Among the big-deal gastro-pubs in Seattle of late is Quinn’s on Capitol Hill (yeah, tell us something we don’t know, Laura). For a time, the chef there was Brian Parks. Since being dismissed last May, he’s been getting back to the Mediterranean flavors that colored his years of cheffing in NYC in order to launch Spanish Caravan Catering.
Aimed at creating delicious parties not unlike the one you’re planning for your Great Big Important Day, Parks’s menus touch on all manner of Spanish traditions.
In a sort of welcome-to-the-wedding-industry how-do-you-do, I put before him three hypothetical wedding receptions and asked him what he might suggest preparing for each. See what you think — and don’t forget to flip through the slideshow, too.
WWW: This couple has announced themselves as huge fans of yours; they loved Quinn’s during the time you were there. They’ve pretty much gushed. They want you to make whatever you want to make, in whatever presentation best fits the menu. Money is no object. They’re practically willing to pay you for the pleasure — and the bragging rights. Do your thing.
Parks: I’ll go with a seven-course meal here:
1. Fried chicken liver terrine with golden raisins and sherry
2. Oxtail stuffed calamari with piquillo peppers and black truffles
3. Crispy Guinea hen leg with a cockscomb gravy
4. Grilled sweetbreads with a boquerone vinaigrette
5. Braised whole goat crepinettes with Swiss chard and cana de cabre
6. Suckling pig stuffed with Spanish chorizo and mushrooms escabeche
7. Foie gras bunuelos with membrillo
WWW: This is one of those mixed couples. You know — one’s vegetarian and one’s a carnivore. Their friends are similarly split. Compose a menu with meatless options and meaty options that’ll please the whole party.
Parks: This is the perfect scenario for one of our paella parties. We get two paellas going, one traditional with seafood and meat and another strictly vegetarian using the best of the season’s vegetables. The paellas are the main courses with some crusty bread and a green salad. We’ll feed the arriving guests with some tapas and raciones first. For the vegetarians: tortilla Espanola with sweet sherry aioli and garbanzo fritters with escalivada. And for the meat eaters grilled calamari (see slideshow) with romesco and chorizo with cider.
WWW: This couple is on a budget. They know and appreciate the best food, but times are tight. To mitigate this, they’ve only invited 50 people to their wedding, and they’re doing it during the day to get a discount from their venue, and so that they don’t have to serve cocktails. What kind of midday meal can you offer them in order to give them spectacular, unusual flavors at a bit of a savings?
Parks: This screams tapas. We’ll serve about six to seven tapas all together to give their guests a wide range of flavors:
-Bacon wrapped dates with Valdeon blue cheese
-Porcini Mushrooms with egg and asparagus
-Stuffed piquillo peppers with oxtail with onion marmalade
-Goat cheese with apricot mostaza
-Lamb albondigas (see slideshow)
-Pan con tomate with Serrano ham
-Bacalao (salt cod) and potato crisp