Last time we talked about food, I told you I came up with a menu and booked a caterer I had never met before (read: I paid an almost $2,000 deposit for food that may or may not taste like dog food). In case you don’t remember, our menu looks like this:
Entree – Plated w/ choice of protein
Dessert/Late-Night Snack @ 9:00 PM
During our weekend trip to Asheville we finally got to taste a sample of the goods; according to the chef, the tasting typically involves the development of the menu, so our “business” was really just a free meal. Emilie, our contact, set up an adorable table in the hotel courtyard for us to eat, and the chef brought out a beautiful plate with a little bit of everything. “Everything” included chicken, gourmet mac-n-cheese (which was originally on our menu but has since been removed), sweet potato, pimento bruschetta, tomato soup shooters with grilled cheese, and fruit skewers with dulce de leche. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to get catfish, but after tasting what we did have to try I have no concerns at all. We also didn’t try green beans, because that was a replacement for okra after the fact. (Okra = not a big hit with my northern self.)
I’m a bad blogger and completely forgot to take pictures until after the fact, so there’s my half-eaten chicken, what’s left of my tomato soup shooter (the grilled cheese didn’t last long enough for the picture) to the left, and finally pimento bruschetta. The chicken was absolutely phenomenal—hands down the best chicken I’ve ever tasted. The tomato soup was a thick, creamy tomato soup with cheese (?) in it; different enough to stand out from boring tomato soup, and absolutely delicious. The pimento bruschetta was a pleasant surprise; I don’t like tomato at all, so I was expecting to pass the piece right to Cruise. This was shockingly good.
At the top we have fruit skewers (strawberry, pineapple, honeydew melon, cantaloupe) with dulce de leche, there’s another piece of pimento bruschetta, and at the bottom we have sweet potato. I’m a big fruit person, so naturally I liked these; the dulce de leche was sinfully delicious. Rumor is it’s just a simple mixture of yogurt and caramel, but Cruise won’t let me attempt to make it until after the wedding. Hmph.
The sweet potato we were a little concerned about. Cruise isn’t a huge fan of it unless it’s loaded with sugar (candied sweet potato?), and there are so many ways to prepare sweet potato that it could go either way. This sweet potato was sauteed in butter with a little lemon pepper—we were absolutely blown away. I’m a big sweet potato fan, and this was the best I’ve ever had. That’s saying something, considering I’ll order sweet potato just about any chance I can.
In the separate bowl is gourmet mac-n-cheese; it is a blend of a few different cheeses. I think it was cheddar, gouda, and blue? I don’t remember exactly, but it. was. delicious. Ultimately we decided to remove this from the adult menu because we have so much food, but the children will get a slightly more basic version of it.
The whole tasting was a success, obviously. I am so impressed with Dining Innovations! I would recommend them to anyone and everyone having an event in the Asheville area. After leaving the catering tasting and hearing what they thought of the Homewood, all of my doubts about the venue were gone (phew!). I can’t wait to see the presentation of everything, to see what they put together for our idea of a “summery” salad, and to taste the food again! In fact, I think I may have to request a “to-go” plate, you know, just in case I don’t get to eat during the reception.
Did you book your caterer before tasting the food they offer? Were you as happy with the quality as we were?!