Planning the Menu (Part I)

Last Friday we finally had our tasting at our wedding venue, Barr Mansion. In case you don’t remember, our venue provides the food (even the cake!), and it’s all 100% organic. So the Dude and I got to visit the place where we’re going to get married and have dinner and drinks in the Artisan Ballroom where our reception will be. A nice way to spend a Friday evening, if you ask me.

The first thing we tried was something called “la quercia prosciutto Americano bruschetta”. I don’t have a picture because we were literally each handed one off a tray as we got in line to get our drinks. It was the best thing I ate all night: simply a crunchy piece of bread with something creamy and peppery on top, all wrapped up in a piece of prosciutto. OMG. I normally eat meat only about twice a month, but I would have eaten a dozen of these suckers if they’d given me the chance. Unfortunately we’re not doing passed hors d’oeuvres, so these were out.

Our first round of food was a selection of five appetizers. The Dude and I strategically split most of them so as to save room in our bellies for the entrees and dessert.

On this plate is (1) sweet potato patty with miso mustard, (2) baby turkey-feta burger with smoky aioli, and (3) shiitake mushroom pizza.

The Dude and I both liked the turkey burger a lot (although he had to take the cheese off of his bite because of his turophobia). I also really liked the pizza, though at first I thought it was sun dried tomatoes instead of mushrooms. Those little shiitake mushrooms are so flavorful! We were both underwhelmed by the sweet potato patty. It wasn’t really a patty; it was a little mushier than what I think of as a patty. And it wasn’t as spicy as I’d hoped.

On this plate is another slice of the shiitake mushroom pizza as well as (4) roasted vegetables and Mt. Tam cheese in ciabatta rolls and (5) pecan-smoked bison New York strip kabobs. Neither of us was too impressed with the veggie rolls. All the flavor was in the cheese–I’d just as soon have eaten the cheese by itself. It was tasty, but just not as exciting as some of the other options. Finally, the smoked bison kabobs were pretty delish. We thought they’d be a real crowd-pleaser, too.

There was one appetizer on the menu that I was dying to try–the grilled ginger-lime shrimp kabobs. Those are three of my all-time favorite foods! Throw in some guacamole and I could live off of that meal alone for years. Too bad they didn’t offer it at this tasting.

After the appetizers, the servers came around with plates of this. I couldn’t find it described anywhere in the menus they gave us, but it seemed to be bruschetta with some herbs and a jumbo shrimp. It was pretty good, but the Dude and I were both confused as to how you were supposed to eat it with the tail still on. I ended up eating the shrimp first and then the bread/herbs.

These are the entrees. Yeah, I’ll confess: I had already eaten half of the veggie lasagna when I took this picture. The pinker meat is (1) beef tenderloin with bacon herb butter. The other meat is (2) slow-roasted mesquite-smoked pork roast. The half-eaten square with the cheese on top is the (3) Greek lasagna with ziti, feta, and local vegetables. And the side is (4) smoked sun-dried tomatoes and heritage grain salad.

The Dude completely freaked out over the beef tenderloin. I’m not kidding you. He went back for seconds and thirds. When we were leaving (after he’d stuffed his face with a plate of cake), he asked if he could go back and get some more to put in his pocket. We’re definitely serving it at the wedding. If it makes him that happy, we have to go for it! We both liked the pork, too, but we didn’t feel the need to do anything barbecue-related because we’ll be serving real Texas barbecue at our rehearsal dinner. When we tried the veggie lasagna it was my turn to spaz–I ate all of mine and half of the Dude’s. It was nothing like a traditional lasagna. It was so light and fresh! The main veggie was eggplant, and it was the best eggplant I’ve ever eaten! I’m starting to drool just thinking about it. We’ll be serving the lasagna at our wedding, too. We weren’t that into the tomato and grain salad. It was something I’d eat, but I didn’t really see our families digging it.

I was a bit disappointed we didn’t get to try either of the fish entrees–maple grilled salmon or sesame-soy halibut. But we’ll likely select one of them for our menu. I trust it’ll be delish.

For now, we’re thinking of nixing the appetizers so that we can afford pricier entrees. We’re doing it buffet style, so we can mix and match as much as we like. Here’s what we’re thinking of serving.

  • Trio of artisan breads with whipped butter
  • Greens and Texas pecans with cranberry vinaigrette
  • Greek lasagna with ziti, feta, and local vegetables
  • Maple grilled salmon
  • Beef tenderloin with bacon herb butter

As a guest, would you prefer a menu like this, or would you be happier with a bunch of smaller appetizers?

Coming up in Part II: Miss Mouse and the Dude tackle dessert.


Mrs. Mouse

Wedding Date:
September 2009
I Do, Re-Do, Re-New
Eating My Way Toward a Healthier Me
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  1. Member
    pvaulter718 2116 posts, Buzzing bee @ 10:02 am

    I think you were both really wow-ed by the entree’s, so in your case, I would say stick with the entree’s and nix the appetizers. With it being buffet, people can pick and chose what they like, and always go back for more!

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    Rachel, Guest @ 10:19 am

    I have been lucky enough to have two friends get married at Barr Mansion. I say lucky enough because that food is amazing! I’ve tried everything on your list but the salmon and I give it all two thumbs up. It’s such a beautiful place. I can’t wait for the dessert post!

  3. Member
    LatteLove 5567 posts, Bee Keeper @ 11:43 am

    yum yum yum. Tastings are the best!

  4. moonbeam Bee
    moonbeam 1711 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:17 pm

    Looks like a nice spread, I say go with your gut.

  5. Member
    Annui 343 posts, Helper bee @ 2:04 pm

    Awesome menu. And I want the turkey burger with feta and aioli. Yum.

    And I learned a new word! Turophobia is not something I’d heard of before, huh.

  6. Member
    krissybee 3921 posts, Honey bee @ 3:06 pm

    yum..i’ll also have the turkey burger please!

  7. msbuttons Bee
    msbuttons 5014 posts, Bee Keeper @ 8:51 am

    Yum – o!

    I say, as long as the food itself is delish, it doesn’t matter if it is appetizers or main dishes…you just want your guests to enjoy it!

  8. Member
    Miss Click 1 posts, Wannabee @ 11:15 am

    What was your favorite cake flavor? I’m getting married there in December, and have wondered how the cake tasting is handled. 🙂

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