Our tasting here set her far apart from the other three catering tastings we attended. Ann herself ran the tasting from her kitchen located among some beautiful seminary buildings in Marin County. She was the most professional of everyone we met with, and it was obvious that were we to pick her, the day would run as smooth as silk. And it did - the servers were great, and Ann and her son provided excellent online communication leading up to the wedding.
Among Brazilian Room caterers, Shai's, Serves You Right, Schumann's Four Seasons, and Culinary Excellence were cheaper, but Ann Walker was still cheaper than half of the caterers on the list, and she was worth every penny.
Everything we tried we loved. There was not a single clunker on the menu (something that definitely could not be said for the other places we tried). Even though Ann believes strongly in seasonality and only has you taste dishes that are in season during the catering (which therefore might not be the ones you'd have for your event), everything tasted so good I felt I could put my trust in her for dishes we would not be able to try before the wedding.
At the tasting we tried:
-Marinated mushrooms (this and the olives were very good, but I didn't want to serve Spanish appetizers I felt I could get anywhere and weren't special enough)
-Nori with chicken mousse and wasabi creme freiche (I'm not a big meat mousse fan but this was done expertly well)
-*Chicken satay with cilantro peanut sauce (excellent with an unusual dipping sauce)
-Spinach empanadas (one of my least favorite apps but still really good; had another caterer served it during a tasting it would have made the final menu)
-Beef picadillo empanadas (very good)
-Duck confit spring rolls with cranberry apple chutney (this was one of my favorites but unfortunately it's not best served in August at the time of our wedding)
-*Shittake mushroom cakes with black bean aioli (loved it; very interesting flavors)
Entrees and Sides
-*Roasted vegetables with brava sauce (I never knew I liked turnips before trying this dish; the other vegetables were awesome as well and the sauce was amazing)
-Chicken with white beans and Madeira sauce (really yummy; we added it to our menu but ended up tossing it favor of steak)
-*Spinach and three cheese rolled pasta (very rich tasting but not too much so)
* = Good enough to make our wedding menu
We also added to our menu:
-Potato and pea samosas with mint chutney (our vegan friend loved these; they were very good)
-Heirloom tomato salad with marinated mozzarella and two basil dressing (my husband's and my absolute favorite dish)
-Crusty breads and sweet butter (brought in from another bakery)
-Hanger steaks topped with romesco butter (we got a ton of compliments on this dish but we thought the meat was a little tough; I'm not as familiar with this cut so maybe that's typical of hangar steak)
-Wild Salmon with a corn relish (good but didn't blow us away)
-Saffron risotto cakes with mushroom sauce (a great vegan option; this dish really grew on me and was one of the husband's favorites)
-Seasonal fruit salad (this was served with the cake and was very good; it was a nice not too sugary alternative for the non-cake eaters)
Ann suggested we add a seasonal fruit agua fresca since our wedding is in August. That sounded wonderful to us since we love agua fresca! She also recommended serving sangria, which sounded delightful. Our canteloupe agua fresca was on the bland side, but we really liked the sangria.
A foodie friend of mine used Ann Walker for her Brazilian Room wedding, and raved about the food. Apparently, Ann created a menu of Iranian specialties just for the occasion (my friend's husband is from Iran).
I'm just sad she doesn't have a restaurant so that I can eat my favorite dishes again after the wedding.
40 Kensington Rd
San Anselmo, CA 94960
Alexandra's Persian-Inspired Wedding Food by Ann Walker: