Wednesday, March 28, 2012

More Menu Planning With the Carnivore and the Vegetarian

The last time I talked about menu planning, we were working out a menu for our rehearsal dinner at my meat loving fiance's favorite new restaurant.  We recently revisited menu planning when we had our testing at our venue, Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards.

With a farm-to-table philosophy, the Pippin Hill menu is seasonal, so we knew we'd be putting this part of our planning off until a couple months before our wedding.  When the Spring menu came out, we pored over nine pages of options to pick our tasting menu.  We'd taste seven hors d'oeuvres, two salads, and two entrees to select five hors d'oeuvres for cocktail hour, one salad, and one or two entrees.  We had a lot of trouble narrowing down all the options, but ultimately would up with this tasting menu:

Marc, Marc's mother and I were joined by Whitney and Kelly from Pippin Hill for our tasting.  Forgive me, but I was so caught up in the amazing food that I didn't snap a single picture of what we ate.  Kelly emailed me some pictures of the tasting portions of our salads and entrees.  These are much smaller servings that what our guests will get.
The hors d'oeurvres were are fantastic, but we ultimately cut the grilled prawn and croque monsieur off the menu.  We liked both of them, but thought the lobster roll and friend oyster were great options for the seafood lovers.  The croque was fantastic, but we'll have another croque at our rehearsal dinner and wanted a little variety.  The big surprise was the goat cheese lollipop.  I didn't expect to like it, but I absolutely loved it!  The stuffed baby potato came with a little dab of crème fraîche and they'll add a dribble of caviar on the big day.  It seems simple, but that tiny bite was wonderful.

For the salad course, we were choosing between a watercress salad with fruit, nuts, and ash covered cheese and an heirloom tomato salad with buffalo mozzarella.

 Photos by Kelly Knox of Pippin Hill Farm

I personally love heirloom tomatoes, but Marc isn't a huge fan, so while I wanted the second salad, I thought the first would be the winner.  Surprisingly, I loved the first salad more!  The cheese from Caromont Farm was amazing.  I found myself really hoping that I get to eat at the wedding.  Marc and his mother liked both and didn't seem to favor one over the other.  I think we're going with the watercress.

Next, we had to taste the entrees.  We were fairly certain we were going to offer a choice of beef or salmon. 

 Photos by Kelly Knox of Pippin Hill Farm

As the vegetarian (really pescetarian), I was only really interested in the salmon.  I gave Marc the tenderloin off the meat plate and ate the rest (truffle potato fondue, grilled asparagus, and heirloom beets with oyster mushrooms).  I thought it was great.  Everyone cleaned their salmon plates, though.  When I read the menu, I wasn't sure about the buttered leeks that came under the salmon, but they were delicious, as were the balsamic tomatoes and grilled asparagus on that plate.  Marc and his mom raved about the salmon dish.  They both said they'd be ordering the salmon.

We decided to still offer both the meat and salmon options, but Marc said he's going to strongly recommend the salmon to his meat loving friends

I left our tasting very surprised, but pleased, by the outcome!

Was anyone else surprised by how their menu turned out? 

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