Shortly after my brother got engaged last summer, I asked my parents if I could take over “their” responsibility of planning the rehearsal dinner. I’ve always loved weddings, and any sort of event planning, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity to help my parents, do something nice for the bride and groom, and indulge my inner party planner at the same time. I had so much fun choosing a venue, invitations, the menu, etc. – if only I could figure out a way to do this for a living.
Simpatica is a catering company and “dining hall” in Southeast Portland – I love the simplicity and casual elegance of the room, and of course the food is to die for. Hilary, the woman who coordinates their private events, was so great to work with and took care of all of the important stuff – all I had to worry about was the fun little details like flower arrangements and decor.
Anyone who knows me knows I’ll use any excuse to decorate using Glassybaby. I rented “Elephant” and “Sweet Pea” to coordinate with the gray and lavender color scheme for the wedding, and the white and lavender dahlias – and fresh lavender – were the perfect accent.
Deciding on a menu was a bit of a challenge, due to the fact that my brother has the palate of a picky five year old, and this is a hip, “foodie” (and very Portland) type of a restaurant. I don’t eat red meat, so I’m never entirely confident in my meat selections – but I feel like you can’t really go wrong with steak and salmon. My mom and I had fun picking out apps and sides that sounded delicious but would still pass the “Joe test” (nothing too exciting/exotic, and absolutely no beets). Most of the guys were skeptical of the gazpacho shots, and I’m pretty sure my grandparents thought they were alcoholic, but aside from that I think the food went over well with everyone.
Gazpacho Shots with Radish Salsa – fun fact about me, I adore soup in shot glasses
Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Pesto on Crostini – so simple but somehow so delicious, I’m now on a mission to make my pesto this good
Blackened Chicken Skewers with Sweet Pepper Marmalade
Heirloom Baby Romaine Salad with Bing Cherries, Grilled Walla Walla Onions, and Red Wine Vinaigrette
Applewood Smoked Ribeye with Garlic Herb Butter
Cedar Plank Salmon with Italian Salsa Verde – literally melted in your mouth
Grilled Summer Squash, Walla Walla Onions, and Green Beans with Romanesco
Crushed Yukon Gold Potatoes with Fresh Herbs and Olive Oil
Baird Family Farms Peach Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream – clearly I waited too long to take this photo
Drink Menu/Wine List – yes please
I was so happy with the way that everything turned out, and I think my parents and Joe and Rose were too – everyone seemed to have a lovely evening, and there were barely any leftovers (true sign of a yummy dinner, right?). The bartender even told me this was one of the funnest (and loudest) groups she’d had all summer. As it turns out, throwing a four course meal for 36 is easy, so long as you have a professional coordinator to help, and someone else’s visa to pay for it all! Can’t wait to plan my next event!