A Meal Fit for a Marriage

It's been two weeks since I last showed up in this blog space, as I had to step away for a bit and go get married.


The pool at Evamer, the morning of the wedding. (Liz Kelly)

That's right; I'm now a married lady, with vows, rings and smooches exchanged and a magic carpet ride on Vieques, a small island just due east of the mainland of Puerto Rico.

Our journey, which began Sunday, Feb. 25, was off to a wintry start, with enough snow to force delays and a night holed up at the Hyatt Dulles. We resigned ourselves to a snowy afternoon sucking back cocktails at the hotel bar, but as luck would have it, the hotel was undergoing renovations, which meant the bar as well as the restaurant were a makeshift combo deal in a nondescript banquet room.

Within 24 hours, I forgot all about our snowed-in hotel dining extravaganza (I recall ordering Mister Groom to fetch candy from a vending machine just in time to watch The Oscars); by then, I was sniffing the bougainvillea outside my cottage at Evamer, my home away from home.


Walking down the "aisle" with my Mom. (Eleanor Hong)

The images -- of sun, sea, rum cocktails, hot sauce, romance, family drama, lunar eclipse movement -- are too many to mention, but are embedded in my brain as a symphony of color, a collage of textured emotions, a melding of Mother Nature, friends and family.

At first blush, a destination wedding seems easier to plan than one in your hometown because in all likelihood it's a more intimate, more casual affair without the trappings of big ballrooms, wedding planners and guest shuttle buses. However, the distance is exactly what gets in the way of sampling catering menus and meeting vendors in person. If you want to do a destination wedding, you've gotta bring a lot of faith with you and leave the Type A attitude at home.

Although we had heard good things, neither Mister Groom nor I had actually eaten the food that would be served up by Eva Bolivar, chef/owner of Bili, a Nuevo Latino restaurant in Esperanza, the main town on the south side of the island. For someone in the food business, this was a huge leap, but I had to trust that Eva would take good care of us.

And so she did.

Once the minister pronounced us Mr. and Mrs. Mighty Appetite, bite-sized cocktail vittles began to appear, black bean mousse atop plantain cups, brie and tomato jelly-filled turnovers and salt cod/snapper croquettes with an herby aioli for dipping.

Dinner was a buffet that included skirt steak with a banana chutney, mahi mahi fillets with an orange adobo sauce, rice pilaf with pumpkin, the most sublime avocado I've ever eaten (Eva tells me Puerto Rican avocados are simply the best) and a simple salad of mixed greens. The food turned out as close to what I would have done myself -- packed with flavor, fresh, lots of local stuff, lots of tropical notes and not too fancy.

We drank wine, we drank mojitos and we danced under a nearly full moon to the sounds of DJ Stylus. The rain held out until early morning, and I awoke to Tinka, one of the property dogs, diving into a few leftover windblown cupcakes.

This marriage was off to a scrumptious start.

Tomorrow: Vieques eats and drinks...

By Kim ODonnel |  March 12, 2007; 10:43 AM ET Travel , Wedding Fare
Previous: A Mighty Appetite Returns March 12 | Next: Vieques Eats and Drinks

Comments

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Congratulations! Everything sounds fantastic and I wish you a wonderful (and delicious) future.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 12, 2007 10:43 AM

Welcome back and congrats! XD Can't wait til you dish some fab tropical recipes tomorrow!
P.S. Good dress.

Posted by: Yay! | March 12, 2007 10:48 AM

Many, many congrats. Thanks for letting us in on the event excitement -- and menu!

Posted by: Oh Boy! | March 12, 2007 10:53 AM

Wish I was still there! xo

Posted by: Foodie Consort | March 12, 2007 11:16 AM

show up pics of how the cupcakes turned out, please!!

Posted by: DC | March 12, 2007 11:25 AM

Welcome back; sounds as if the whole thing was lovely. Will you post another photo or three for us?

Posted by: Meg in PA | March 12, 2007 11:26 AM

Yaaaay - you are back! Congratulations and take it easy getting back...

Posted by: Glad! | March 12, 2007 11:26 AM

Congratulations!!!

We miss you and welcome back!

Posted by: M-VA | March 12, 2007 11:54 AM

Congratulations to both of you.
The dress is gorgeous, your mom looked beautiful too. Sounds like it was a
fairy tale come true. Best of everything to you and Mr. Groom.

Posted by: Steubenville, OH | March 12, 2007 11:56 AM

Miss you, Kim! Welcome back! And congrats to you and Mr. Groom. May your future be filled with sweet treats.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 12, 2007 12:23 PM

Congratulations! It sounds as though a good time was had by all.

Posted by: Puff Mama | March 12, 2007 12:32 PM

Congratulations!!

But what on earth is a plantain cup?

Posted by: Sass | March 12, 2007 12:35 PM

Wishing you and Mr. Groom years of happiness together. Congratulations and welcome back.

Posted by: Christine | March 12, 2007 12:39 PM

We missed your daily blog, but thank you for sharing your happiness with us, and best wishes for a long and happy life with Mr. Groom!

Posted by: LouiseL | March 12, 2007 12:42 PM

huge congrats! Now get back to work! :-)

Posted by: Anonymous | March 12, 2007 12:57 PM

I missed the daily blog, but I'm so glad everything turned out well. The picture of the pool is making me green with envy.

Posted by: Kathryn | March 12, 2007 1:14 PM

Oh, congratulations, Kim! you look so lovely there. I hope everything was just delightful.

P.S. (really wanting to know who the dress is from.)

Posted by: Pru | March 12, 2007 1:21 PM

Congrats and all the best wishes, Kim, to both you and Mr. Groom. I hope you'll post more pictures of you and him and the surroundings - including the food!

Welcome, welcome, welcome back!!

Posted by: Pat | March 12, 2007 2:42 PM

Kim, What a wonderful time. There was so much love everywhere.Do not forget to mention the Bride and Groom Pez. They came all the way from Slovonia. Love Mom

Posted by: M Susan | March 12, 2007 5:24 PM

Congratulations, Kim! Sounds like everything was beautiful. It's good to have you back.

I'm from West Chester, PA too! Small world...

Posted by: cristen | March 13, 2007 9:11 AM

"This marriage was off to a scrumptious start."
May it continue and thrive! Congratulations and thank you for sharing.

Posted by: Budd Lake, NJ | March 13, 2007 10:55 AM

Congratulations to you and Mr. Groom and a very long, happy, healthy and scrumptious future. We missed you and are glad you are back. Looking forward to hearing about future adventures in a now, 2-person kitchen!

Posted by: Adrienne | March 13, 2007 11:21 AM

Lucky Rhome.

Posted by: not dj stylus | March 13, 2007 1:01 PM

Looks like a wonderful time was had by all--best wishes to you and Mr. Groom (shouldn't he now be Mr. Husband?)

Posted by: Bethesda Mom | March 13, 2007 1:43 PM

You look beautiful with your Mom in that photo. The wedding sounds like it went off without a problem and then food sounds divine! Congrats to you and Mr. Mighty Appetite.

Posted by: DC Cubefarm | March 13, 2007 1:58 PM

Congratulations and welcome back! Here's to you and Mr. Groom on your nuptials! I wish you both much happiness and long lives!

Posted by: Sean | March 13, 2007 4:22 PM

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