Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Fantasy Fulfilled

I am bound to get some pretty interesting hits from that title, ain’t I…

Have you ever day dreamed (or night dreamed) about walking into a restaurant and ordering every last thing on the menu, just to try a little bite of everything? To have a big long table covered with every manner and variety of food? If you have, let me know. We may have to be friends.

This long held gluttonous fantasy of mine just came true and I couldn’t be happier about it! World events conspired to make it happen. My friend Allen and his fiancée are planning their summer wedding. Minor snag in the plans, however – Elizabeth is in the Congo. Yep, the Congo. Thanks, State Department.

So what do you do when you have to plan the menu for your wedding dinner and your fiancée is in a war-torn African nation until the end of the month? Why, you procure a surrogate fiancée, of course! One that's a good eater, preferably. That’s where I come in.

Allen and Elizabeth’s catering company, Tastings, is run by a husband and wife team - she bakes and he cooks (could you imagine anything more perfect?). Tastings held a mass, well, tasting for all of their clients. They made cold and hot appetizers, entrees, sides, starches, cakes, candies, and dessert bars, a complete list of which is too long to reproduce here. Their clients had the chance to try a little (or a lot) of everything to decide what they would like to serve at their event.

From front to back: meatballs in Sam Adams sauce, speared with pretzel sticks, Boursin rosettes on pear slices, farmhouse shrimp with bacon and aged Parmesan, smoked salmon with dill creme on a cucumber round.

Not everyone there was planning a wedding – some people were working on Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, which made me laugh because my Bat Mitzvah party was at my house and I think we ordered pizza, which I enjoyed that waaaay more than all the stuffy black tie affairs I attended as a thirteen year old. Seriously. Thirteen years old and wearing a prom dress... There is simply no need. But I massively digress.

Mixed baby greens with mandarin oranges, jicama, red onions, and toasted almonds in herb vinaigrette

Besides poor Allen being traumatized by my being addressed as his fiancée, the evening was a complete and utter gluttonous blast. We were served some of the very best catered food I have ever had, blowing every wedding I have eaten my way though out of the water. There were numerous break out hits, including cocktail olives wrapped in puff pastry as a hot hors d’oeuvre (a brilliant idea that I am absolutely stealing for my next party), pork tenderloin with an apricot bourbon sauce, cooked to a prefect medium rare, as well as surprisingly good Teriyaki flank steak. I was expecting the normal American sugar-spiked sauce soy that passes for teriyaki, but it was subtle smoky and delicious. Hollowed out strawberries filled with cheesecake and covered in graham cracker crumbs were a stroke of genius. Oh, and the black and white chocolate cake - tall, airy and just sweet enough without being cloying, won our unanimous support.

The aftermath of two trips each to the entrée and dessert table (to get a taste of everything, not for sport) was extensive. Other than complete sensory overload from tasting about 60 different items in one evening and my pledging allegiance to a diet of brown rice and steamed vegetables for the next twenty years, the evening was marked by the birth of a draft version of Allen and Elizabeth’s wedding menu. I love milestones.

And I love it when life finds funny ways of giving you what you want, of fulfilling your fantasies.

In Allen's own words, "Oh, the carnage!"


JC said...

Wait, how did I end up at a food blog? Oh well, I guess since I'm here I might as well comment.

That sounds like an amazing experience! Was it difficult to remember all of the things you had tasted, or did you take notes? I think that would be really fun.

Anna said...

Hi JC, It wasn't terribly difficult to remember because 1) everything was rather distinct and for the most part, tasty, 2) I have a freakish memory for food, and 3) they gave us a list of everything they served that night. It was a long list. Three pages of list, to be precise.

Sorry to disappoint you and your search string :)

Hillary said...

Oh my goodness Anna - I have most definitely had that dream! I always want to try EVERYthing on menus. I'm soo so jealous, and yea, can we be friends?!

Rachael said...

This does sound awesome! YUM!(Though, the pork, bacon, shrimp and Bar Mitzvah boys all in one space seem a bit confused...LOL)

I hope your friend likes your choices for her wedding! :-)

Anna said...

Hillary - You're in. We can totally be friends :) All good eaters are friends to me.

Rachael - I try not to make sense of Jews a lot of the time, especially American ones. They are just all too different, with very different rules and values. I am still trying to figure out my own rules, now that I am a pork-eating Jew. Oy.