Life threw us a curve ball. It happens. Luckily I managed to hit a home run, instead of striking out. (Oh no, a sports metaphor! Mr. Sew’s going to revoke my nerd license…)
Off the recommendations of reader Drea, my brother, and Yelp – we found a restaurant in Santa Clara for our Chinese banquet reception.
The first positive sign was from China Stix’s website. Hello – an endorsement by the famous Martin Yan, of Yan Can Cook? It’s got to be worth checking out.
I went with my mother and our officiant’s wife to visit. There was plenty of parking, and although the interior was no grand ballroom, it was clean and tidy enough. I noticed the chairs were that crazy shade of blue again. It’s like they are out to get me or something.
Anyway, we got right to work on ordering some food: a pupu platter, sizzling rice soup and some chicken lettuce cups. The lettuce cups were amazing. Yum.
Next we had mango chicken, which is pretty much the best thing I’ve ever eaten. It consisted of super tender, thinly sliced chicken breast with sweet onions, bell peppers, and tangy chunks of mango, all in a light saute sauce. Heaven.
The plan was to just eat a little and take the rest home for the guys to try, but I’m afraid we didn’t leave them much.
At that point we asked to see the banquet menu, and they brought it along with an album of past wedding set-ups. We ordered a seafood combo with vegetables dish. Again, delicious. Hello, scallops and fresh, sweet peas!
We also sampled the walnut honey prawns, which were out of this world. Not too heavy on the mayo, sweet roasted pecans – it was delicious.
At that point we were pretty full, and we got to meet Frank, who is the owner/chef of the place. He was a really cool guy – friendly and funny as well! We went over the menu, talked about the set-up, and sampled some desserts. We had to choose between a coffee dessert (I don’t know the name, but it had a flan-like consistency and was oh-so-tasty) and some mango pudding. The mango pudding was packed with flavor, and even had little pieces of mango in it!
Although they were both amazing, the mango pudding won, since not everyone likes coffee, including Mr. Sew. And if the groom doesn’t like it, it’s probably not a good idea.
Here’s the menu we decided on, and I’m super excited about the whole thing:
- Barbecue meat plate with char sui, soy chicken, sliced pig’s feet and seaweed salad/wakame (which was originally supposed to be jellyfish, but I really am not a fan of the jellyfish crunch)
- Seafood soup with bean curd
- Mango Chicken
- Curry beef
- Snow peas and shiitake mushrooms
- Honey pecan prawns
- Hong Kong style chow mein (thin, pan-fried noodles with toppings)
- Seafood combo with vegetables
- Sweet and sour whole fish
- Peking duck (my most favorite ever!)
- White rice
- Mango Pudding with vanilla ice cream and a fortune cookie
Oh, and because it’s not a celebration without pork, they’re letting me bring in a lechon! One of our family friends wants to give one to us as a wedding present. That’s a pretty good present, if you ask me. So, add roast pork to the list, as well!
The best part? The prices are completely reasonable – at about $20 a person. You simply cannot find prices like that in the Bay Area.
One thing I didn’t count on though – this really is going to be a second wedding. The thought still scares me. There’s a stage (help me, please), a projector, a dance floor and sound system. No eat, greet and leave at this event. It will be a full-on party. I will need to find another cake. We will have to do a second, first dance. I will need to be able to fit back into my wedding dress and cheongsam. It’s mind boggling.
Part of me thinks this will be completely overkill and awkward, being as we’ll already have been married for a couple months, but while it’ll all be old-hat to Mr. Sew and me, it will be completely new to the guests. I’ll have to get used to the idea – and with Frank’s amazing food and budget-friendly prices, I think I might be able to.
So we’ve set a second date on a Saturday night in October, and although I’m right back at the beginning again, at least this time I (kind of) know what I’m doing.
Anyone else having a banquet reception? What’s your favorite Chinese food dish?