that reflected both Chinese and American. Unfortunately, to many companies, it meant some horrible bastardization of Chinese food. Instead of risking sub-par food just to fit our "vision," we scrapped the idea in favor of French-bistro cooking. Figuring it would play along with our engagement, it would be simple and hearty food that had the best chance of pleasing the majority of our guests. Furthering the inspiration was our first-choice caterer, which happens to be owned by a Frenchman. I wasn't sure what to expect when I suggested bouillabaisse, which wasn't on the menu, but hopefully the owner/chef knew how to make it. He did and it was nicely done.

The broth was deliciously rich and infused with a hint of saffron. There was a smidge too much white wine in it, but not so much that it affected the product. There were huge scallops, shrimp, and green mussels in it. It was really good. Served with a crusty baguette, it would make a great meal, especially during a cool evening.

I really hope this translates well when prepared for 100+ people. Whew! Talk about my dream wedding. Hehe.

5 bites:

Anonymous said...

Local SD veg here - love your blog. I'd definitely see if you can add some veggies of some sort to the risotto. Maybe a mix of grilled seasonal veg to balance it out.

Meandering Eats said...

Thanks for stopping by! I'm thinking a ratatouille with seasonal veggies... how does that sound?

Carol said...

That looks amazing! I'm so glad you found a frenchman who does wedding tastings.

Firstly, I'm totally the wrong vegetarian to ask for an unbiased opinion because I think risotto is a wonderful dish.

Secondly, on carnivores pulling one over our eyes: that totally happens a lot, haha. But not to worry, from your description it sounds like they added enough veggies to make it a main meal. *And* sometimes simpler is better: letting the veggies stand on their own is better than scarfing down a cheap veggie pizza where all the veggies are metaphorically screaming at the top of their lungs over each other. )

Fran Z said...

The food looks yummy esp the bouillabaise! Best of luck on your wedding!

Jared said...

Looks like a great soup. Good thing they didn't skimp on the shrimp, scallops and mussels. I've ordered similar dishes and have ended up with one runty shrimp, a massacred scallop and traces of a muscle in a briney broth.

5 bites