The next day, Alex Korab, the photo editor in the Life section at USA Today, asked me how it went. "We went driving around with a basket of eggs. It was a sweet picture," I said. "And they made me dinner. I've never had a better bowl of risotto in my life. It was..." I paused for a second. "Ridiculous, actually."
Now, looking back, that might have been the ground zero of my rebirth into grown-up food. Since then I've enjoyed the most amazing soft-boiled egg, flash fried with an almond and panko crust, at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York; a goat to end all goats at Komi in Washington, D.C.; several hundred too many portions of Hanoi grilled pork at Four Sisters; and several wonderful meals, this time as a guest, not a working stiff, at the legendary Inn at Little Washington. (A hot chocolate aficionado, I remember saying to Maya, "This is actually better than the hot chocolate at Angelina in Paris.")
Of course, all of this leads us to one thing: on June 1, 2013, Amir Tayrani, who reminds me a little of Ralph Fiennes, married Adria Villar, who smiles all the time, at The Inn at Little Washington, and once again I had the chance to enjoy the hospitality of America's finest country inn. I was fortunate to meet Amir and Adria through my good friends--and former wedding clients--Matt McGill and Lori Alvino McGill. I photographed their wedding in Annapolis back in 2006 and have been close ever since. (A wild, end-of-night karaoke version of "Thunder Road" sealed the deal.) Outside of my own daughter, Matt and Lori's daughter, Calla, might be my favorite kid in the world to photograph.
And of course their good friends, Miguel Estrada and Patricia McCabe, were there, too. I photographed their wedding at Dumbarton House in Georgetown a few years back. And I should mention Ted Olson, too, and his wife, Lady, whom I've photographed at each of those events. Ted was the Solicitor General of the United States from 2001 to 2004 and he has argued 60 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. He is also one of the nicest guests I've ever met at a wedding, genuinely interested in everything and everyone he meets. I like weddings that feel like Old Home Week.
Amir and Adria are foodies of the first order and they wanted their wedding to be memorable in a way few ever are. (Not trying to offend anyone who thinks their food was great, but it's the truth.) Whereas many weddings become cookie-cutter once dinner rolls around, Amir and Adria wanted the opposite to unfold. Their wedding was their own version of "Big Night, " their own "Babette's Feast." For three hours--yes, count 'em--Amir and Adria and their friends and family dined like few weddings ever do. It went like this:
Truffle dusted popcorn.
A shot of chilled English mint pea soup.
|© 2017 Matt Mendelsohn Photography|