Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A preliminary tasting

When it comes to food, I guess you could say that I am a little bit picky. I am that annoying person who orders salads with dressing on the side and entrees without heavy sauce. I ask for my pizza to be cooked "well done," and I don't eat red meat. Yikes; I am a waiter/waitress' nightmare. So, when it came to menu selection for our wedding, I knew from the start that it might be somewhat of a challenge. On one hand, we want all of our guests to be happy with the food available at our reception. But, on the other hand, I don't want to offer items that didn't represent foods that Justin and I would eat ourselves.

When we sat down with the manager at Carlouel (Chuck) to discuss our menu, we started off by determining the style in which we wanted the food served. Like some other Bees, we decided to go the tasting station route for our reception, as it would provide our guests with a variety of options. We will feature 5-6 tasting stations for our guests to choose from.

For our first tasting (yes, I said in there will be another one...most likely because I'm crazy), we worked with Chuck to create what we thought would be a delicious set of stations. Carlouel does an awesome job with their tastings; both my parents and Mr. Buttons' parents were allowed to attend to help us ponder the menu.

First up: Appetizers

Apparently, I was so hungry and excited about the tasting that I forgot to take a photo. Whoops. We tried:

  • Bruschetta
  • Grilled Andouille sausage (which would be prepared outside in the cocktail hour area)
  • Raspberry brie puffs
  • Stuffed mushrooms (3 varieties: crab, sausage, and spinach)
  • Grouper sliders

For the most part, all of the appetizers went over well! Bruschetta is familiar, but my mom wanted to explore the idea of something less carb-filled (perhaps something like a caprese salad turned into finger food form). The grilled sausage would probably be a big hit, as it would be grilled outside in front of the guests (most likely with some shrimp as well). We could take or leave the brie puffs and stuffed mushrooms (although tasty). The grouper sliders were hands down the favorite of the group, and it is kind of "the thing" around this area to we know we are going to incorporate them in some way.

Next up: Entrees. Carlouel served our table a large entree portion of each, and we passed/shared to try everything.

We tried a few variations of lobster. This version featured julienne vegetables and spanish rice:

The next one was a grilled lobster tail served with sweet potato fries and green beans. Justin pretty much ate everything off the plate...he barely let anyone else try it! What can I say, the man likes lobster! This was definitely the preferred dish of the two lobster ones.

"Steak and Cake:" beef tenderloin served with a crab cake, mashed potatoes, and julienne vegetables

A different variation of the "steak and cake," but with green beans/a different presentation. Overall, we weren't completely won over by either.

Chicken stuffed with spinach and sundried tomatoes. It was served with spanish rice and grilled vegetables. I liked the concept of the stuffed chicken, but I wasn't going ga-ga over it.

Chilean sea bass with chimichurri sauce, served with julienne vegetables. This was by far the best dish we had that evening. I mean, who doesn't love Chilean sea bass? It is magical...and it is my favorite. We were definitely set on serving this as a tasting station.

Another variation, this time with green beans and spanish rice:

Overall, our "preliminary" tasting at Carlouel went relatively well. We tasted some appetizers that we loved, as well as some entrees. From this point, we were able to determine what we absolutely must serve (like the Chilean sea bass), and what we wanted to nix (chicken, "steak and cake"). If you can deduce from this post, Justin and I had some work to do on the menu! We have 5-6 stations to select, and after our preliminary tasting we only had one station that we were unanimously set on!

So, back to the drawing board we go...

Did you have a difficult time selecting your menu? What were your must have items? Did you sample something you DIDN'T like at a tasting?


  1. Man, ALL that food looks great. Chilean sea bass is indeed divine. We never did a tasting (it was a restaurant we found last minute) but food ended up being great!

  2. I don't like that the steak is swimming in so many juices.

  3. Oh man I saw andouille and got a little too excited for you. Heheh...everything looks delicious by the way! Totally beats my cheerio bfast right now. :)

  4. Can you just deliver all that food straight to my house? I'm hungry. All of that looks amazing, esp. the seafood dishes!!


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