Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Engagement Fiesta!

This week jump starts Charleston Restaurant Week, by far the most exciting time of year to be a food lover. With all this added excitement surrounding food, this past weekend was also labor day as well as my and Matt's engagement party. Perhaps not as famous as restaurant week, this party was definitely a underground dinner for the food wise elite. The food was catered entirely by my soon-to-be step-mother-in-law Lydia, who is perhaps the closest you can get to a Mexican caterer without actually being Mexican.

Let me tell you what this menu included before I spiral off into a diatribe consisting completely of foodie porn adjectives like "unctuous" and "decadent".

There were four (yes four!) courses of traditional Mexican street food typical of the Riviera Maya region of Mexico.

 shrimp and avocado salad shooters
 Steak and chicken fajita tacos
Pulled chicken and cheese enchiladas
Cochinitas Pibil
Assorted desserts (chocolate fudge, brownies, lemon bars, snickerdoodles, recess peanut butter cup cookies) courtesy of Mary Brindisi (Matt's mom)

Ok, so let's begin to break this down. The first course/appetizer was a huge hit! The shrimp was tossed with avocado, cucumber, red onion, tomato and cilantro with a hint of lime juice. The cold temperature and the freshness that comes along with the classic combo of lime and cilantro was the perfect way to jump start your palate for a night of eating. 

The steak and chicken fajitas were out of this world. Served as a buffet style taco bar there was a mountain of perfectly cooked steak that was just the right medium rare served with a grilled chicken and tri-colored pepper and onion saute. The buffet station was jam packed with four different salsas, crema mexicana, Oaxaca cheese and homemade guacamole. Leterally anything you could need to create the most delicious taco ever! Unfortunately the only thing wrong with this course was that several guests did not know that it was one of three more courses and ate too much! Not a bad problem to have.

Next up was the enchiladas, my overall favorite of the night. These enchiladas were better than the ones I had in Mexico! Lydia got the real deal tortillas from a Mexican market and even learned from the woman who owned the store how to make authentic enchilada sauce. The end result was mouth watering-ly good. The sweet unctuousness of the authentic corn tortilla  made all the other ingredients sing. The chicken was perfectly juicy and pulled to perfection, mixed with the cheese it was almost like a savory mousse. The sauce of course was divine, just the right mix of sweet and spicy. Overall, a stellar dish that I wish I had made. 

The last course was piece-de-resistance, chochinitas pibil. Basically a pork butt wrapped in banana leaves and slow cooked with a blend of sauce and spice. It comes out at the most incredible shredded pork that is then slammed into a taco shell and devoured fiendishly. Served with pickled onions, I'm a huge fan. I mean, who doesn't like pork and pickled anything?

Overall, the party was a HUGE success in large part to my fabulous step-mother-in-law to be and the incredible food she made!!

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