As the wedding season draws to a close, I thought I'd finish up with one more wedding post before turning my attention towards my Canadian adventures.)
Semajim and I have been friends since high school, where our shared interest in theater, part-time jobs at Marjolaine (now Margaret's French Bakery) and a number of mutual friends helped form a strong and lasting bond. I watched him mature from a gangly, awkward adolescent to the confident man he is today. He was a critical part of planning my bachelor party and was one of several close friends who made the heroic, whirlwind journey from NorCal down to the Southland for my wedding. I was honored to be invited to both his bachelor party and wedding.
Exactly one month after Cat and I were married, Semajim and his lovely fiancée, Aralara, tied the knot at the scenic Clos LaChance winery in San Martin, California. It was a beautiful ceremony from what I was told. Sadly, while trying to make our way down from a brunch with friends in San Francisco, Cat and I were delayed when our train suffered mechanical difficulties. We arrived half an hour late and missed the ceremony entirely.
(Waldensian chatting with K Love and his lady.)
Fortunately, we were able to make the reception, which we spent with a number of good friends. Semajim and Aralara were understanding and very gracious about our tardiness. Those two are a class act.
(I'm not entirely sure... It was good, though.)
Semajim had chosen to have the wedding catered by Silicon Valley's famous Le Papillon. The restaurant was founded in 1977, before the high tech boom that would later make the area so prosperous. Its focus on Californian cuisine using seasonal ingredients and French cooking techniques influenced by other cooking traditions has earned Le Papillon Silicon Valley's highest restaurant rating in the renowned Zagat Survey.
(Ahi tuna lollipops dressed with a soy ginger sauce.)
Well acquainted with my food blogging, Semajim teased that he'd ordered a gourmet spread just for me. I didn't believe him for a second, but the food certainly lived up to his promise. I particularly enjoyed the hors devors.
One of my favorites was a light and creamy mousse containing chicken, or some other form of fowl, served on a toasted brioche point. Smooth and airy, its delicate flavor was offset by the crunchy texture of the rich bread. This was a very comforting starter.
What the wait staff informed me was a baked mousse of halibut and roasted red peppers was intriguing. It was similar in flavor and texture to Asian fishcakes, but the combination of ingredients was inventive. A definite wake-up call for my palate.
My number one favorite hors devors were tiny pastry cups filled with a swirl of tangy goat cheese and topped with small pieces of heirloom tomatoes. The sweetness of the tomatoes, the acidity of the cheese, and the buttery pastry were the ideal flavor combination. However, I thought Semajim and Aralara had done a great job in selecting all the members of their starter lineup.
Once the hors devors were finished, we moved to the tables for dinner. Semajim and Aralara looked radiant as they were announced. Aralara later told me that Semajim had gotten teary during the ceremony. The two of them were very sweet together, and obviously very much in love.
(Ninjafuzz and the Ring Bearer locking it up.)
Cat and I had a great time during dinner, largely due to being seated with Waldensian, K Love, and Ninjafuzz. Those boys really know how to party. Watching Ninjafuzz deliver the beginning of a speech he'd found in the pocket of his rental tux before moving on to his own speech as best man was a riot.
Dinner began with baskets of Le Papillon's artisan bread. While the rustic baguettes were delicious, it was the darker olive and walnut bread that had us scrabbling for the last piece.
The salad was a refreshing mix of spring greens tossed in vinaigrette with thin slices of cantaloupe and pear. It was topped with grated feta, which added body to the light dish.
(Cat and her new best friend.)
Night seemed to come suddenly to the winery, along with a steady breeze, making the already brisk evening even colder. Servers came around to light candles and turn on the outdoor heaters. Unfortunately, there weren't enough heaters, leaving many of the ladies borrowing their dates' jackets and nursing the candles for warmth.
The main course was a two-part combination of cooperating opposites divided by a crispy wall of fried potato threads that was perched on a mashed potato mountain. On one side, a piece of herb-crusted halibut swam in a creamy sea of dill and tarragon. Juicy wedges of tomato frolicked in the alabaster waves, their tart acidity cutting through the frothy richness.
On the other side, a hefty half of filet mignon provided the raging yang to the halibut's gentle yin. Boldly grilled and finished with sautéed wild mushrooms and a powerful cognac au jus, it called out to primal beast within each of us. The mountains met the sea in this delicious work of art.
Afterwards, we mingled with friends new and old. The ladies, some in wraps, others in borrowed jackets, huddled together for warmth beneath one of the heaters. The manly men, on the other hand, refused to succumb to the temperature. We just happened to be standing against the lee of the building, out of the wind. It wasn't because we were cold or anything. No...
(The Oni in his trademark pose.)
The wedding cake was, of course, provided by The Oni and Margaret's French Bakery. As if any of the Marjolaine alumni would get our cakes anywhere else.
(Semajim and Aralara - Picture taken by friend Kevin Zumani.)
Semajim and Aralara, thank you for inviting us to share in your special day. We were truly touched. Cat sends her love.
Le Papillon - The best Californian cuisine Silicon Valley has to offer. They're a little pricey, but they'll deliver every time. The food quality does suffer little when catering in an offsite location, as opposed to when it's served in the restaurant. However, the flavors are still top notch.
410 Saratoga Ave.
San Jose, CA 95129