I am beginning to think about the menu for my wedding next summer in Baltimore, and thought I'd pose this question to you all:
What is the best food you've had at a wedding?
I'm interested in appetizers, special cocktails, and entree items. Bonus points for seasonal and vegetarian-friendly suggestions!
I totally second a mashed potato bar - it was probably the most memorable food I've ever had at a wedding. Mine was also served in a martini glass. Everyone loved it. Only thing that sucks, though, is that you'd have to do it buffet style, unless you did it as part of the cocktail hour or something.
I did a surf and turf at my wedding (with jumbo shrimp and filet mignon) and it was a big hit.
Since your wedding is in Baltimore, I think you should incorporate crab into your meal, even if it's just mini crabcakes in the cocktail hour. Also, a couple other unique dishes you find in Baltimore are fried green tomatoes and shrimp/grits, which is technically more of a Carolina specialty, but I've had awesome versions in Baltimore. Fried green tomatoes are a delicious vegetarian option.
Chicken is usually a really dull reception entree, so I'd avoid it.
The one I had was part of the cocktail hour.
Also I'm a big fan of gourmet mini versions of childhood favorites---think gourmet sliders, grilled cheese with little shots of tomato soup, mini Philly cheesesteaks etc. You can also choose 2 foods that are from where the couple are from and create mini versions of them for cocktail hour. For example I'm from Boston so I would do mini-lobster rolls. If your fiancee is from Maryland you can do mini crab cakes.
The first time food ever wowed me at a wedding, it was a pre-ceremony touch. They had someone shucking oysters and serving cocktails. Come to think of it, that was the day I fell in love with raw oysters. And drink-in-hand ceremonies.
passed hors d'oeuvres
cilantro battered jumbo shrimp, Sesame Duck Salad with Ginger and Tahini served in a Crispy Egg Roll Cup, Tuna Ceviche with Avocado and Lime, Smoked Trout Mousse with Homemade Carrot Pasta Chips
Stilton Grilled Beef Tenderloin on Leek Custard with Tomato Relish
Grilled Salmon on Cucumber Fettuccine with Watercress Purée
I got married 7 months ago (wow, already?) and the regional items we included were mostly in our welcome bags for out of town guests. I included Tastycakes and Goldenberg's Peanut Chews because we were both raised in Philadelphia....and for local things, I added Route 11 Old Bay flavored chips and Goetz's caramel creams (baltimore). They (the bags) were obviously a huge hit:)
At the meal, we had mini crab cakes with cocktails.
This is a difficult area to find regional specialties. I'd consider a Smith Island cake, some mini half smokes with cocktails, virginia peanuts....It's important to realize Baltimore is a melting pot. Polish food, Italian food, and greasy spoon food. Baltimore also has a good beer heritage - send people home with a bottle of Natty Boh!
At my wedding two months ago, my favorite appetizer ended up being the chorizo-stuffed mushrooms. I think my guests' favorite was the cream of crab shooters with sherry & a mini crab cake on top. We also had chilled oysters with cava ice, grilled shrimp, and seared tuna with wasabi - fresh and beautiful.
For vegetarians, I don't think anything tastes better than grilled vegetables with tarragon creme fraiche - it isn't flashy or trendy, but you can't get more seasonal or delicious. We also had cherry pepper hummus, sooo good. I think the local cheese board was very popular too, we served it with honey [pecan baguette & figs.
My favorite dish was the first course - the gazpacho-stuffed tomato on baby greens with crab & avocado creme fraiche.
I know this was not part of the OP's question, but I will share this anyway ---- I highly recommend our caterer, Pairings of Bel Air. Everything is locally sourced, each and every element is made fresh, and the entire process was top notch.
2105 Laurel Bush Rd, Bel Air, MD 21015