Well I've been totally wiped out after a packed four-day weekend trip to Philadelphia to attend a niece's wedding extravaganza. Haven't even READ any blog posts since before we left on our trip, let alone write one. I prescheduled something to post last Saturday and even completely forgot I had done that but, after two intense days back at work that just added to the exhaustion, I'm home today and starting to feel somewhat normal again. So, here's the "condensed" version of the weekend.
Last Friday, I dressed at 6:30 a.m. (in Wisconsin) in the outfit I planned to wear at the rehearsal dinner some 12 hours later in Pennsylvania. And I discovered that if you wear a long skirt for air travel, you will get patted down at security. Good thing I didn't tape a soy yogurt to my leg. We changed planes in Minneapolis and headed to our favorite pit stop, French Meadow Bakery Café, for an early lunch. I've posted about this before and it's still a great airport find. I had a bowl of vegan chili that was too much to finish. It was a bit too heavy on tomatoes and light on beans but still tasty and filling. It came with two slices of sourdough bread. Ken ordered a grilled tempeh reuben. After 20 minutes he went to check on it, and twenty minutes later went to cancel it and get his money back. This was an airport—we had a plane to catch. This brought the manager out and she got the sandwich, packaged it to go and gave him a refund! (French Meadow has two airport locations. The main, full-service restaurant (packaged food also available) is at the end of the main shopping area just before entering concourse C. There is also a small satellite shop with packaged food and beverages at a different location.)
Tempeh reuben from French Meadow Bakery
When we arrived in Philadelphia, we picked up the most garish red rental car I've ever seen and headed to Lai Lai Garden restaurant in Blue Bell. An indication of the festivities to come, the rehearsal dinner had 90 guests! I first want to say I had plenty to eat—was, in fact, obscenely stuffed and loved my dinner—but since I'm writing about vegan stuff here, there are a few things I'd like to point out. When the appetizers came, the non-vegetarians (NVs) received plates with a large egg roll, a large spare rib and a third thing. It may have been a fried shrimp—can't really remember. We vegans (Vs) received a plate with three small steamed dumplings. Okay, ours was probably much healthier, but theirs was much BIGGER. Quality and quantity are different things altogether, but still. They had three DIFFERENT things. Why didn't they get a dumpling? Why didn't we get some other interesting vegetable thing to go with our dumplings?
Our single plate
We Vs were then given a choice of three entrées. We could have tofu and veggies, string beans or a third thing that I can't remember. (I do seem to have a problem with third things.) We all chose the tofu. Then the NV entrées started coming. There was a giant lazy susan in the middle of our very large table and it was soon filled with meat, chicken and seafood dishes. More and more kept coming until the turntable was packed to capacity. And still more dishes came. The Vs were each brought a plate with tofu and veggies. It was really good, and I couldn't finish it, but it's the principle of the thing I'm pointing out. Is it assumed that NVs should be provided with an extreme assortment of food and Vs are limited to only one thing? I also wonder why NVs are unable to have vegetarian dishes along with their meat.
Their food (only some of it!)
The wedding the next night was very beautiful and very big. There were 270 guests, making this the biggest wedding I've ever attended. The bride was beautiful and the groom dashing. Everything was in good taste, especially the food. After the ceremony, we had a cocktail hour with lots of interesting dishes. I'm sorry to say I was so involved in eating that I completely forgot to photograph anything so a description will have to suffice. I visited the pasta bar first and received a plate of perfectly cooked pasta on which I chose to add a chunky tomato sauce. There was all sorts of non-veg stuff to add for the so- inclined, but I was happy to find a bottomless bowl of black olives and another of a finely chopped kohlrabi salad. After that I headed to the bruschetta station where all sorts of spreads (including hummus) were stacked up. There was a vat of artichoke salad, a gorgeous roasted red pepper salad and who knows what else. Roaming the room, the Vs found plenty of delicious food to eat, as did the NVs. A cosmo from the bar, artichokes and olives and I was happy.
When we finally started dinner around 10:30, I wasn't all that hungry, but managed to eat my baby greens and a good portion of my —guess what?—tofu and vegetables. Good thing I never get tired of tofu and veggies. It was delicious. I wish I had some now.
The great band stopped playing at 12:30 a.m. and we made our way back to the hotel room (we stayed at the wedding hotel for the night of the wedding.) by about 1 a.m., and crashed.
The next morning we attended a brunch at the hotel. You wouldn't think we could eat any more, but we did. The brunch was a revelation. I never got past the salad with ginger vinaigrette, marinated mushrooms, balsamic roasted asparagus, bagels and fruit, but the room was laden with every imaginable breakfast food an NV could dream about. And Vs could find plenty to be happy about, too, unless they were looking for protein! I wish I had photographed the long table filled with gorgeous NV pastries.
Bagel, salad, hash browns, fruit.
We are originally from Philadelphia, and still have family and friends in the area, soin between wedding events we visited with relatives and friends, trying to make the most of the short amount of time. It was wonderful to be with my family, my husband's family and old friends. I wish it could be like this all the time. It was exhausting but worth it. Oh, and did I mention that our oldest son, daughter-in-law and their fabulously amazing baby were there from Seattle?