As it turned out the only scary thing about the Friday the 13th full moon was the appalling lack of customers. Saturday was when the full moon really hit. Nothing major, just rocky.
Yesterday I bid on a catering gig for a wedding. A local wedding planner invites me to a number of her "vendor days" where she subjects the poor couple to a parade of florists, caterers, bakers, photographers and anyone else who provides service for a bride and groom. Normally I don't try too hard to get the wedding. It's a pain in the ass to pack up all my gear, find extra waiters, drive out to the location and cook in a tent. I do shoot for the rehearsal dinners though. We've got a great semi-private space that holds about 35 comfortably, 40 if they're good friends and it's a perfect spot for a rehearsal dinner.
Only if the couple are willing to spend real money and seem like they're easy to deal with do I really pursue the wedding. It's a fact that people having a wedding get charged exorbitant sums by many service providers. Many prey on the fantasies people have about their dream wedding, adding more to the floral bill, or selling the couple on a horse and carriage to spirit them away post-ceremony. I'm all for fantasy. In the real world what this means is that by the time these fantasies have been budgeted there's little money left for food. And they expect the food to match the fantasy they are constructing. Even otherwise sane and reasonable people fall victim to this. Also when planning a wedding rarely are you dealing with two people only. There are the future in-laws who have their own fantasies about the wedding. My fantasy is two people who love food, have no meddling in-laws, are easy-going and have a realistic number of friends and family they'd like to invite, rather than the 150+ which seems to be the norm. Fortunately I'm not in the catering business full-time or I'd starve. Other people seem to get those clients.
The two yesterday weren't bad though. They met almost all the criteria. They're mature, they love food, I don't think they mind spending for it, while not easy going they weren't uptight, they're only inviting about 40 people. The mother of the bride had definite opinions and while I wouldn't want to be on her bad side was not exactly a meddler. In short, not a bad gig.
They came to the restaurant later to check out the food. The bride is Chilean and they wanted empanaditas as part of the appetizers. I had made a batch earlier for them to sample if they showed up. I usually do something ill-advised when cooking for a group I'm trying to win over. At press meals I've served poached eggs to the woman who re-wrote the chapter on eggs in the new Joy of Cooking and served biscuits, fresh ham and collards to a Southern writer.
The empanadas were well received though mom had a few tips for me. The father of the bride asked me if I knew Nick Peyton and Douglas Keane. When I told him not personally, only by reputation he let me know he was their landlord at Market. Hell, why don't they do the wedding then? Maybe they refused to do empanadas.
Now I need to send them a bunch of menu ideas and let them choose. In the meantime I've still got to finish our circus menu. The circus's theme is the Wild West and I'm trying to work that in. I need to price buffalo brisket, think about how to pass tofu off as an old West item (I'm thinking some kind of monastic reference) because we write some goofy descriptions of the food. Last year we had the Strongman's Steak, Trapeze Artist's Tofu and a sole in parchment which referenced Houdini's escape from the mailbag. (There was a straitjacket escape in the act last year). Most of my jokes and references escape the diners however, and the thought I put into the menu and descriptions becomes largely for myself. The sous is a good one for that too. We discussed putting a lamb chop next to a beef item with something dividing the plate down the middle to reference the sheep herder/cattle rancher wars of the American West but decided that was too obscure, even for us. Perhaps if we do a meal for the California Historical Society.
We're trying to work pink popcorn into the dessert also. Last night I was seeing sparklers on the desserts as they go out. I need to call the party works to see if they have any. Of course what we really need to do is sell the damned thing out. Right now, between both seatings we're a quarter of the way there. I'm confident we'll have a good turnout. However, people seem to be much more last minute these days and often our events are nail-biters up until a day or two before. We do however have a respectable number of reservations for our Brewer's Dinner which is heartening. Here's the menu for that:
Soup & Crackers, Fish & Chips
Spicy Crab Chowder, Housemade Crackers
Crab Tempura, Waffle Chips
Poleeko Gold Pale Ale
Vietnamese Rice Paper Crab Rolls, Citrus Salad
Boont Amber Ale
The Cornish pasty, updated
Grilled Ribeye Cap with Warm Dungeness Sauce
Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale
English Sticky Pudding with Brother David's Double Gelato
Brother David's Double Abbey Ale
Off now to make more sausages.