09 April 2009

Our French Campfood

One of the best things about our summer camp venue is that the staff is so easy to work with!

They have their own kitchen and staff of chefs, and they'll cater our wedding, if we want (we're not even required to use their catering!). You might think, "um.. Camp food? For a wedding? Really?"

Really! The weekend we toured Westwind, there were a whole bunch of weddingers bopping around the place in preparation for the nuptials to take place that day. Once a couple of them learned that we were there scouting for our own wedding, they got super psyched to endorse the food at Westwind!

You have to remember, this is the Pacific Northwest (especially Portland area). People are really serious about their gourmet food here. Portland is quickly becoming an "it" city for foodies! With restaurants like Wildwood, Toro Bravo, Tabla, Andina, Bijou Café, and so many more, it's no wonder! Seriously - whenever Mr. Bear Cub and I are in town, we have to make a list of all the restaurants we want to fit into our schedule!

So with rave reviews from the local weddingers of that weekend, we decided it could be a great idea to have Westwind cater our wedding. The best part? We have the freedom to design the meal to be completely original.

Mr. Cubbie and I love to cook together, and we're always inspired by new foods we try on trips. When we were in France two years ago, we went to this adorable little restaurant in Lille (northern France) called La Petite Voute. My carbonnade was pretty good (beef stewed in beer with pearl onions and fries), but Mr. Cubbie's Lapin à la Flamande was earth shaking. Bunnies are so tasty!
Lapin à la Flamande is basically rabbit braised in red wine and a little beer with prunes, shallots, a bouquet garni, Belgian endive, and cinnamon. Believe me, this tastes fantastic.

We thought it would be a fun idea to fill our menu with our own recipes and a few special dishes that remind us of our experiences together. To make things even more special, I thought, "Hey! Why not try to get the rabbit recipe from La Petite Voute??"

I sent them this email several weeks ago (you can laugh at my french if you want :) ):
Salut, Je suis étasunienne - il y a deux ans, j'ai rendu visite à votre restaurant avec mon copain (qui est maintenant mon fiancé!). On a absolument adoré votre restaurant! Surtout, le «Lapin à la Flamande». On l'a aimé à tel point qu'on voudrait faire ce plat à notre mariage en Septembre. Est-il possible que le chef cuisinier serait disposé à accorder une volonté d'une jeune mariée pour son mariage? C'est à dire: de lui donner cette recette pour qu'elle puisse la cuisiner pour le jour de son mariage? Merci beaucoup! On espère de rendre visite à votre restaurant encore une fois un jour! bisoux!
The cliff-notes is that I asked if the chef would be willing to grant a young fiancée a wish for her wedding day - the recipe to his Lapin à la Flamande!

Unfortunately, they haven't gotten back yet. I'm thinking maybe I should call the restaurant (skype), but I really don't think that's going to help much. I found some recipes online, and I'm pretty confident I remember the flavor palette, so we might try to re-create this dish at home!

Have you tried to get a recipe from a restaurant, successfully? Do you have a special dish that you're going to try to recreate for your wedding guests? Do you have any advice for working with chefs on a customized wedding menu?

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