I've been engaged for quite some time now...and I haven't planned a damn thing for the wedding. No date. No venue. No flowers. No dress.
I'm a bad bride, I know. It just doesn't excite me all that much. Well, except for the food (err, and the man, that too); The food, I can dream about that all day.
So I've dreamt up a cocktail hour filled with five of my favorite bites in Houston. From the city's best sliders to East Coast-West Coast wings, here's what I'd love at my un-fancy affair:
5. A Reef's Sliders & Oyster Bar
What guest wouldn't love a Reef's slider, I ask you? No guest of mine.
The salted, crisp and buttery grilled bun; plump, juicy as hell hunk of ground beef; mound of sweet, melt-in-your-mouth caramelized onions; and the drizzle of creamy Sriracha rémoulade dripping down your chin. Add on fresh Gulf oysters-on-the-half-shell and you have yourself a lifetime of happiness.
While we're at it, maybe I'd just make the whole thing a Reef happy hour and include the jumbo shrimp shooters, too. Now that's true love.
4. Italian Station from Coppa
People like stations at cocktail hours. I think. Well, I do. And it's my fake wedding, so I do what I want.
This Little Italy-inspired station would include a feast of Coppa's best: baratta arancini -- little deep-fried risotto balls stuffed with creamy mozzarella and served with shaved parmigiano cheese and fresh marinara; fritto misto -- piles of fried calamari, shrimp and fennel; freshly made escarole and Caesar salads (because we need at least some greens); and made-to-order pastas and brick-oven pizzas, obviously.
3. A Miniature El Rey Taqueria
For my Cuban/Mexican station, I'd have the guys from El Rey Taqueria slinging out a few of my favorite tacos -- ropa vieja, tacos al pastor, grilled fish tacos, carnitas, and chicken and steak fajita. Then, of course, there'd be all the fixin's -- fried plantains, charro beans, Mexican rice, grilled onions, shredded cheeses, sliced cabbage, fresh guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream, habanero mayo and some cilantro for good measure.
2. Chicken Wings for Days
Including but not limited to: Max's Wine Dive's jalapeno-and-buttermilk-soaked fried chicken (served with the jalapeño corn cakes and maple syrup, of course); Mai's salt and pepper fried chicken wings with pepper and onion relish; and for shits and giggles, Goro & Gun's ODB & Biggie wings.
We'll see where our guests' loyalties truly lie.
1. An Underbelly Carving Station
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Who else to trust with the carving station than Mr. Houston himself, Chris Shepherd?
I'd let him choose the cuts of the day, but I'd make sure they were served alongside freshly baked loaves of Slow Dough bread and farmer's market sides like smoked corn puree, heirloom tomato and pepper chow chow, and hand-pulled Caprese salad. Then, also whatever else Shepherd thinks is best. I trust him. I do. (See, I can say it!)
With drinks (read: Jäger-bombs) flowing and these Houston favorites along for the ride, this is one wedding cocktail hour I'd actually want to have. A girl can dream, can't she?
What kind of cocktail hour would you dream up?