The night before a family wedding the family and the bridal party gather for a meal at La Vera Cucina in Monroe. The large group is broken into segments and even the future bride and groom are separated so they may sit with their prospective "sides" one last time.
A favorite starter for this large family is an anti-pasta platter with a blend of salty meats, peppers, olives and creamy cheeses drizzled with balsamic. Please pass the platter again and again.
A second starter included perfectly golden fried calamari followed by a hearty bowl of chicken tortellini soup.
We are offered dinner choices of Veal Parmigiana, Chicken Francaise or salmon.
Is it odd to be served mashed potatoes with veal parmigiana? Is it odd to be at a wedding rehearsal dinner with your estranged spouse? We were recently heading for a divorce and have since put that plan on hold as we see if that is the right decision or if staying together and working things out makes more sense.
Generally, I don't eat veal for a number of reasons so I enjoyed the moist, succulent and flavorful chicken.
At one point during the meal I noticed a man at the bar. He is the owner of the catering hall we recently held our 25th wedding anniversary vow renewal. We exchanged pleasantries and I thought about how mysterious the universe really is and the signals we receive.
The main course was followed by a choice of either Tiramisu or Strawberry Shortcake. I enjoyed the cake with fresh strawberries and a cup of tea. I especially enjoyed spending time with the side of the family I have received as a result of my marriage. It was loud, crowded, fun and full of laughter and stories.
Later in the evening my husband and I saw the owner of the catering hall a second time and he said, "It's good to see you two." Indeed. We are still deciding if we will be Fed Well together.