Culina, Edmonton

When I met Steph more than 10 years ago, she was a vegetarian and single. I was too (single, not vegetarian). We’ve shared a lot of laughter, angst, and joy over the years, so I was honoured to be included in her intimate wedding reception earlier this month at Culina Mill Creek, a favourite of the newlyweds.

Clockwork Wedding Productions managed to transform the small restaurant into a dramatic area for the short wedding reception, and then into an even cozier dining room (with Lego centrepieces!) for the rest of the night.

As soon as the ceremony was over, Culina served up hors d’oeuvres that reflected Steph’s Lithuanian and Torsten’s German backgrounds. I loved the twist on koldunai (dumplings), that were stuffed with ground lamb and potatoes. There was also a refreshing beet and egg salsa on black bread. Genius!

We sat down to a family-style dinner, with platters being passed around our table. We started with a simple, crunchy romaine and spinach salad with a light dressing. And then were blown away by the delicious roast chicken with dijon sour cream sauce, and a grilled sirloin (cooked rare, hallelujah!) with Culina’s signature blue cheese and red wine chocolate sauce.

Yes, a sauce of blue cheese and red wine and chocolate. Together. It defies reality really, but actually dances a smooth waltz on your tastebuds.

Sides of mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables — where I learned what a Pattypan squash was — rounded out our happy table of food.

I wrote about dessert earlier, so I won’t rehash that.

Culina is a small space but it was perfect for the gathering of about 40 people. It was a night of great friends amid the glow of great food and happy bellies. Sveikiname and glückwünsche, Steph and Torsten!

Culina Mill Creek, 9914-89th Ave., Edmonton, (780) 437-5588.