When we photograph a wedding, we rarely have time to gulp down water, much less grab a bite to eat. Thanks to Keith’s generous parents Leslie and Ray, we were able to both capture and enjoy the celebratory comestibles at Keith and Jen’s wedding reception over Thanksgiving weekend. Their event was held at Camino in Oakland, a restaurant that’s both spacious and inviting, with long wooden tables, brick walls, and chandeliers strewn with dried lemon slices and greenery.
We’re big fans of competitive cooking shows (Top Chef, Iron Chef, Chopped) and thus really appreciated the goings-on in the open kitchen and bar. Staff bustled to and fro, tending the wood oven, stoking the open brick fireplace, serving up potent potables (signature drinks were a rye sour for Keith and a sparkling wine, pomegranate, and ginger cocktail for Jen), and preparing the special menu that Chef Russell Moore had created for the event. Russell had spent a good 20 years at Chez Panisse (a lauded Berkeley institution and pioneer of California cuisine), so we and the guests were in for a treat. Co-owner Allison was seemingly everywhere at once, making sure everything was on point. When the appetizers came out, the guests practically inhaled each batch—they were that delicious: baked oysters; avocado toast; crab toast, sheepsmilk cheese and herb jam toast; spicy almonds; Japanese onions, hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, and dandelion greens in a light tempura batter.
The sit-down portion of the evening started with two bright, refreshing salads: chicory with herbs and aged sheepsmilk cheese; and beet, carrot, and red daikon with preserved lemon. These were followed by flavorful platters of grilled pork leg and slow-cooked pork shoulder (accompanied by a scorching chili paste); garbanzo beans and greens; and grilled artichokes and kabocha squash. (Wine aficionados might like to note that the meal was paired with bottles of 2012 Petit Roubie Picpoul de Pinet and 2010 Joan D’Anguera Montsant La Planella.) The repast ended with a luscious plate of hazelnut meringue, pomegranate sorbet, and whipped cream. Kudos to planner Cherlyn, Leslie, Ray, Keith, Jen, and the Camino crew for an exquisite evening that was a pleasure to both experience and photograph!