I care about food. People know I care about food. People I care about...care about food. So wedding catering is a huge decision and was a bit stressful (though tastings were a ton of fun).
I'm happy to report that we officially booked our caterer, Birchtree Catering!! Here's what won us over at our tasting.
Striped vegetable canapes - chive bread, salted cucumber, French breakfast radish, creme fraiche, dill
Like high tea in a garden. Which is exactly the vibe we're going for in our venue.
Hen of the woods tarts - Kennett Square mushrooms, house ricotta, pecorino, caramelized onion, herbs
The only thing worse than perfunctory carbs is perfunctory pastry. You know, that greasy cup that's clearly just a vehicle for whatever's inside. Find me at a cocktail party and I am the shameless person with the plateful of licked-clean pastry. Well this was not that. The pastry was fresh, an essential player rather than a boring stage.
Chicken shumai with lemongrass and malagueta chili oil
I like the idea of including some Chinese flavors in the menu, if only because they are cozy and familiar to me. But my mother, who doesn't mince words, says if my family wanted Chinese food, they'd go to a Chinese restaurant.
Lemon capon with roasted lemon, almonds and oven roasted olives, with ricotta gnudi and winter greens
Capons are the eunuchs of the poultry world. The lack of sex organs result in a less gamey taste (but who ever said chicken was gamey?) and meat that is more moist, tender and flavorful than hens or un-castrated chickens. Probably TMI.
Anyway, true to its breeding, this was super tender and flavorful. The lemon and olives brought acidity and bite. The gnudi was a surprise too. When I think of gnudi, I think of April Bloomfield's ricotta clouds. As my dad said, these were like mini knishes (high praise for him).
Smoky hanger steak with demi-glace, roasted sunchokes, frizzled maitake mushrooms, charred baby rainbow carrots
I know this plate looks kinda empty. But keep in mind, this is a tasting portion and we are really really stuffed by now. This was a solid meat dish, but we'll likely go with a red meat selection with more pow (like the skirt steak with chimichurri) or perhaps the bourbon braised short ribs.
Food is the most important deciding factor, but we also knew Birchtree was the one for us because of their care, competence and culture fit. Even their office in Global Dye Works reminded us of 195 Morgan, where I worked from 2010-2012 as the Marketing & Events Director of 3rd Ward, and where Dave works now, in a weird coincidence (different company though).
Now we have to figure out our service style (family style? plated? a hybrid) and finalize the menu. I have an image of no centerpieces...just giant platters of vibrant, delicious food. Flowers are great, but they're no food.