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Mr Taster's wedding at Mission 261 - REPORT

Mr Taster Mar 3, 2007 10:35 AM

To everyone who helped us out with my pre-wedding post, MANY THANKS!

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/357452

The wedding turned out wonderfully, thanks in part to your help. As my Lovely Tasting Assistant (LTA) were determined to combine traditions from each of our Jewish and Chinese heritages, we settled on a 10 course wedding banquet at Mission 261.

We ended up serving about 46 people It was our extremely strong desire not to invite anyone out of obligation. We strictly invited only people who we very much liked are were (or had been) close to us. In the end we had a wonderfully intimate but sincere wedding, with spontaneous toasts from several people in the crowd. We were married by a friend I have known for 10 years, and even had a friend write and perform a song for us (we specifially told people not to bring gifts, but sadlty most people ignored this request).

Appetizer: 10 pounds Langer's pastrami with 2 loaves rye and 1 loaf challah, pre sliced and halved-- $200

Mission 261 banquet menu:
Barbecued Combination Platter with Suckling Pig
Deep fried crispy shrimp balls
Stir fried scallop and chicken with vegetables
Braised shredded abalone, sea cucumber, shark's fin and fish may in soup
Braised sea cucumber with Bailing mushroom in abalone sauce
House special roasted chicken
Baked dungeness crab with ginger and scallion
Stir fried mixed vegetables
ried rice with diced meat and shrimp
Red bean and lotus seed soup

About $500 x 5 tables (with tax and 17% gratuity included

15 bottles of house red and white @ $16 per bottle. We brought the champagne - seven $5 bottles of barefoot bubbly from Trader Joe's (no corkage, as it the custom in chinese restaurants

)

Wedding cake from Van's Bakery in San Gabriel: 2 tiers, serves 60 people (with massive amounts left over) - top tier strawberry, bottom tier coconut, decorated with fresh roses and orchids. $160 delivered.

We bought a 5 lb. custom baked challah from my favorite bakery on Fairfax, the Diamond Bakery. $20-- Everyone raved about the challah.

We had read about discounts from other managers, but the managers I had read about no longer worked there. Our banquet manager, Robert, told us this was because there had been problems with bribes for unauthorized discounts. Robert was an affable, funny guy but I always got the impression that he was a salesman, not always being entirely truthful. In the end however, he came through, all was delivered as promised We also had free use of big screen TV, CD and DVD player (we played a 2 minute musical presentation of our food travels in Asia. Ceremony and pastrami were in the beautiful wineyard, then we moved into a very elegant room for the banquet.

Sadly due to nerves and talking with everyone, I was unable to eat very much of the food, but for the few courses I did manage a bite or two of were tasty-- the crispy shrimp balls were wonderful. The barbecued meat and suckling pig platter were great (there was jellyfish too-- I specifically made a request to Robert not to dumb down the menu for white people's tastes, because I felt I had to live my chowhoundly duties-- I fully realized that this could very well be the only time in their lives that some of these people would be eating real chinese food). Hence the chicken head delivered on the platter, which my sister the recently converted former vegetarian of 15 years kissed on the beak for a photo op. The soup was thick like a potage with a very bland flavor that I did not care for. Most of my friends raved about the food. My LTA's mom (who is Taiwanese) liked the banquet well enough, but felt it was too expensive-- she said that in Taiwan you could get this same food of better quality for $200 per table of 10 (but Taiwan is generally less expensive than the US anyway... that is, except for the prices at Din Tai Fung)

Total bill in the end was about $3100 (pastrami included)-- a bargain for what we got in my opinion, in an elegant setting with great service and mounds upon mounds of leftovers. (about 1/2 the wedding cake, 5 pounds of pastrami and 3/4 of the sliced bread... not to mention about 20 plastic take home boxes distributed among the guests). About 90% of the ceremonial challah was left too, and people were diving in to take home big chunks of it to make pastrami sandwiches with.

So there you have it-- our wedding (food-wise) in a nutshell.

Thanks again for your input

Mr Taster
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  1. Chowpatty Mar 3, 2007 10:46 AM

    Congratulations on your Chowhound-inspired wedding! Notwithstanding Taiwan prices, this sounds like a wonderful bargain for such a lovely cross-cultural event. I can't believe people are still spending $100 a head for rubber chicken at boring hotels..

    1. j
      Jesdamala Mar 3, 2007 11:31 AM

      Sensational! I was thinking about you and your now wife recently! Best of wishes for a long, happy, chow happy life! How satisfying to be able to do it your way with grand results!

      1. SauceSupreme Mar 3, 2007 12:05 PM

        Congratulations and thanks for the report.

        1. Pei Mar 3, 2007 01:15 PM

          Awesome! Congratulations and thank you sooooo much. I'm printing this up to show my mom, who is so far insisting that we invite about 50 random people I wouldn't know if I saw on the street...

          1. Clare K Mar 3, 2007 01:46 PM

            Congrats! Sounds like a perfect day. If you end up posting pics, we'd love to see them! :)

            1 Reply
            1. re: Clare K
              s
              sel Mar 3, 2007 02:11 PM

              Especially ex-veg. sister kissing the chicken!

              Oh yea, mazeltov (sp?)!!!

            2. katkoupai Mar 3, 2007 01:51 PM

              Congratulations! The food you described sounds really yummy. How perfect to marry someone you love to eat with! :)

              1. ipsedixit Mar 3, 2007 01:55 PM

                Congrats.

                1. kingkong5 Mar 3, 2007 01:58 PM

                  Congratulations to you and LTA as you start your married life together. Many blessings for your family, and it's great to hear that the jewish/chinese mix of food worked out well.

                  1. t
                    TomSwift Mar 3, 2007 02:34 PM

                    Congrats!!
                    By my calculations the cost was $67 pp, all inclusive. Pretty darn impressive. I daresay that you had better food for the price than any wedding I've been to . The pastrami was a brilliant stroke - I trust it was hand-cut and that you tricked Norm into seling you the double-baked rye.

                    1. s
                      snooze button Mar 3, 2007 03:55 PM

                      I always tell people that I won't have a wedding/reception, but if I ever do have one, I imagine it being similar to what you described. I think it's awesome. Congrats.

                      1. b
                        BHAppeal Mar 3, 2007 04:04 PM

                        Sounds like one of the best weddings and receptions ever -- food and guest wise. Congratulations!

                        1. Gio Mar 3, 2007 04:13 PM

                          Congratulations to you and many blessings to you and your wife in the coming years!
                          Extrordinary balance of ingeniuty and savvy to make your wedding so right for the two of you.
                          Love the pastrami idea. Thank you for your detailed report.

                          1. j
                            JTea Mar 3, 2007 07:12 PM

                            thank you for the post. my goal is to duplicate it.

                            1. b
                              bulavinaka Mar 3, 2007 08:24 PM

                              Mazel tov and gong xi gong xi to the the newest Chow couple! The melding of your two cultures with food was brilliant. May you have a long, happy and healthy life together, and lots of Chow pups as well!

                              1. SIMIHOUND Mar 3, 2007 09:22 PM

                                What a post indeed! In the spirit of a true CH. You had Challah, Rye, Langers and suckling pig but no chopped liver? I can't believe it. Just kidding. All the best to your and your bride. Mazel Tov!

                                1. b
                                  Bite Me Mar 3, 2007 09:52 PM

                                  Mazel Tov! Sounds like a fantastic wedding and reception!! Wishing you and your bride health & happiness. Pictures please!

                                  1. m
                                    mc michael Mar 4, 2007 06:35 AM

                                    Photos of the food (OK, and the wedding party) would be much appreciated.

                                    1. la vida dulce Mar 4, 2007 06:41 AM

                                      Best wishes and congratulations on your wedding! And what a bargain. Buena suerte!

                                      1. j
                                        JudiAU Mar 4, 2007 08:45 AM

                                        Congratulations to both Mr. Taster & the LTA. I hope you have many good meals and much laughter in your future.

                                        1. Dommy Mar 4, 2007 09:06 PM

                                          OH MY!! Thanks so much for the report!! It all sounds so wonderful... I have two questions... What room or area were you guys at (The website lists several available areas?) Also did was there any confusion with the other parties going on?

                                          --Dommy!

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Dommy
                                            Mr Taster Mar 4, 2007 09:12 PM

                                            The ceremony was in the wineyard, and the reception was in the mission patio. It should be stated that the website is extremely inaccurate-- this was not a patio by any means (it was entirely indoors) and it accommodated 46 people comfortably (and could probably accommodate up to 70). Also note that the clubhouse room cannot accommodate 50, let alone the 80 people the website advertises. Somebody desperately needs to update that website. (adding some photos not taken from a Nokia phone would be a good start)

                                            As for other parties, that's one reason why we did our wedding on a Monday afternoon... no competition! (And it was a way of guaranteeing that only our real friends would be coming, which is exactly what we wanted)

                                            Mr Taster
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                                            1. re: Mr Taster
                                              Dommy Mar 4, 2007 10:29 PM

                                              Thanks so much!! Mr. Taster! :)

                                              Oh wow! Monday afternoon... how fab!! I had a friend who held her wedding on a Friday evening downtown, like you said, it was great way to spend with her true friends who would be partying with her on a friday night anyway! :)

                                              Best!!

                                              --Dommy!

                                          2. mstinawu Mar 4, 2007 09:42 PM

                                            It's YOUR wedding, you're not supposed to eat! =P Anyways, congratulations! Sounded like a yummy wedding. =)

                                            1. OCAnn Mar 5, 2007 11:43 AM

                                              Mazel Tov!

                                              Indeed, what a bargain for such a variety of delicious foods. I had half the guests and half the bill that you had for my own reception, but the menu doesn't compare. Good job!

                                              1. Das Ubergeek Mar 5, 2007 12:57 PM

                                                Mazel tov -- and sounds tasty!!

                                                1. wilafur Mar 5, 2007 01:04 PM

                                                  congrats!!

                                                  1. notmartha Mar 5, 2007 01:33 PM

                                                    Congrats! Please update us on how the 2nd banquet in Taiwan compares. ;)

                                                    1. j
                                                      Jerome Mar 9, 2007 04:21 PM

                                                      mazal tov adam.
                                                      jerome

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Jerome
                                                        Mr Taster Mar 9, 2007 08:16 PM

                                                        Thanks Jerome! Seems like just yesterday we were discussing our upcoming travels over a beef roll and pumpkin dumplings.

                                                        Mr Taster

                                                      2. a
                                                        AquaW Mar 9, 2007 04:29 PM

                                                        More congrats! Glad 261 came through for you!

                                                        ~H.C.
                                                        http://la-oc-foodie.blogspot.com

                                                        1. n
                                                          nosh Mar 10, 2007 07:52 PM

                                                          Congrats and Mazel Tov.

                                                          Did the restaurant steam the pastrami for you before serving? Did Langer's preslice it?

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: nosh
                                                            Mr Taster Mar 11, 2007 12:06 AM

                                                            Langer's wrapped the hot pastrami well in a plastic takeout box with lots of saran wrap and foil. I supplied the insulated bags. We had four boxes and served up one at a time. We picked up the pastrami at 9:30am and the first box was opened around 10:45. The pastrami stayed hot long enough for our purposes-- no steaming required. It wasn't the same kind of Langer's bliss when you get the sandwich fresh from the deli, but compared to what most of our guests were used to, this was still about 100 times better.

                                                            Mr Taster
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                                                          2. Lightsuprooms Mar 10, 2007 08:10 PM

                                                            Mazel Tov...

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