Colleen, Kelly Crowley, and Justin Lucke on the rooftop terrace at Trellis in Menlo Park
Who: VN Associate Publisher Colleen Holland + VN Editorial Director Aurelia d'Andrea
What: The weekend wedding extravaganza in honor of Google chef (and fellow vegan) Justin Lucke and the lovely bride, Kelly Crowley
Where: Menlo Park, Woodside, and Palo Alto, Calif.
When: October 24–26, 2008
Why: Because who doesn't love love, especially when it comes with a side of vegan wedding cake?
The Scoop: Justin Lucke is a lucky guy, phonetically and otherwise: First, he gets to do something he's passionate about every day, which is to cook delicious veg food for gobs of people. At Google. How awesome is that? He also falls into the lucky camp for meeting his permanent date, Kelly Crowley, and planning a vegan wedding to seal the deal. And guess what? Two VN staffers are pretty darn lucky too, since we were invited to partake in the nuptial festivities over a long weekend.
The fun began on a warm Friday evening, when Colleen and Aurelia made the 45-minute trek from San Francisco to Menlo Park to rendezvous with the to-be-marrieds and their respective families at Trellis Restaurant. Converging on the upstairs open-air patio, we helped ourselves to cool classes of wine, garlicky bruschetta, and mushroom-topped toasts before mingling. As we sipped and nibbled, we got to know some interesting people, including a super-nice guy named Anthony Zahn who just happens to be a Paralympic Bronze-medal-winning cyclist. While Anthony regaled us with tales from Beijing, we settled into our table, and before we knew it, the main-course minute had arrived.
Okay, so while Trellis is not even close to being a veg restaurant, they do offer a pretty good variety of veg menu options, and this night, we tucked into tasty plates of penne pasta with portobello mushrooms and still-warm slices of house-baked bread that we dunked into flavorful pools of olive oil. For dessert, we savored a perfectly-ripe-strawberry-and-tangy-raspberry mélange that needed no embellishment to enhance its deliciousness. We left the soirée sated and happy at a not-too-late hour so we'd be fresh for the following day's fun.
On Saturday morning, we headed back down toward Menlo Park, but veered off in the direction of Woodside, which is, indeed, woodsy, and also very chi-chi (Oracle's Larry Ellison lives there, for one). We drove straight through town and up to Huddart Park, where veggie burgers and chips awaited, as did fruit smoothies created using a bicycle-powered blender. Really. We ate, and then ate a bit more, then we played. We played Frisbee. And Smashball. And some more Smashball. And then, before we knew it, it was time to head over to Palo Alto for the actual wedding part of the weekend-long event.
When we arrived at the '30s-era Mediterranean-style Lucie Stern Community Center, the wedding guests had all settled into their seats in the grassy, flower-filled garden. As we took our spots, a wind-and-string trio provided a musical backdrop, and the next thing we knew, Justin and Kelly were walking down the verdant aisle. The gorgeous couple exchanged their vows, and a few of us sitting close enough to hear their words might've cried a little bit out of happiness for the newly betrothed.
After the ceremony, we moved en masse to another courtyard where servers dressed in black whizzed by with platters of lemon-oil infused kale crostini, stuffed mushrooms, mini glasses of puréed butternut squash-and-persimmon soup, and larger glasses of wine and non-alcoholic elixirs. As the newly marrieds posed for photos, we noshed and laughed and worked up our appetites for the main courses. Emeryville-based Back To Earth organic catering created an elegant, heavenly-tasting spread that included phyllo-wrapped autumn root-vegetable roulade, roasted cauliflower, kabocha squash with quinoa, and the loveliest of green salads napped in vinaigrette. The cake was made by a couple of gifted members of the Crowley family, as is their tradition, and considering they'd never made a vegan wedding cake before, the results were divine. My new favorite flavor combo? Banana and chocolate, for sure.
Colleen Holland doing her best to resist the powers of vegan wedding cake
No party is complete without a trip to the dance floor, so, as is VegNews family tradition, Colleen and Aurelia joined Organic Athlete's Bradley Saul, his wife Charity Grace Kirk, new friend Anthony, and the bride and groom for a full-blown boogie sesh. Though it was hard to tear ourselves away from those classic disco tunes, we needed to get our beauty sleep, so after four or five turns, we bid our farewells and left the party sated and full of merriment for our newly married friends.