our wedding : the food

The most discussed aspect of our wedding was the food. Hands down. We started quite early in our quest to find a caterer, mostly because living in the Washington DC metro area means you must contend with big events AND weddings, and because I had my eye on a specific guy whose work I read about on A Bitten Word a few years ago. We decided that we'd approach the hunt for the right caterer as all people should - research, interview, sample, rate, decide. We didn't want to limit ourselves to solely focusing on our dream caterer because, well, what if it didn't work out? We also wanted a caterer who would be willing to work in an unconventional wedding space, and someone who was particularly skilled at small bites/appetizers, as we were jumping on that fadwagon with our celebration.

The first caterer I contacted was a dud. I said to him, "our tastes lean toward more southern and Italian cuisine" to which he responded, "so like pasta and fried stuff?" My head exploded, and left me immediately feeling defeated. I decided that it was appropriate, at that point, to contact our caterer of choice and see how that conversation went. He got it right the minute the question escaped my mouth. Oliver Friendly of Eat & Smile Catering was bright and energetic, clear and organized in his monologue about his company, and filled me with such hope about our plans. We went to a tasting at his house, which was coincidentally a block away from our old apartment, and we were served the most incredible, fresh, local, sustainable and hearty morsels of food we've ever had. His enthusiasm for great food was inspiring, and we left his house knowing he was the one.

The next 18 months involved a lot of e-mailing, a walk through of our venue to make sure we were on the right track as far as layout, appliances, tables/chairs, and so on. He really helped us navigate the unconventional wedding space...Em's dad's house...and was excited to cook in the kitchen, which was spacious, well-equipped, and perfect for the day. He, and his partner/wife Alex (an incredible photographer), also helped us refine our menu, clarify our choices, and the sequence of events that we wanted to have for the evening. They were warm and understanding in situations where I feared other caterers might be cold and detached. It was a refreshing experience overall.

Our menu was INCREDIBLE and suited us both to a T:
  • Caprese with Thai Basil and Aged Balsamic
  • Beef Empanadas with Sage and Queso Fresco
  • Vegetarian Wontons with Sweet Chili Sauce
  • BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Homemade Bread and Butter Pickles
  • Codcakes with Tartar Sauce 
  • Homemade Kielbasa with House Made Grain Mustard and Corn Hash
  • Jalapeno Poppers with Goat Cheese Stuffing and ‘Ranch’ Dipping Sauce
  • Beet and Goat Cheese Crostini with Chive
  • Roasted Cauliflower Mash with Local Prosciutto and Roasted Garlic
  • Sliders with Local Cheddar, Spicy Ketchup
  • Romaine Thai Pulled Chicken in Butterbib Lettuce Leaf
  • Fried Mac N Cheese with Spicy Ketchup
We also served a signature cocktail in mason jar mugs - Cider Black & Tan - which was a mixture of local apple cider and ginger beer, topped off with Knob Creek if desired. It was delicious and extremely well-loved!

The dedication to impeccable tasting and perfectly composed food is what led us to Eat & Smile, and we hoped that our friends and family would appreciate our decision to go with them. The staff that Oliver brought along with him was friendly, focused, and immediately welcomed into the fold of our big day (especially Michael!)...even my brother, who has cater-waitered at some of NYC's finest events and is a bit of a boss about things, loved the team from E&S. Guests would chase down the servers or wait, salivating, along the kitchen counter for the next thing or a favorite they developed. Our "friendtographer" Pang's boyfriend stood guard at the entrance to the kitchen to make sure he got a codcake every time a fresh batch left the kitchen. We were worried that people might not get enough to eat with the small bites, but everyone left feeling impossibly and delightfully full.

Despite the small bites model being a bit of a fad, I think it works perfectly for an out-of-the-ordinary kind of wedding. People have more flexibility with how much, when and what they get to eat, and you are able to choose from a wide variety of cuisines rather than sticking to one or two. They accommodate people with special dietary restrictions more than a set menu as well. The constant rotation of food coupled with beer and wine kept people light, happy and mingling. It was a wedding reception, but it was also a casual family party. Our wedding felt exactly as I wanted it to feel - relaxed, more than anything - and 95% of that success is due to the team from Eat & Smile Catering.

VENDOR: Eat & Smile Catering / 202-270-1018 / inquiry@eatandsmilefoods.com

1 comment:

  1. Those cod bites were amazing! Shane still talks about them. Oliver and his team did an amazing job!

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All content © Meaghan O'Malley, 2009-2012. Header image by Rebekka Seale.