So, last time, I talked about how me, my fiance, his mother, and my maid of honor all flew down to Texas for some much needed wedding meetings. While down there, I got to meet with my caterer and our cake lady.
My wedding venue is sort of all inclusive. While you can bring in outside things, they do require you to use 1 of their 3 food vendors. I chose to go with Frana Old World catering. If you’ve ever been to the Houston area, they own 3 Olives, Cordura catering, Américas, Churrascos, and Artista. We went with their Italian food from 3 Olives, and it’s ah-maz-ing.
I set up my catering appointment weeks before our tasting. They said we could bring 5 people, including the bride (me) and it would be 20$ per person after that. We would have 7 in total with my dad, mom, sister, me, my fiance, his mother, and my maid of honor. However, Chef Fred didn’t even charge me for the extra people, he is so nice! He called me a few days before to confirm our time, and everything was set.
So, the tasting was at 12 at their restaurant 3 Olives, which my mom and I had eaten at before. We arrived and were seated immediately at a big round table and given water and a choice of drink. Then, Chef Fred came out and talked to us about what type of food they do, how he likes to prepare stuff, where he gets his influence, etc. It was all great. They then said they’d bring out the salads for us to try.
So, they give us a menu and we get to pick 1 salad, 2 entrees, and 2 sides. Here are their salad choices
Choice of One Salad:
Insalata Mista: Mixed field greens, peppers, olives, carrots & homemade croutons with balsamic vinaigrette
Caesar Salad: Romaine lettuce, homemade croutons with a parmesan vinaigrette dressing
Agave Salad: Mixed field greens, roasted red and yellow peppers, julienne carrots, black olives, caramelized pecans, sundried craisins, homemade croutons and balsamic vinaigrette
Spinach Salad: Baby spinach with pralines and gorgonzola in blueberry vinaigrette dressing
They brought out 2 plates with 2 salads per plate and we served ourselves family style. This was a tasting after all, we didn’t each get a big salad or anything, you got like 3 bites of each, which was enough. This was crazy hard to pick, because they were all amazing! We ended up picking the Insalata Mista, but the Spinach salad with blue berries was a very close second.
Next was the entree selection. We got to pick out 2 from this set
Choice of Two Entrées:
Lasagna: Fresh lasagna noodles layered with beef, ricotta & mozzarella topped with marinara sauce
Penne Carbonara: Penne pasta with peas, pancetta, mushrooms and red onions tossed in Alfredo cream sauce
Cannelloni: Fresh pasta sheets rolled and stuffed with chicken, veal, spinach & assorted Italian cheeses topped with black pepper vodka cream sauce
Chicken Piccata with capers, sundried tomatoes and mushrooms in a white wine lemon butter sauce
Chicken Francese with sautéed mushrooms and artichokes in a white wine reduction
Chicken Pepernata with roasted red & yellow peppers with cilantro cream
Chicken Marsala with sautéed mushrooms with marsala wine, butter and a touch of cream
This came out much like the salad, with 1 big chicken breast and pasta piece that we cut up and served ourselves, each getting 2 or 3 bites of each. This was also insanely hard to pick! We ended up going with the Cannelloni, which was very similar to lasagna only ‘fancier’ to me, and the chicken francese with artichokes. SO. GOOD.
Finally, it was the side dish time. Oddly, chef Fred didn’t have us try any of these, as he says he doesn’t make them in small batches for us, so he just described them to us. Obviously I’d have liked to try them, but I can understand not making 10 or so sides for a few bites a person.
Choice of Two Sides:
Garlic Rosemary Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans & Mushrooms
Zucchini & Squash Fresco
We picked mixed vegetables right away, but swayed on the mashed potatoes vs the roasted potatoes. Chef Fred ultimately helped us on that choice and recommended the roasted potatoes, as he said they’d pair better with our other choices and not be too heavy.
The whole thing lasted an hour, which is exactly what they told us it would, which is good because we had the cake tasting 30 minutes after. Chef Fred was all around amazing because he was just so calm and collected. He said how they cater 4 weddings a weekend and he’s done this like 1000 times, and told me that once I leave, I should never worry about the food again because he’d got it all under control, and I believed him. It was just a great experience. I was worried, trying to wrangle 6 people and 2 cars, in a city where half of them have never been, but it went great!
It’ll be served buffet style, with small appetizers like cheese, fruit, and crackers served right before. We’re also having an open beer and wine bar (hard liquor can be bought if desired) I think we’re having Miller Lite, Bud Light, Heineken, Dos Equis, and Shiner (because, Texas).
So, our food is picked! Next up, the cake!