Love in three courses
Kysha Harris | 1/10/2013, 2:05 p.m.
There is no better way to start a new year than with a wedding, especially when the bride is a great friend from college and the groom loves her the way he does. On the auspicious date of Jan. 3, (1-3-13), Lisa and Doug gleefully wed at City Hall (a la Carrie and Big from "Sex and the City") with family and yours truly in tow. It was a fun, special day that ended, of course, with food.
The first course took place at the corner of Worth Street. Yes, the real motive was to capture the quintessential New York City wedding shot at the hotdog stand, but we were all starving so Doug bought a round for the wedding party. While Lisa and Doug were re-enacting the spaghetti scene from "Lady and the Tramp" with an innocent frankfurter for the camera, the rest of us were reminded just how good a New York City hotdog with mustard and 'kraut can be ... occasionally.
After a couple more photo ops with the photographer, we were off for our second course of the day. The hotdog was just an appetizer to hold us over for our drive over the nearby Brooklyn Bridge to pizza nirvana at Grimaldi's (1 Front St., 718-858-4300, www.grimaldis.com). Doug's daughter Lauren innocently planted the seed at City Hall, and like obedient foodies, we all agreed to the pilgrimage.
As we drove in anticipation of some truly delicious pizza, we hoped that the infamous line would not be there. It was! Curses! We debated our course of action, until Doug put on his "make it happen" cape, swooped in and magically emerged with not one, but two margherita pies wrapped in brown paper bags. It was cold as all get out that day so we were all grateful not to stand on that line and devoured both pies, cramped in the car in record time without dropping a piece of that thin-crusted, fresh goodness. Worth all of the hype!
After returning home for a little cool-out time, our third and final course would take place at one of Lisa and Doug's favorite restaurants in Larchmont, N.Y., Lusardi's (1885 Palmer Ave., 914-834-5555, www.lusardislarchmont.com). They reserved the private room for a Mediterranean feast for family and friends.
The meal started with wine and a perfect antipasti plate of bresaola, thick tomato slices, buffalo mozzarella, chunks of Parmesan, prosciutto, balsamic vinegar and fruity olive oil. A great way to start the meal and for Doug to announce to his friends that what they thought was an engagement dinner was actually to celebrate their wedding day! Oh, Doug. However, the agape mouths would soon be filled with more good food.
The menu at Lusardi's is vast, but at the recommendation of the groom, I went with one of the specials for my pasta course ... and because it had shaved truffles on it--who says no to that?! It was ricotta-filled spinach ravioli with cheese sauce and truffles. It was so delicious and the satisfyingly right amount.
My "secondi" was a little harder to choose. The groom ordered off the menu with salt-crusted branzino and the bride a stuffed pork chop. I too wanted branzino, but the on-menu Branzino alle Mandorle (Mediterranean sea bass encrusted in almonds and served in lemon sauce over sauteed French beans). All I can say is, "Yes!" Gently toasted sliced almonds encrusting moist, seasoned seabass swathed in a delicate butter-lemon sauce that all worked together in perfect harmony--it was kind of a good food metaphor for the happy couple at the other end of the table.
For dessert, I couldn't leave that table without trying the banana cake with brleed bananas, vanilla ice cream and creme anglaise. Heaven! I had to stop halfway through though for fear of passing out in a food coma. Not a good look in mixed company.
Lisa and Doug, congratulations on your union! Thank you for allowing me to witness your joy and play a small part in your day, and for one of the better New York City food days I've had in a while.
I look forward to seeing you two grow wiser ... and funnier ... together forever.
Enjoy, get eating and thanks for reading!
Kysha Harris is a food writer, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service offering weekly and in-home entertaining packages. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations! Email her at kysha@iSCHOP.com, follow her on Twitter @SCHOPgirl or Facebook www.facebook.com/SCHOPnyc or chat with her on Instant Messenger at AskSCHOP, Monday-Friday, 6-8 p.m. For even more recipes, tips and food musings, subscribe to her blog at www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com.