I have survived a hurricane…but just barely.
Every inch of my body hurts, my nerves are shot and I have completely lost my voice. I’m still trying to digest where I am. A week ago, we left our little beach hamlet in Orange County, and are now halfway across the world. Still not sure how we made it here in one piece.
On Saturday I officially wed the Significant Other, and boy was it exhausting. Juggling vendors, shuttling from function to function, having to be perfectly photogenic all the time and dealing with 3 relatives in the hospital were all incredibly draining. Luckily it’s all in our rear view now.
Despite the crushing sensory overload of Kamikaze Wedding Week 2011, it was one of the most memorable weeks of my life.
Let’s start with the barbecue…
Most of our wedding party was composed of non-Texans. They came from New York, San Francisco, and Miami to celebrate our union in suffocating triple-digit Dallas heat. They were troopers.
It only seemed right to immerse them in Texas culture right out of the gate, rip off the bandaid and dunk them in the pool. That meant barbecue.
Our rehearsal dinner was at my favorite joint, Feedstore BBQ. Although oddly placed in sprawling upscale suburbia, a walk through the doors is a reminder that you are in another country entirely.
Of course everything is great here, but a real Texan orders the brisket. Smoked beautifully, tender and succulent, the brisket shines. The ribs, however, are a close second.
And then there were enchiladas….
As the RSVPs came pouring in for the wedding, they always seemed to be accompanied by a “I wouldn’t miss this, the food is going to be excellent!” The bar had been set.
However, tradition and me are not friends, colleagues or even mere acquaintances. Our “theme” was Dios de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, which is a Mexican celebration of life, family and friends. It was perfect.
There would be no sit down, 5-course meal with bone china and penguin waiters. No stuffy caterers charging exorbitant amounts for mediocre food. No chicken or beef. It had to be a fiesta, a backyard party safely tucked away indoors from the stifling August heat.
With the help of my mother, we found a family-owned local Mexican restaurant called Ojeda’s that’s been doing this since 1969. We got all the staples: sour cream chicken enchiladas, brisket tacos, tamales, guacamole. It was a magnificent feast and a fraction of the cost of using a caterer.
But, wait, there was cake…
It was the piece de resistance and crown jewel of the reception, at least for me. Being a pastry chef, I was the pickiest customer. If the word “frosting” was uttered on a bakery’s web site, they were removed from the list.
If you are now wondering why I didn’t make my own cake, shame on you. I am not superhuman!
Then I found Frosted Art, cake baker to the Dallas socialite scene. The air inside their studio smelled of sugar. This was a good sign.
Each tier was a different combination of flavors: lemon lavender, vice cake with bourbon and chocolate, opera cake with crushed hazelnuts, and the most to-die-for red velvet I’ve ever tasted. I’m salivating as I type.
So here I am, looking out at the twinkling lights of Zagreb, Croatia, in a nearly comatose state. We’ve only just arrived, and tomorrow we begin our exploration of this fascinating and breathtaking country. But first, a good night’s rest.