0417 Wedding Dinner OMG

So hey guys? We got married!  I’ll save the whole story for later, as I feel you need to see the photos to understand how damned cold it was, so for now, let’s focus on the food.

0417 Wedding Dinner!

After we very nearly froze our married asses off on the beach makin’ it legal, we shared a really excellent dinner at Mia + Grace with a selection of our nearest and dearest.  I owe a great big thank you to Jamie and her staff for getting us in early and plying us with bottomless cups of coffee, desperately needed to warm our icy little hands.  I wish I’d gotten more photos of dinner, but I didn’t, so I’ll do my best to give you a flavor:

First, we shared several plates of local cheeses, preserves, and crackers.  Slices of cumin-studded leyden, a black-pepper rolled ball of chevre, a wedge of brie, and a creamy Gouda-esque cheese whose name I’ve forgotten.  Cubes of berry (elderberry? blackberry? both?) geleé.  A smear of quince preserves.  Small bites of honeycomb in the center of the plate.  Peppery homemade crackers.

I had the flattened chicken (pictured above) for my entree – Shane enjoyed the pecan-crusted trout, and the vegetarians among us had handmade cavatelli.  My chicken was pounded flat, dredged and fried, and topped with a Gorgonzola cream sauce, candied lemon zest, and red onion jam, all of which arrived atop a flavorful mash of sweet potatoes and carrots.  I shared half of my chicken with my brother so that I could eat all of the veg – and the cake coming after.  A fantastic combination of savory, sweet, and tart.

The trout was served atop vegetables and black rice, and surrounded by a orange-rosemary butter sauce.  Shane’s uncle was disappointed that he couldn’t get lemon or tartar sauce, but that didn’t stop him – or anyone else – from digging in and thoroughly enjoying a moist and flavorful piece of fish.  We had pre-ordered, and my dad seemed to regret not getting the fish once he heard the full description.  I don’t blame him.

Neither of us had the pasta, so I can’t give you the full scoop – but when Shane had it two months ago, the sauce was warm and rich, and the pasta fresh and delicious.   Everything on the plate was made in-house, and the dish was entirely vegan, though not when served with the Italian sausage (as on the menu).

I really couldn’t believe that anyone had room for dessert, but we managed to put away slices of the most dense and wonderful carrot cake I’ve had in a very long time – the one thing I’d been firm about when we were picking our menu.  The cream cheese frosting was thick but not overwhelming, and the layers of cake were full of nuts, fruit, and chewy carrot.  I wish we’d split a slice so that we could’ve had more for later – but alas, we’ll just have to pay Mia + Grace another visit for more.

On the whole, a wonderful meal in good company, and one that proved that New American cuisine can make happy even the pickiest palate.

0220 Wedding Update & Lunch at Mia + Grace

We’ve waffled a great deal about wedding plans – in part because our living and working situations have changed dramatically since we first got engaged, in part because our families are in different cities and have very different life situations, and in part because we just couldn’t come up with a plan that worked for everyone while still making US happy.  We toyed with eloping, and it was that line of brainstorming that led to Lake Michigan beach towns, which led to Muskegon.  Why would we decide to get married in a town that we’d never visited?  Because of views like this:

To the Lighthouse

SO that’s what we’re going to do.  Lake Michigan and gorgeous lighthouses in the background.  No backup plan.  No changing plans again, because if we do, we’re going to the courthouse, and no one’s allowed to get mad at us.  It’s going to be incredibly small and relaxed, and then over the summer we’re hoping to have receptions in Illinois and Ohio so that our many loved ones can celebrate with us.

We took a much-needed and belated daytrip to Muskegon today to scout out wedding locations and test-eat the restaurant where we’d like to have dinner that night.  We tromped around in the snow on the beach, took a lot of photos, and sort of squinted our eyes to imagine what it’ll be like in two months.  We walked on the icy sea wall all the way out to the lighthouse, where I freaked Shane out a bit by clambering around to investigate a giant ice formation.  All that walking and wintery lake air fanned the flames of our peckishness, so we were both pleased to find Mia + Grace quickly and to almost as quickly have beverages in front of us and delicious smells wafting towards the table.

The owners and chefs of Mia + Grace espouse a farm-to-table orientation, which is demonstrated in the list of farm friends on the butcher paper menus on the walls.  This orientation towards supporting local agriculture was one of the things that really drew us to the restaurant – and also made us wish that Mia + Grace were in OUR neighborhood rather than several hours away.  I had the butcher’s plate, which today featured house-made mortadella, salami, a spicy sausage, and duck rillettes with delicious toast points, a ridiculously large and peppery cracker, and onion jam.  I’m not a big fan of mortadella – meat with things in it has always struck me as weird – but the duck rillettes in particular blew me away – savory, creamy, sweet, and impossibly rich.  Shane had the spaghetti and meatballs, with hand-rolled pasta and pork and beef meatballs cooked slowly in a sweet tomato sauce.   I regret not being hungry enough to try any of the amazing desserts – but look forward to being able to do so on a special occasion coming soon.

For Keeps