The wedding of Elliot and Amy Engelhardt: Food Heaven

Posted on -06002007-03-04T20:22:15-06:00312007b-06:00Sun, 04 Mar 2007 20:22:15 -0600 5, 206


I had the opportunity to attend my first fancy wedding this past Sunday night. It was one of those affairs that costs more then I would ever hope to make in a few years of full time work, but I don’t mind, because I got to eat and park for free. That’s right folks, for another first time I got a Jamaican man to offer his valet services and park my car for free, and although I shouldn’t have I gave him a tip, because of the yarmulke wearing guy I am. Actually when he brought back my car, the seat was moved forward all the way completely negating his tipping rights, yet I put 2 precious dollars which the people whom I drove to the wedding had given me for the valet, actually they gave me 5 dollars so I got a free meal and made 3 dollars cash- which may really be kind of like $3.68 if it was taxed.

I also for the first time in my adult life, wore a white shirt, I don’t like white shirts due to their propensity to get stains that cannot be covered up and will never come out. Then of course I noticed that half the people weren’t even wearing white shirts and some even without ties, gotta love those sphardim.

I walked into the hall which was pier 60 of Chelsea Piers in Manhattan. A violinist serenaded everyone as a women asked me if she would be able to find my table card amongst the table filled with hundreds of them. As the violin guy dressed in a tux serenaded me with sweet stringy songs, I felt as if I were on the Titanic in the movie when the orchestra plays as the ship is sinking, after all we wee on a pier that was no doubt very old and probably sinking slowly into the mud of the Hudson river.

Beautiful flower bouquets of white flowers filled with roses blanketed all the tables everywhere one looked. This dude Ari whom I am acquainted with comes out of some room and grabs my arm “dude you gotta see the main room”, the tables were filled with food and flowers and the band was setting up, a large band with a huge screen, I could see the huge Conga drums and was pumped for some funky music.

Suddenly I noticed with my foodar that the doors of the smorgasbord had swung open and people were beginning to mill around. You can tell it wasn’t a frummy wedding, because when that happens it usually resembles a stampede, kind of like when everyone was trying to escape the famous Great White concert in Rhode Island a few years back. But not here, her5e everyone milled around the entrance listening to the violinist and just peacefully talking and laughing.

Foaming at the mouth and already drooling onto my fresh white shirt I power walked into the massive room filled with food. I ran to the center table that was graced with 3 ice sculptures. The table was overflowing with assorted fish dishes, plates of caviar and the most delicious looking fruit carvings I had ever seen. I was in bliss, I was incredibly horny at this moment and had to calm down, then I saw out of the corner of my eye on my foodar map, food sonar and radar working full force- the sushi table. Two slanty eyed Asian peeps were busy getting carpal hand syndrome as they feverishly hand rolled sushi and placed the pieces on large trays in front of them. I went to take some pieces and noticed there weren’t any forks, I looked around and all that was there were stacks of packaged chopsticks. Man, I cursed under my breath, knowing all too well that taking with my hands would not be too cool. I noticed the security guards with ear pieces standing around, they would surely throw me out if I did such a normal yet rude thing. Sensing my nervousness, one of the Asian dudes says that there are forks on the other table. At the point of contention prior to this statement by my sushi rolling servant, I was reminded of the gehenom moshel- of the feast with long forks but no one would each other. I went to grab a fork and then as if a choir of fat black women at souther Baptist church started singing Praise the Lord- I saw it. A long massive table filled with chaffing dishes, filled to the brim with a variety of succulent meats and veggies. At the far end a carving station, with slabs of meat recently cut off a cows corpse.

The music suddenly stopped and I was looking tunnel vision, blurry eyed at the feast that lay before my pulsating eyes and throbbing pulse. Friends of mine could see the passion in my heart. I rushed the 30 feet and grabbed one of the biggest plates. I slowly walked past the dishes surveying each one and planning my attack. How would I be able to fill my stomach to the brim without puking and getting diarrhea? How could I take full advantage of this insanity and still have room for the meal which is never as good as the smorgasbord?

I thought back to all the weddings I had been to in the last few years, thoughts of the lone center table filled with power washed lettuce, mango and strawberry salad, that famous frummy broccoli salad and assorted sliced veggies with the famous Vidalia onion dressing. The music suddenly jolted me out of my bad memories of cheap frummy weddings and back to present day. Women in strapless gowns passed me, a 7 piece classical orchestra played somewhere in the distance and over 20 different meat dishes stared at my vying for its prime real estate location within those prided chaffing dishes, being served by a neatly dressed staff of many. At one point when I asked what something was, one of the staffers said pork, and once she saw my blank confused face, she corrected herself and said veal.

My first round was light, there was much veal and lamb and meat, no chicken in sight besides some skewers. Some sweet and sour beef with veggies, lamp chops, beef and veal dumplings, beef with snow peas and some carved off prime rib and I was set to make my way to the center of the room and watch the beautifully playing classical musicians while looking out across the Hudson River.

The band that was playing was made up of several violinists, a huge upright bassist and some cellists; I was happy enjoying the good life, talking with old friends and eating like a pig. I went up for several more rounds until I felt my stomach clenching and pleading with me to stop. My esophagus was begging for more while my innards were yelping and gasping for air. I decided to hold off, and went to the fruit tables. I took some of the best tasting raspberries I had ever had and popped them in my mouth as I walked around the room.

A gathering of old friends from high school and others was outside smoking and chatting. Some of us hadn’t been together in one room in at least 10 years it was fun. Paul Rosenzweig and his wifeMatanyata, Yaakov Mermelstein, Chaim Cohen, Jessica Singer and Kalman Sherizen. We chatted and chilled, I had seen all these people recently so for me it was no big deal, but I was always known for keeping my friends close by always calling and visiting.

I had to spend a bit of time in the bathroom at this point and noticed something rather disturbing while taking up some time on the porcelain throne. I noticed that due to the marble floors shine- I could look down and see whatever was going on in the stall next to me. For instance when some guy walked in and took off his pants completely- I couldn’t help but notice this strange event. I could also see who was wiping while standing or while sitting- which happens to be an ongoing debate in many male circles.

It was time for the chuppah, the couple had opted for pictures before the wedding to save time- and I was happy because little did I know- but sphardim drag the chuppah out for a long time. We all sat down in the front area and I noticed that the chairs had enough room for one butt cheek and maybe the crevice, there was no way a grown man would be able to fit both cheeks on these chairs, and we were all stuffed in.

The guy singing the traditional wedding songs was real good and he was brown too. Then all of the sudden the Pope walked in. Well this guy sure as hell looked like the Pope, but he was just some Rabbi wearing all white with a goofy looking hat. He walked up to the chupah and started doing all this stuff. For some reason this was the first wedding I hadn’t had the urge to yell out-“dude your gonna get laid” as my buddy was walking down the aisle. It may have been the fact that the place was filled with mobster looking rich bucharian guys or the few armed security guards didn’t look too friendly or that this being a non-frummy wedding they had surely taken each other for test drives before they bought the car. Or at least they touched, at frummy weddings, they aren’t supposed to touch even though many of them do, its more interesting- because for many it will actually be their first time having sex with anyone- that makes the comment more fun- though I have never had the balls to say it.

I did get to go up and hold the talis over the bride and groom, and I drank the wine of their cup- I have no idea what the point was, besides having a better view of the women’s section.

The main meal reminded me of the engagement; party, gone was the classical music and in came the club music, heavy bass and drums pounded my ears as everyone took to the dance floor. The mechitza which had been made by trees was taken down after the first dance and then the party started. The music was amazing, a few weeks ago I wrote about this Arabic dance music I have been getting into, well this is what they started playing. It was amazing and sounded like Arabic due to the Hebrew and the Bucharian being spoken.

The table setup was exactly the same as the engagement party reinforcing my view that it was in fact the same catering place. The back of the menus revealed this, I was kind of disappointed because I like new foods and all the foods were pretty much the same. This was my first wedding with a menu as well. They did have this really good ahi-tuna and sea bass on the tables as well as caviar wraps. Caviar was like a salty gusher for me, it reminded me of the candy every time I popped the big orange balls into my mouth. (Insert sick joke here)

I was sitting on a table with all my buddies and the next table had the ladies. My dear friend the red headed beauty Jessica Singer sat next to the earthy funky brown faced Rebbecca who had her date with her and was trying to read the vibes. Gila, the grooms classmate was sitting next to her, with her date as well.

Half through the meal I noticed that it had begun to snow and cursed under my breath, for I had to leave a few hours and go back to Albany and be up at 5:30am the next day. I wandered around a bit and noticed that most of the men looked like old mobster guys, with their big glasses and mustaches. They all had fancy black cars and nice expensive watches and ugly wives with too much makeup who liked to dance while they held their hands and stared blankly around the room.

I noticed a few black hatters at the wedding and wondered what they were doing to avoid the scantily clad mixed dancing that was going on in full force at the moment. I know my friend Mermelstein was fidgeting around uncomfortable at the sights and yelling about no shame and so on. Then I noticed a table set off to the side with a large wooden wall surrounding it. I walked around half expecting to see a bunch of women offering their wares, or illegal immigrants vying for a chance as the servants at some of the attendees homes. But rather the table was filled with all the black hated folks and their wives. No their wives were not the only sheitle wearers, but I had been wondering where the black hatters had gone to.

My friend Kalman had commented that the engagement party reminded him of Achashveroshes feast- but this wasn’t much different then the engagement party. Purim was coming up so it was a fitting time for it, this big screen showed all the action going on the floor so you could sit back and pound your face until you couldn’t move. It also seemed that every room had a full open bar. And it wasn’t crappy booze here, grey goose and cognac graced the tables as well as waiters carrying bottles of wine.

When the main course came I could not possibly eat and had to leave. At the engagement party I had agreed with myself due to no commitments the next day, that I would be willing to gorge myself until I had to throw up and then keep going. Here I had a hard drive through a snowstorm ahead of me. Overall a great wedding and experience although the food was good- it looked much better then it actually was.

I happened to save the menu for the main meal from the wedding: The smoargasboard was much more food and much better.

Salads and Cold Appetizers
1. Fresh Tomatoes and Cucumber Salad
2. Basket Crudites
3. Assorted Pickles
4. Eggplant Rollontini
5. Hearts of Palm Salad
6. Assortment of Russian Sushi
7. Sesame Tuna
8. Broiled Sea Bass
9. Smoked Fish Platter (lox and sea bass)
10. Asparagus and Avocado Salad
11. Salad Chefs Fantasy
12. Eggplant Chao Chen
13. Berries in Baby Pineapple Shells

Hot Dishes and Appetizers:

1. Grilled baby potato with baby onions and mushrooms
2. Blintzes a’la France with mushrooms
3. Tomatoes with broccoli, sigari, anice string beans with sauce
4. Mushrooms stuffed with crab meat and massago caviar
5. Veal Fillet Mignon
6. Veal tongue Moroccan style
7. Chicken LeCordon Bleu
8. Lamb Chops “sedlo barashka”


1. Vodka “grey goose”
2. Cognac “Louis Royer xo”
3. Champaign
4. Red and White wine


A most elaborate Viennese table.